School Visits

I love to meet my readers in person and to work with middle and high-school aged kids on their own creative writing. A typical school visit will consist of up to three workshops or presentations. Some possibilities are:

Creating Interesting Characters Using photographs and a series of questions, this workshop allows each student to invent a fictional character. A hand-out of take home exercises will help students explore situations to develop into stories.

The Story Behind the Story Using the true story behind my first novel, My Not-So-Terrible Time at the Hippie Hotel, I discuss the ways in which real life can be mined for fiction. I lead students through a fun graphic exercise that allows them to explore the fictional possibilities of their own lives. Students will leave the workshop with ideas for stories they can develop in their English and Language Arts classes.

The ABC’s and XYZ’s of Plot Using examples from well-known books and films, this workshop demonstrates the common elements of engaging plots. With due credit to Aristotle, I emphasize the inextricability of plot and character. I lead students in an exercise in brainstorming their own plot possibilities.

How I Became What I Always Was It took me until I was well into adulthood to realize what I really wanted—and needed—to do with my life was write. Although I didn’t publish my first book until after my fortieth birthday, I’ve been writing for most of my life. This thirty minute talk tells the story of how I went from writing about books to writing books.

Note: All of the above workshops can be adapted for an adult audience.

If you would like to arrange a school visit, please contact me. Prior to contacting me, you might find it useful to read this wonderful tip sheet by author Toni Buzzeo about hosting visiting writers. My publisher also has a guide here.