Hello hello... I'm just back from a lively session with grades five, six, seven and eight students at The Study, a private girls' school in Montreal. I don't think I've ever had so many questions after one of my talks. Way to go, girls! Only problem is there wasn't time to answer all the questions, so I'm hoping students will send questions to the blog (use the comment section) and then I'll answer on-line.
As the last of the girls were leaving the performance room, it also occurred to me I should have said a few words about the importance of rewriting. So, girls from The Study (and of course, other dear blog readers, too), if you're reading this (and I hope you are), don't forget that REWRITING is a KEY PART of the writing process. I re-wrote my book On the Game seven times from start to finish. And it was worth it because in the end, I had a much better book than I started out with.
Some of the junior students were able to stay after my talk to chat (the senior girls had to go directly to another class). Anastassia, who's in grade six, had a good idea for a story: "we could write in our journals now and then in 50 years, we could change the names and turn the material into a book." Sounds like a smart plan to me, Anastassia!
Marisa, who's in grade five, acted as my notekeeper. She said her favourite part of my talk was when I quoted fantasy writer Tamora Pierce who told me, "No word a writer ever writes is wasted." Pierce's comment shows how well she understands the writing process. There's the thinking, the writing, the rewriting, more writing, more thinking, more rewriting... and the early drafts are all necessary to reach the final destination.
Olivia, who's in grade six, seems to have a great imagination, an important quality in a writer, of course. She told me she thinks about odd things such as "how would I feel if I was a flower that got trampled on." Now that's a story I'd like to read!
Okay, time to organize my house, then settle back in at the computer -- first to do some rewriting on material I produced yesterday, and then to do some fresh work. Many thanks to everyone at The Study, especially school director Madame Bastien-Doss. And special thanks to Taylor, another grade five student at the school... I met her and her mum Anat at Babar en Ville (our local children's bookstore) and they helped arrange today's visit. So thanks to all of you for a great start to this day!
P.S.: I just looked up the story I wrote for The Gazette about Tamora Pierce and I wanted to quote another thing she told me. It's related to her comment about how everything we write is part of our process: "Even if you don’t finish stuff, you learn from every word you put on paper, and eventually, you will finish things."
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I have been trying to keep a dream diary lately, but there simply doesn't seem to be enough time to write my dreams down before I forget them, especially if I rush in the morning. I do get delightful surprises when I see something during the day that reminds me of the dream and brings it back. I'm writing the dreams in hope of improving my memory, recalling the forgotten with a clue.
Ms.Polak, I would like to thank you for taking the time to visit my school. I found your discussion very helpful and interesting.
Thank you for dropping off the book Elmo's World at my house, and I hope we can stay in touch.
Thanks again, Taylor Geyer