Fizzing Over

I made it to Searcy, Arkansas yesterday and to the beautiful campus of Harding University. Here are a few pictures I took while trying to orient myself, and I am such a map-challenged person that it’s good the campus is small. Hopefully, I will not get lost. We started bright and early today at 8 a.m. It’s toasty warm here and the vegetation is intense green from all the extra moisture the Midwest has been receiving this spring.
I sat outside today on a white swinging bench in the shade while doing one of the writing exercises. Who could ask for more.
But there is TONS more happening in this already wonderful workshop. A. LaFaye opened the workshop this morning with her English accent–I hope that’s not one of the requirements for being a succesful children’s author, being able to do humorous accents.
Then Susan Campbell Bartoletti has been wowing us with all of her incredible information for building stories, delving into characters, and creating a soul in your story. I’ll expand later on some of the details.
Plus, this afternoon Carla Killough McClafferty, author of SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING: MARIE CURIE AND RADIUM, shared with us her insights of writing nonfiction. She showed us how to take facts and weave them into a story by using action verbs and senses.
This evening we’ll break into groups for our first critiques of each others’ writings. It should be interesting because most of the participants are literature teachers.
Already I’m energized and excited–and it’s only day one. I feel like champagne in a bottle and I’m not sure the cork will be able to hold in all this writing knowledge and enthusiasm without spilling over before the workshop is over. Which hopefully means, I will start writing some amazing things–or certainly plant the seeds for more to come.

Teachers As Writers

I’m very excited to be preparing for the TEACHERS AS WRITERS Moebius Workshop at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. The authors scheduled for the event include: Susan Campbell Bartoletti, Alexandra LaFaye, Nikki Grimes, and Carla McClafferty. (Patricia Hermes and Phyllis Root unfortunately had to cancel their appearances.)
I’ve been a fan of Alexandra LaFaye since I read her novel, WORTH, which won the 2005 Scott O’dell Award for historical fiction. WORTH was one of those books I didn’t want to come to an end. I felt so moved by the story that I immediately sent fan mail to Ms. LaFaye, who graciously answered my email. So I’m hoping to learn from Ms. LaFaye how to polish my stories into such an endearing masterpieces.
I just finished reading THE BOY WHO DARED by Susan Campbell Bartoletti.
This intense look into a German teen’s life during World War II in Nazi Germany was both compelling and insightful. The story framed this dismal time in history through the eyes of a youth who dared to counter the oppressive military might of the day. Based on a true story, Ms. Bartoletti did extensive research to bring the story to light. Both Ms. Bartoletti and fellow author, Carla McClafferty–author of SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING:MARIE CURIE AND RADIUM, are masters of historical writing. Ms. McClafferty focuses on scientific facts and figures in her nonfiction books. So I’m hoping to learn many tips on researching and writing historical books from these two amazing authors.
And I’m also looking forward to meeting author and poet, Nikki Grimes. I eagerly sampled some of this versatile author’s works in preparation for the workshop. My favorites were THE ROAD TO PARIS ; WHEN GORILLA GOES WALKING ; AT JERUSALEM’S GATE: POEMS OF EASTER ; WHEN DADDY PRAYS ; and SHOE MAGIC. To listen to this versatile author’s lessons on writing will be incredible, I’m sure.
Check back later when I have time to share some of my experiences at the Teachers As Writers Workshop.