Apple Blossom students are super!

Posted by Marsha
Celebrator of life. Lover of stories. Mom, wife, feeder of three cats. Author of award-winning picture books a...
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on Wednesday, 01 May 2013 in StoryMagician

Recently, I had the pleasure of doing two writing funshops with Tamara Ice's fabulous 5th grade class. Good writing was done and we had such fun, but the fun didn't stop in class. Letters soon arrived in the mail with thank yous, suggestions, kudos, and questions.

Thanks 5th graders! Some of your letters are works of art. Wow! 

One of you mentioned you make up good concepts but have trouble with descriptions. You'll get better at descriptions as you practice, but the fact that you make up great concepts is awesome. That can be the most difficult part of writing. Good for you!

I'll try to answer a few of your questions here:

1) Do you go to other schools or just ours?

One of the fun parts of being a writer is that we're asked to visit schools to give presentations and funshops. I've traveled all over the United States and even outside the United States visiting schools. But I especially love visiting Apple Blossom because my children went to school there and because of all of you.

2) Have you ever started a story and never finished it?

Yes! I do that all the time and it sounds like you, the person who wrote the question, do too. Sometimes I get stuck and can't think of the right plot or the right ending. There are so many stories I want to write, so sometimes when I'm stuck, I simply move on to another story.

3) Are you working on any new books?

I'm always thinking about new story ideas, but I don't write every day. This might be a good time to share that I just sold a picture book manuscript! It had been a very long time since I sold a book manuscript, so this is very exciting. Once again, it proves that perseverance pays off. Keep writing everyone!

4) What do you think of TV?

As you suggest, I also think TV watching should be limited. The person who asked this question seems to like science shows and I agree those are some of the best to watch. I actually enjoy watching television, but I try to just watch a couple of hours in the evening. I like to spend most of my time being with other people, doing yoga and line dancing, gardening and exploring nature, and visiting new places.

5) Why don't you write chapter books?

I have always loved the simple truths found in picture books. But I actually have written a chapter book manuscript; it has not been bought by a publisher yet. I'm starting another chapter book this month. The main character will be a 5th grader so I may need to ask your advice.

6) How long have you been writing and have you always known you wanted to be a writer?

I've been writing about 30 years. I started by writing a weekly newspaper column. That was very good writing practice. My first book was published in 1995. I didn't think about being a writer until I was grown and had children of my own. They actually inspired me to begin writing. I was a late bloomer, but all of you are early bloomers. If you want to write, just keep writing a little every day or every week. You will get better and better.

7) What does writing mean (really mean) to you?

What a great question. I don't think I've ever been asked this before. Writing is a way to connect with your readers. It's a way to express your ideas and your feelings and it's a way to share what's most important to you, through your stories.

I'm so glad you liked the Four-Line Poem and Alliteration Game. And I'm delighted you enjoyed working on viewpoint, inspired by the pet store dog, and writing about the Galapagos Islands and Roar of a Snore 2.

It's wonderful to hear how many of you are writing your own stories.  I loved that some of you shared what you are writing about. Do keep using your imagination, exploring story ideas, and writing!

In Joy,

Marsha Diane Arnold






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Miley Cohen Thursday, 22 February 2018

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