Thursday, February 14, 2013

Things I Love Thursday

I love kids who love to write and earnestly seek advice from authors.

I was at a school recently and did a basic author presentation, followed by a writing workshop. 

A 4th grade boy came to the presentation with a spiral notebook to take notes. He was the only one out of 100 students that did so.

When I went to his classroom to do the workshop, he called me over during one of the writing exercises. In his notebook he had written:

The Steps to Writing a Book

Step 1: Idea [Which he added based on the information he had learned from my presentation]

Step 2:

Step 3:

Step 4: 


"So, what are the steps to writing a book after the idea?" he asked me.

Ummmm, well, ummm....gee.

*thinks quickly*

"Character," I said. For me, a book starts with character.

He scribbled that down and looked up, eyebrows lifted, waiting for Step 3.

So I gave the old formula of: problem, then obstacle, then solution.

He jotted those down.

And then I remembered setting. Setting is an integral part of the story.

He jotted that down.

But then setting isn't Step 6. Setting belongs up there toward the top.

This was getting all muddied up.

It felt so unsatisfying.

And then I realized that How to Steal a Dog (the book he had read) didn't really fit that classic problem/obstacle/solution formula as clearly as other problem novels. 

That boy and I needed to talk, discuss, brainstorm.

But, alas, I had a whole classroom of kids needing my attention. So I left him with his Steps to Writing a Book, wishing I had more time.

BUT, he did give me food for thought. After I left, I thought a lot about The Steps to Writing a Book

There are times when they are clear: Step 1, Step 2, Step 3.

And times when they aren't.

I hope some day that boy has a chance to figure it out. (And me, too. Ha!)


1 comment:

dacantarella said...

Thanks Barbara!! I think we have a few budding authors in our school! You have inspired a few!