Who, What, When, Where, Why

26 May

Well, today should be interesting.

I’m breaking from my usual routine of get-up-drink-latte-write-blog-write-workout-and-so-on and am merely drinking black coffee from a French press, preparing to go do something I’ve never done before.

A friend who is a first grade teacher invited me to come speak to her class for Author Day, and I’m this mix of nerves-meet-excitement about it.  When she invited me to speak, I warned her that I’m not technically an author, yet — that while I’ve made significant progress on my novel, I still have a long road to travel before that word applies to me.

Eh, she didn’t care.  “They’ll love you,” she told me, “They’ll be excited just to meet someone who’s writing a novel, published or not.”  Alrighty, then.  Speak I shall.

I’m going to do my best not to bore the little darlings with my (exciting-to-only-me) array of colored pens, my myriad notebooks, my stacks upon stacks of post-it notes, and the minutiae of what goes into a novel.  Most of that will stay hidden away in my tote bag.  Instead, I’m going to focus on the basics: what is a story, and how do you write it?  Can you do it as a first grader?  Does a book have to be a certain length? (Cue my dear visual aids of A Wrinkle in Time versus Harry Potter and the Order of The Phoenix.)  Where can you get ideas? (EVERYWHERE.)

After some attempts at engaging them, I’ll bust out my (totally geeky awesome) notebooks that represent the process — I have one with pictures of my villains and loads of brainstorming, a tattered first draft, a three-ring bindered second draft, and an example of some pages that are bleeding orange, purple, pink, red, and a couple of neon highlighting swipes to boot.

Before all of this, however, I need to tame my mane of hair so I don’t scare them away when I walk in the door.  Seriously.  I’m not exactly sure what a banshee looks like, but it’s the word that keeps coming to mind when I think of how my hair looks this morning.

Deep breath.  It’s only a twenty-minute guest visit.  Twenty minutes.  Not hard, right?


It’s too late for me to fish for ideas, but out of curiosity — what would you guys say to a group of first graders about being an (aspiring) author?

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7 Responses to “Who, What, When, Where, Why”

  1. Megs - Scattered Bits Wednesday / 26 May 10 at 10:22 am #

    Sounds like you have a good plan. I think I’d probably focus on story-writing if I was doing it, as that’s the easiest part for me to translate into something interesting for the nongeek. (What can I say? I am one. :)) Anything with pictures is good (if you’re more of an artist than me!).

  2. Najela Wednesday / 26 May 10 at 10:38 am #

    Ask the kids what kinds of books they like to read. If they don’t read, maybe ask them what book could be written that would make them want to read. Then go into your spiel and then let them ask questions.

  3. Linda Cassidy Lewis Wednesday / 26 May 10 at 11:53 am #

    I would tell them to write stories … and never stop! A lot of little ones write (and draw) but then someone tells them they’re not very good at it so they stop. So I’d tell them to start writing now, journaling at least, and not let anyone tell them they shouldn’t.

  4. Davina Pearson Wednesday / 26 May 10 at 2:40 pm #

    That is such a cool thing to do! And I bet they’ll love the notebooks – I certainly would have!

    Hope it goes (has gone?!) really well – look forward to hearing more about it!

  5. Chibi Wednesday / 26 May 10 at 3:13 pm #

    Admittedly, I’d probably be too nervous to say anything. I’m not the best when it comes to public speaking. But I think what you have sounds great. I think a lot of your cues will come from the kids themselves and the questions they ask… so I guess I’d say be sure to leave lots of time for that. Oh, and good luck.

  6. Rosalind Adam Thursday / 27 May 10 at 3:20 am #

    It’s too late for me to offer suggestions now! Hope the school visit went well. Children are always in awe of anyone who’s had anything published. They think that writers aren’t real people. It sounds like you had it all planned out perfectly… and as for the banshee. You can’t scare kids off that easily!


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