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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Writing With Kids

This past week I had the extreme pleasure of writing with some junior authors in the Carlsbad Educational Foundation's Book Writer's Club.  It was only a week, but three hours each day.  All in all, it was awesome.

The kids really cared about their writing, just look at the covers of some of their books below:
We took some pre-made blank books and water-colored our covers.  Love the brightness!

Although the kids worked side by side, everyone's story and cover was completely different!

My students ranged in age from 8-13, which seems like a huge gap, but when you are as passionate about writing as these kids were, we really didn't notice that some were older and some were younger.  It was just about the writing.

And the laughter.  Oh my gosh, we laughed so much.

I have been in the revision ravine for so long, it was good to remember how important it is to have a great time when you are in the middle of it all.

But last night, I started thinking of some of the things I wish I had remembered to tell them.  (I mean, you think a week is long enough to impart all of your pearls of writing wisdom onto the next generation, but NOT SO!)

So, if you will indulge me, here are a few things I forgot:

1.  Finish what you start. Even when you don't really want to.  And you don't have to finish everything you start (see #2), but you will learn a lot from getting to the end, as in, figuring out how to write an ending!

2. It's okay to start something else sometimes.  Just not all the time.  I mean, I would be a happy camper if someone just paid me to start stories and someone else would finish them.  But that's not realistic.  Nor would the book be as good as it could be if I had committed myself to learning from it and seen it through.  So, finishing is good (see#1).  BUT, and this is a big but (inside joke!!!), if what you are writing is boring to you and you just can't think about writing it anymore without your brain wanting to vomit all over (another inside joke!!!), please for the love of toast, write something new!

As you can see, we were full of inside jokes this week.

We ended the last couple of days doing something with  my book THE SEVEN TALES OF TRINKET that was so much fun.  Most of the kids were unfamiliar with it, so at the end of the day, I'd let a few kids pick a random page and I'd read it.  I usually like my stories chronological, but it was cool to see all of the things they picked out and understood from the story just hearing snippets here and there.    I highly recommend Random Page Selection as a way of getting kids excited about a book.

And they made me melt when they asked if I could stuff them in my suitcase when I go to SCBWI next weekend.  You're going to meet real authors??  Can we come??

So in the end, although there was less work getting done (revising!) on my end, my heart was filling up and that is always a good thing.



Jess said...

What a fun thing to do with kids! And what a sense of accomplishment they must feel. Love those two pieces of advice you posted~ so true.

Julie Dao said...

I would love to write with kids - how fun is that?! It just makes me so happy when kids are into reading and writing.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

What a wonderful experience! I know those books will be special to those children and their parents forever. :)