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The Story Behind the Story: how a small idea becomes a book.
This 45 minute session traces the journey of how a small idea becomes a book. I discuss my first attempts to write a novel at ten years old and how, after that, I was hooked on telling stories. We move on to an exercise focused on taking an idea and formulating it into a question to get to the heart of the story (What if my sister is a werewolf? What if our town is invaded by robots?). I illustrate how I used this technique in Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls, taking a simple life event and creating a story around it.
This session includes a question and answer period and is appropriate for 4th-8th graders.
Creative Writing Session
This 45 minute hands on writing seminar explores some of the basic elements of story: character, plot and setting. We discuss how each element contributes to our understanding of what is written. I use my latest novel, Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls, to illustrate how these pieces come together in the final product.
Developing writers are then guided in creating short narratives using a variety of writing prompts. Students are encouraged to share their work but it’s not required.
We touch on several Common Core standards, such as expanding, combining and reducing sentences for improved meaning, understanding figurative language and the importance of word relationships in presenting ideas.
This session is appropriate for 4th-8th graders and works best with small groups.
Skype Visits/Online Chat Sometimes a virtual visit works best! These visits are all Q&A and last about 30 minutes.
For details and scheduling, please contact Roberta Stout at firstname.lastname@example.org