The following four sessions vary to fit the needs of the audience and the time available.
Recalling the Days of The Feedsack Dress
A reading of scenes from the book describes farm life in 1949 and the
difficulties the only 13-year-old girl wearing a feedsack dress faces at a new school. Discussion focuses on remembering and researching the period and a key theme in the book: coping with being different. Time: 30 to 60 minutes
Audiences: Classrooms (primarily 5th to 9th grades), book groups, libraries, clubs, women’s organizations
Interviewing for Fact and Fiction
Life teaches writers many of the skills needed to conduct the informal interviews typically needed while writing fiction. This session tells how to apply those skills and gives techniques for casual and in-depth interviews for fiction and nonfiction.
Time: 1 to 1.5 hours
Audiences: Writers, high school and college students
Polishing Your Prose
Good writers rewrite, but finding the faults in our own material challenges all of us. We need to focus our editorial eyes. My visual assessment system gives an objective way to identify such weaknesses as monotonous sentences, boring verbs, imprecise nouns, and ambiguous pronouns.
Time: 1 to to 2.5 hours
Audiences: Writers, editors, teachers, writing students
Writing Historical Novels for Young Readers
Anyone writing historical fiction (and most other novels) can use this four-step process.
1. Shaping an idea—the seed and how to cultivate it
2. Researching—the kinds of information to look for and where to find it
3. Writing—aspects of plotting, creating characters, and choosing point of view
4. Rewriting—techniques for evaluating your own work and using feedback from others
Time: 1 to 2.5 hours
Audiences: Writers, teachers, students