What’s the Big Idea?
Where do ideas come from? And how do you know if they are any good? In this session, I use examples from the books I’ve written to help the children learn how to recognize good ideas and develop them into stories.
Tell Me More
Most kids think that revision means checking their spelling and using their best handwriting to re-write the first draft. I’ll talk about the specific things students can do between the first draft and final draft to improve their writing. I’ll also tell them about my own revision struggles. My knee-high pile of revisions for just one novel drives home the point that revision is not just for kids.
From I to E: The Writer’s Life
This popular session is a good overview of writing and publishing—what it’s like to be a writer, where ideas come from, how I work with my editor to revise a book, and how the publishing process works. I use many visual aids, including first sketches done by illustrators (artists have to do “rough drafts” just like writers do), and pictures of my office and family. The session instills a new respect for books as it demonstrates that—surprise!—authors are real people, too.
Write Your Own Ticket (Middle school to adults)
It’s tough to make a living from writing only children’s books, but many people make a living by doing other kinds of writing. Over the last 20 years, I’ve written for and edited at newspapers, magazines, e-zines, corporations, and ad agencies. In this session, I speak about the challenges and joys of writing for a living.
Finding the Time to Write (Adults)
Parenting, working, volunteering, carting children all over town—is it possible to do all this and write? Yes. This session offers concrete advice on how to find the time to write, and what can happen when you do, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at publishing and a chance to ask your most burning questions about writing, publishing or time management.
To request fee information or arrange a visit, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m available to speak at schools and conferences on the above topics.
Sessions can be customized to any age group, except where noted. If you're interested in applying for a grant that helps fund author visits, here are a few options, provided courtesy of authors Jennifer Ward and Cynthia Leitich Smith.