Creating Novels Challenges English Teacher

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Creating Novels Challenges English Teacher

Remmington Moeller, Staff Reporter

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Mr. Yauchler helps Sara Mullins with a research project. He has published two science fiction books and is working on a third.

Write a book.

When digging through the average person’s bucket list, it’s almost guaranteed to be there. But while over 80 percent of Americans feel they have a story in them to write, 97 percent won’t even finish their first draft. There is one teacher, however, who has overcome the statistics and joined the remaining three percent, having written not one but two books and counting.

English teacher Kyan Yauchler wrote his debut novel Homeostasis Lost in 2013, quickly followed by the sequel Autumn Nation in 2014. His idea for the story came from a conversation he had about how a solar flare would have enough energy to destroy all of the nation’s electricity.

“They’re post-apocalyptic books about a natural event that occurs that forces people to be survivors,” said Yauchler. “To me, it’s more about learning to adapt and learning to survive together.”

Similar to his characters, Yauchler, too, had to learn to adapt. Between teaching students, supporting his family, and moving to a new state, he was forced to get creative about finding time to write.

“The first two books I was smart and wrote 1000 words a day over the summer,” said Yauchler. “Now, any opportunity I have to sit down and write, I do it. It might only be 10 minutes and I might only get a paragraph, but it all adds up.”

Regardless of the presence of time in a day, Yauchler was immediately faced with a more fundamental problem at the start of his novel-writing journey.

“The biggest challenge was ‘how do you write a novel? How do you sit down and create a novel?’ Because I’d written a lot of short stories, but the first book was an experiment,” he said.

Having gone to school for his bachelor’s in English Language Arts Education as well as his masters in Liberal Science in creative writing, the intimidation of a blank page was nothing new to Yauchler.

“It [school] made me focus more on the craft because there’s a lot of technique involved with writing, but the bottom line is that you just have to do it and practice it and get better at it,” he said. “It forced me to look at it up close and personal every day with teaching the mechanics and larger concepts of writing.”

Being that he has written multiple books, Yauchler adds a unique perspective when it comes to helping students write for class assignments and creative work of their own. One such piece of advice stems from the unknowns of a first draft.

“I tell students, ‘Don’t get too worked up over the rough draft.’ It’s like painting from a few feet away from the canvas, to begin with, and then you get to step in and make it the way you want,” he said.

But while writing comes with much gratification, it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Yauchler uses his personal experiences and trials as an author to help fuel young writers in his classes each day.

“Having both enjoyed and struggled with writing at times, in meaningful ways, it helps me to help kids who are going to experience those things too,” he said.

One obstacle he’s had to overcome is negative feedback on his work–a double-edged sword. Although it was hard to hear at first, it now opens his mind to realize that he’s not perfect and still has much room to grow.

“When you’re a teacher, students just assume that you’re good at what you do and don’t have to try but that’s not necessarily the case–sometimes you really have to work for it,” he said. “I’ve had to read the really bad Amazon reviews of my book but then you read the five-star reviews and it makes you feel really good.”

Not many people sit down and put pen to paper to start writing a novel. Not many people labor over their work, finding spare pennies of time in the nooks and crannies of their day. Not many people are able to finally cross off that goal from their bucket list.

But for Yauchler, the grind of writing a book goes beyond just completing a goal of his, but instead to the reward that follows.

“In my favorite review, the lady said ‘I read this in a day. Sorry family’ and I just thought that was the best compliment ever because that means someone got drawn in and was entertained and believed it,” he said. “Honestly, that’s why I do it.”

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