Below is an ongoing record of Overture Literary Magazine meetings at Miller Middle School. Each meeting is centered around a theme, or focus based on editor observations regarding the improvement of our staff members. From this focus, each activity is crafted to cater to the specific needs of our members, and contributes to the overall goal of improvement in both prose and artistry.
Back-to-School Bash – 9.21.18
Today at the Back-to-School Bash, the editorial board reached out to students at Miller Middle School and encouraged them to apply for this magazine. There were a lot of students and families who expressed their interest; thank you to everyone who filled out our interest form! If you would like to receive email updates, please sign up at our interest form here.
Informational Meeting – 9.25.18
focus: embracing creativity and a free thought process
At Overture’s 2018-2019 informational meeting, our staff members were introduced to the format of Overture meetings, the publication cycle, and the application process. Club members wrote one sentence stories on topics of their choice, then illustrated them with one-stroke drawings. Members shared their pieces in small groups and used the “two star, one wish” method (two positive aspects, one aspect with room for improvement) to give and receive feedback. The presentation is linked here.
First Activity Meeting – 10.9.18
focus: crafting realistic dialogue
At our first activity meeting, our staff members were each given examples of common societal interactions; they then crafted conversations based off of their own interpretations of each scenario. They were told to write dialogue based on the way they speak. Then, they incorporated their dialogues into provided narratives. Although it was a challenge to effectively and smoothly weave dialogue into stories that had already been created, they did a wonderful job. The presentation is linked here.
First Editing Meeting – 10.23.18
focus: peer feedback (editing techniques)
At our first editing meeting of the school year, our members each brought 3 copies of their work (either art or prose). Then, pieces were chosen by their peers at random and edited using a comprehensive editing guide linked here. We then shared common problems and highlights, went over the editing process, and talked about implementing feedback. The presentation is linked here.
Activity Meeting – 11.6.18
focus: “showing” vs “telling”
At this meeting, we went over the use of descriptions, imagery, and examples as opposed to generic statements. Then, we simulated a political election using the electoral college system to combine the integrate of Election Day with the focus of showing vs telling; we had “candidates” give speeches where one obviously incorporated blanket statements and vague adjectives and the other used specific examples and details. The members were asked to reflect on how “showing” made a candidate more credible. Then, members converted simple “telling” phrases into “showing phrases” by adding imagery, descriptions, and examples. The presentation is linked here.
Editing Meeting – 11.27.18
focus: peer feedback (editing techniques)
In this meeting, members brought three copies of their pieces for the Winter issue to receive feedback from their peers. The feedback was given based on this editing guide. We then split into three groups, and each group chose a piece to discuss its flaws as well as its outstanding points with the editors. The groups then shared those points with the rest of the members and went over the purpose and nature of constructive criticism together.
Activity Meeting – 12.11.18
focus: utilizing point-of-view/perspective
At this meeting, we wrote poems ‘for two voices’; the poems had three columns, one for each opposing character and one for the “compromise” in the middle. Our writers and artists tackled common points of contrast within society, writing poems which incorporated different perspectives and voices. Overture editors provided these societal divides before the members began writing (example: “teacher vs student”) and our members made efforts to write authentically from each side to create interesting, thoughtful, poetic pieces. The presentation is linked here.
Activity Meeting – 1.15.19
focus: incorporating morals/themes
At this meeting, our members began by brainstorming their top 3 New Year’s Resolutions; then, we had our members share their resolutions with their peers. Peers wrote stories or drew drawings which incorporated other members’ resolutions, crafting works with central morals or messages. Members had the option to write poems or other forms of prose, create comics, draw sketches, or produce works utilizing any creative format they pleased. They were encouraged to step out of their comfort zones and explore creative mediums, all the while creating meaningful pieces. The presentation is linked here.
Artist Presentation – 2.12.19
focus: emulation, understanding proportions
At this meeting, our members learned about the work of artist Sharlene Chen, who is an artist for Lynbrook High School’s Vertigo Literary Magazine, designing covers and creating pieces to accompany prose. She explained the importance of perseverance in art, displayed examples of her work, and went over basic sketching techniques. She also spoke about her experience working with different art mediums, from Chinese painting to charcoal. Then, members created their own drawings, emulating Sharlene’s style from example works, but purposely inaccurately enhanced proportions (i.e. drew abnormally large eyes, tiny ears) for comedic effect. Later, they drew ‘fixed’ versions, helping them understand the importance of proportions to create aesthetically pleasing artistry. The presentation is linked here.
Artist Presentation – 2.26.19
focus: calligraphy technique
At our final artist presentation, our presenter, Abinaya Srikant, taught Overture members the art of calligraphy. She went through the basic strokes of the art form, then progressed to show the members how to create intricate letters and words. Members were able to emulate her in real-time, watching her work through a camera set up. She also went over design elements, such as shadows or drawings surrounding words. Members were then given the opportunity to create their own projects, writing short quotes in calligraphy with our presenter’s guidance. The presentation is linked here.
Activity Meeting – 3.12.19
focus: personal touches/tone
At this activity meeting, members created stories collaboratively. They were each given a sheet of paper with a title to spark inspiration, and were given two minutes to begin their stories. Then, at the end of two minutes, the papers were passed to the adjacent member. This process continued for many rotations, until each member had contributed to each story. Once the pieces were completed, editors read them aloud to the group to clarify the importance of individuality in prose, and the effect that tone can have on a piece of writing. The presentation is linked here.
Editing Meeting – 4.2.19
focus: peer feedback (editing techniques)
In this meeting, members brought three copies of their pieces for the Spring issue to receive feedback from their peers. The feedback was given based on this editing guide. Members spent the duration of the meeting making comments in the margins of work done by their peers, attempting to read and edit 5-6 pieces thoroughly. Emphasis was placed on making small, manageable edits that could be easily implemented by the creator of the piece, and members were able to practice their skills of constructive criticism.
Activity Meeting – 4.23.19
focus: importance of story elements
At this meeting, we went over the essential storytelling elements, from point-of-view to setting. Three separate famous fables (The Tortoise and the Hare, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, Hansel and Gretel) were distributed to members; after reading through the fables, they were given ‘story element cards’ with a certain element to alter, while keeping the rest of the fable stagnant. Each individual within each partner pair altered a different element of the same story, and eventually shared their vastly different final product with their partner. The presentation is linked here.