Two weeks ago I visited Pollard Middle School in Needham, MA, for an author visit with the school's seventh graders. I love leading writing workshops for kids. I love talking to them about my life as a writer. But I especially love talking to kids who have read my books. It makes for a much different type of conversation. And these seventh graders had all read my first novel, TALL TALES. I talked about where the story had come from and all of the revisions I'd done before it was published. But then I spent a lot of time talking about the novel's external and internal plot lines as well as the multiple themes I incorporate. What a joy! Is there anything better than pulling a part a paragraph and doing a close reading? See, this is part of the internal arc. See, this is an example of theme penetrating the description. See? See! The kids were great and equally as interested (okay, maybe not quite as much as I was). They asked wonderful, insightful questions. And I left feeling good about the stories that I write and the sophisticated, thoughtful ways that these wonderful kids think and talk about books! Wow!
I will be holding two writing workshops for local fourth and fifth graders this winter. The first will be on Saturday, January 26, from 3:30-4:30, for boys only. The second will be on Saturday, February 9, from 3:30-5, for boys and girls. Both workshops will be held at the Waban Library Center. The workshops are low key and great fun. Some kids come because they love to write and are working on stories at home. Some kids come because they're interested and have never written anything before. Some kids come because their mothers make them. All are nervous and just a little bit anxious. But we have a lot of fun, in addition to learning, and most kids leave feeling good about themselves and their writing.
Here's the link if you want to sign up. We have only a few spots left!
We had a pretty great book group meeting yesterday. The girls (and moms) have been meeting for three years now. We've read some terrific books, THE BOOK THIEF, WALK TWO MOONS, and now SEE YOU AT HARRY'S, by Jo Knowles. The girls and moms liked it. Although a box of tissues is necessary when reading!
On October 18, from 7-8:30pm, I will teach Writing for Teens. This class is for adults who are interested in writing for middle grade and young adults. Not only will I talk about the market but we'll also brainstorm for ideas. Come ready to learn and write! On October 25, from 4-5:30pm, I will teach a fiction writing class for middle schoolers. No experience is necessary for either class. Both of these will be taught through the Lexington Continuing Education Department in Lexington, MA. Here is the link if you want to check it out: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/98220957/LCE%202012%20Autumn%20Catalog.pdf
Also, on Saturday, October 20, I will be one of five workshop presenters at New England SCBWI's ENCORE! 2012. This is a huge honor as I'll be presenting with Mitali Perkins, Jo Knowles, Mark Peter Hughes and Cindy Faughnan. Can you believe this line up? Each of us originally presented our workshops at last spring's NE SCBWI conference in Springfield. I'm so happy that they asked me to return this year!
For this event, NE-SCBWI teams with the Alliance for the Study and Teaching of Adolescent Literature (ASTAL) at Rhode Island College in Providence. The registration fee of $50 includes a continental breakfast and hot buffet lunch.
For information: http://www.nescbwi.org/2012/08/encore-2012.php
Fellow writer and prolific helper-of-other-authors Kate Messner started a wonderful writing resource for teachers this summer. It's a site called Teachers Write and it offers advice, writing prompts and encouragement for new writers. Today I offer advice and a writing assignment on what to do when you're stuck. This is a favorite topic of mine as I'm frequently stuck! Here's the link: http://www.katemessner.com/teachers-write-723-mini-lesson-monday