Thursday, January 26, 2006

Young Writers Fest 2006

Megan Bell, the Newspapers In Education coordinator for The News Herald, and I led two sessions at the Young Writers Fest 2006 at Gulf Coast Community College today. The program brought fourth- and fifth-graders from all over Bay District to the college to learn about writing and storytelling in all its forms, from oral tradition and mime, as told by folks like Pat Nease and Renee Black, to children's literature and even newspapers.

I talked about the "5 W's and an H" and used a police incident report to get the kids to help me identify the information they'd need to write a police brief. Then we talked about the difference between "hard" news, features, and "opinion" writing, and I talked a little about fiction writing (and rewriting and rewriting) and answered questions about my career.

Megan then read to them from the book "The True Story of the Three Three Little Pigs," which is the story as told from the point of view of the wolf, who claims he was framed by the yellow journalists.

Using what they'd supposedly learned from me, the kids were asked to write either straight "hard" news reports of the incident, a feature or an opinion piece. A couple of them came up with their own fictional take, not based on anything they'd heard, but others added nice extras --- jailhouse interviews, interviews with neighbors who saw the whole things transpire, that sort of thing. I'll be back here Feb. 11 for the library's annual Books Alive. Don't miss it.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Letter from a reader

I got the following letter this week from a reader who said I could share it. He's living and working here in Bay County, and I've known him for years, but never knew we came from the same part of the state.

Welcome to the Dawning of a New Century ... Good Work!

It is strange reading material that is so familiar. You did a finejob of outlining the social dynamics of small town south. Two things that never dawned on me growing up in Jay. I never contemplated the name Century or where the mascot, Blackcats, came from.

Anyway, it took me away and back - way back.

"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.
I hope some day you'll join us, and the world will be as one."
John Lennon

Craig Bush
Teacher, West Bay Elementary

Upcoming signing/author event

Be sure, if you're in the Bay County area, to check out BooksAlive! 2006, the Bay County Public LibraryFestival of Reading, February 11, 2006 from 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM, with Free Author Presentations, Book Sales & Signings, at Gulf Coast Community College Conference Center. Featured presenter is Doug Marlette, editorial cartoonist and creator of the comic strip Kudzu.
You can check my little page on the Books Alive website here. I'll be sharing a table with my Pottersville Press compatriots, Michael Lister and Lynn Wallace.