Mimi Wendorf uses RED Capstone course as structure and support for writing a fantasy novel

Writing a novel isn't easy, but senior Mimi Wendorf is putting pen to paper.

Jackson Bisson

Writing a novel isn’t easy, but senior Mimi Wendorf is putting pen to paper.

Through the RED Capstone class, BSM students have the opportunity to pursue projects at their own pace. Senior Mimi Wendorf is using the class and its guidance to work on writing a fantasy novel.

Although the novel is still in the rough-draft stage, Wendorf receives guidance from Ms. Anne Dougherty, the RED Capstone advisor. Dougherty is an engineering teacher at BSM, but she still works with students who have arts-focused projects, like Wendorf’s book. “I meet with Ms. Dougherty pretty much every week, and she helps me set up interviews with authors and she wants me to get connected with publishers and stuff like that, which is cool… I’ve been able to connect with them and ask questions about their writing process,” Wendorf said.

[Ms. Dougherty] helps me set up interviews with authors and she wants me to get connected with publishers and stuff like that, which is cool… I’ve been able to connect with them and ask questions about their writing process.”

— Mimi Wendorf

The capstone program is loosely structured. Wendorf only has to meet with her advisor once per week; the rest of the days, she can treat the RED Capstone as independent work time. Wendorf knows that some students may prefer more support, but the structure works well for her project. “I would’ve written this either way. The RED Capstone just gave me class time to do it, and it gives me more motivation because it is a class, so I think ‘Oh, I need to write today…’ otherwise I would’ve procrastinated,” Wendorf said.

The RED Capstone’s support structure is helpful, but there is stress associated with sharing personal writings with a mentor. Since she is still writing a first draft, Wendorf feels very vulnerable to criticism. “I do not like sharing my writing with people in general, just because it’s something that’s personal to me. Right now, I just don’t want criticism about it… Any criticism and I’m like, ‘Okay, the entire thing sucks.’ It’s like you put a lot of your heart and soul into something, and then putting it out there is like a whole new step,” Wendorf said.

Despite the stress, Wendorf feels a sense of accomplishment now that she has put her ideas to paper. “You get all of these ideas, but you don’t ever go through with it, and it’s really satisfying to get an idea and write it down and keep developing the idea… when you finally get it when you’re like, ‘Yes! That’s exactly what I was thinking!’” Wendorf said.

For Wendorf, the benefits of the class far outweigh the stress. She appreciates how the RED Capstone offers a new style of education rarely found at the high school level. “The education system, in general, is pretty rigid, and you have to meet these requirements of the classes you have to take: English, social studies. I think the RED Capstone gives you an opportunity to do something you’re really passionate about… If you want to do it but you’re questioning it, I think you should definitely do it,” Wendorf said.