This morning I got the chance to do something pretty stinking cool. I got to speak to a small group of 8th graders who wanted to know more about writing! Several months back, the local librarian reached out to see if I’d be willing to come in to talk to the kids about my latest YA book (What Moons Do) and about writing in general, to get their own creative juices flowing.
Today, was that presentation, complete masks, and social distancing. For an hour and a half, this small group of eager young writers listened with interest as I walked them through the step-by-step way I approach writing (a pantster who plots. Shut up, that’s a thing.)
I started them off with the basics. The first steps after the nugget of a story comes into the noggin. Figuring out who your hero is, and what the theme of your book will be going forward. (I talk more about that here)
Then, I invited them to fill the worksheets out with their own ideas about who their character was and what theme their book would take on. I’ll be honest, I expected a lot of blank stares and head scratches. Instead, what I saw were pencils frantically flying across the pages to capture the ideas spilling onto their paper. What I thought might take two minutes tops, turned into fifteen with me cutting them off only so we could move on (there was still much to cover!)
By the end of our time, they had a main character profile sheet generated, the theme of their story, their hero’s wants and needs, the problem heading into the story as well as the first act of their book bullet-pointed and ready to write. I call that a major win!
My hope is that they will finish their worksheets and take that next step, putting their ideas into play!