Author Visit - Zach Elementary, October 2015

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Thank you to Ms. Stafford for inviting me to speak with the five, fourth grade classes about writing and my book. I especially enjoyed listening to the students read their own stories. You have a talented bunch of students. Keep up the great work!

SETTING: We discussed how to choose a setting. Picking a time and place, either real or made up, is important to establishing the initial setting of your story. That setting, may change or you can have multiple settings. Also, introduce the setting subtly through action, dialogue, or narrative. It is important not to make this uninteresting so the reader doesn't get drawn into your story.

CHARACTER: We talked about the various characters in a story including; protagonist, antagonist, and supporting characters. Characters may also be animals or objects. It is important to reveal character traits within your story.

EDITING: I shared my editing process. I write my whole story from start to finish. Then, I go back and look at sentence structure, grammar, and punctuation. I then analyze where I can trim words for flow and style. Another thing I do is have a writing partner read my story and look for mistakes, or have an editor edit my story. I also read books and analyze how those authors write and see what works for my style.

FINISHING UP: Wrapping up a story is important. There are several ways you can finish your story. As the class shared, you can finish with a thought, question, or cliffhanger. You can also wrap the story up neatly, or leave it messy depending on your style. In many cases, the end of the story can reveal some kind of character change from the beginning of the story.

We even had time for them to read from the short stories they had written. These bright students are an inspiration to me. I enjoyed seeing their passion for reading and writing and appreciated those who shared their stories with me. I also learned that there were several aspiring writers, in the classroom, who have started writing their own books. I only wish I started writing a book at such a young age.

Keep writing!

-- Tim Northburg