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The Cool Things I Get to Do

Ugh! Sorry for the late post today. It’s been crazy. I hope this isn’t how the rest of the week is going to be…

Anyway, let me tell you about something fun/cool/inspiring I did last Monday.

A while ago, I joined the site Nepris. You can read about exactly what they do on their site, but in a nutshell, the connect experts with classrooms through technology. I don’t get paid for participating, but I don’t have to pay either. And so far, it has been a lot of fun.

Last Monday, I had the opportunity to speak to a class of third graders about how important it is to have a good beginning and ending in their writing. Since I have experience in both fiction and nonfiction, I talked about the differences between the two. I spoke for half an hour, with time devoted to introducing myself and answering questions.

I’m going to be honest: I didn’t feel overly confident with my subject matter, only because I’m not sure I write effective beginnings and endings. Endings especially. I’m never sure if I’m done writing a story, so I always try to leave it open for more. And if I’m writing a series, I want to make sure each book ends with a cliff hanger so the reader is interested in finding out what happens next.

Either way, it was a good exercise to talk about what works and what doesn’t works and to get ideas on how to improve my own writing. In essence, we figured that a good beginning means that the reader wants to continue reading. We talked about how important it is for the character to have a problem and the promise of adventure. We also talked about how important it is to incorporate all five senses so that the reader can experience the world the way the characters do.

It was so much fun. When I asked questions, the students shot their hands into the air and were more than happy to be involved in the conversation. At one point during the question and answer section, one student raised her hand and had a very concerned look on her face. I had mentioned earlier in the discussion that I wrote zombie novels, and she wanted to know how I incorporated taste in those books. I laughed. I told her that I didn’t tell the story from the zombie’s perspective, so I didn’t describe the taste of eating a human. Although, the question did inspire me to think about that for future stories…

I’ve signed up for another presentation in March. This class is older and I will be talking about my process for writing a book, but I think it will still be just as fun. Even though it doesn’t pay, it’s still a good way to get out there and to talk about what I really love: writing.