Hello blog readers! This seems to be eraser-week! If you read Monday's blog, you will know that during my visit to Westwood Senior, I spotted a young man trying to melt his eraser on a nearby radiator. Today, during my workshops at Lasalle Community High School, I noticed that Carissa, the student sitting next to me, was rotating her eraser and dropping it on the table in what struck me as a rhythmic way. So, because I enjoy being OBSERVANT and am CURIOUS (useful traits in an author), I asked Carissa whether she might be musical. And guess what I found out? Not only is Carissa musical, but she plays the DRUMS. Now, even though I have plenty of story ideas to keep me busy for a while, I am starting to think about writing a YA novel about a GIRL DRUMMER. So, thanks for the inspiration, Carissa!
I spent the morning working with Miss Ryan's two Grade Nine English classes. When I was talking about the importance of re-writing, and how, even after I have re-written a manuscript several times, my editor still has many suggestions for improving it, a student named Shevan had a super question. He wanted to know, "How come you can't fix your writing yourself?' I told Shevan that we writers tend to get too close to our own work -- it's kind of like trying to be objective about your own child. An editor has distance, not to mention lots of experience with other writers' work. The funny thing is that as a teacher, I do a lot of editing -- but I still need an editor to help me improve my stories.
I stayed to have lunch in the school library, where I met students on the school's Battle of the Books team (they are competing with other schools to answer questions about 14 YA novels -- and one of them is mine). That's me with the team in today's pic. (The two women at the back of the pic are librarian Miss Susan, who is wearing grey; next to her is Miss Ryan.) One of the girls on the team, Sephrah, told me that she has spent a lot of time developing an idea for her own novel. But, Sephrah says that the writing part is not going so well: "The minute I try to put it into writing, it sounds cheesy." I told Sephrah that what she feels is perfectly natural and part of the writing process. Sephrah, just get your story down -- cheesy or not. Once you have a first draft, then you can go back and make it better and better. For me, feeling dissatisfied with my writing is all just part of what goes into producing a book.
Special thanks to Miss Susan for inviting me to Lasalle Community High School, to Miss Ryan for sharing your classes, to the students for being good listeners, and to the Battle of the Books team for keeping me company at lunch -- and sharing your stories.
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Hi it's Hailey from today (one of the girls in Battle of The books) and I just wanted to tell you how great it was to meet you! I really appreciate how you took the time out of you're busy schedule to come and talk to us. I would like to say thank you on behave of everybody on the team it was an overall amazing experience and we are grateful that you could answer all of the questions that were eating away at the back of our minds!
Best of wishes,
It was a pleasure having you in our class yesterday. You are such a amazing and a bubbly person hope you come back soon. Your fans carissa the girl drummer and kiana with the crazy socks