Three Merritt youths who appear to have gifts for writing returned recently from a six-day Penticton writing workshop.

Each of them has already completed short stories and chapters of fiction novels.

Darian Krajci began writing several lines of Scooby-Doo-themed stories when he was just six years old, and his writing continues to evolve at a rapid pace.

“I don’t really know what got me into writing,” said the 11-year-old. “Me and my friends are always talking about things like, ‘Oh, this would be a really great movie idea, if this happened and this happened.'”

He said his novel is a combination of many of the ideas that his group of friends created.

“I like doing sci-fi-ish type of writing, mainly future kind of stuff,” he said. “My friends are always saying with me, ‘That is so cool – that explosion and sci-fi stuff.'”

During the workshop, Krajci learned from professional writers such as Lorna Schultz Nicholson, Endrené Shepherd, Mary Ann Thompson and C.A. Lang.

Each day featured lessons on a new variety of writing.

The workshop dealt mainly with various writing styles.

His father, Glen, has books throughout the home and has been reading to his children since they were infants.

“He liked to watch Scooby-Doo movies and so he’d write little four or five sentence Scooby-Doo stories,” he said, noting the stories started out simple. “There would be stories like Scooby and Shaggy see a monster, they chase the monster and then they get the monster.

“His stories have evolved quite rapidly, I think, and he’s doing pretty good for his age.”

Glen has an English degree and said reading is a major part of his family’s daily activities.

For two other young writers – Michelle and Cole Schultz – the workshop was an opportunity to expand their writing styles.

Michelle said she used to focus on strictly realistic fiction, but since the workshop she has started writing horror fantasy novels.

“The workshop has really made me want to explore different genres,” said the 15-year-old. “I was really given a lot of different tools to play with.”

Cole, 10, said he used to just write short stories, but his writing has now expanded.

“My stories are sort of real, but there is a lot of stuff that doesn’t happen,” he said.

“It could happen, but it’s very unlikely that it’s ever happened before.”

The workshop was hosted by the Penticton Writers and Publishers group, which was established in 1994.

The workshops were started by housewives who wanted to learn about the writing and publishing business.

Since its creation, PWAP has published coffee table books, including Penticton and Areas Secrets and Surprises, The Novel Approach to Self-Publishing, Supernatural Stories around British Columbia, and Penticton, British Columbia – Silhouette of Four Seasons.