Saturday, September 22, 2007

My Three Days at East Naples Middle School

On September 17th-19th, I had the privilege of speaking to the students at East Naples Middle School. To the 8th graders, who had heard me speak last year, I spoke about sensory details, explaining how I tried to get inside my characters’ heads and see, feel, taste, touch, and hear what they do in order to provide an adequate word picture for my audience. I read the prologue of Out of the Shadows: Book II of the Elysian Chronicles to them, explaining how I used sensory details in the passage—and how I was able to describe the emotions of Davian without actually telling them. After that, I asked the students to imagine themselves at the beach and then asked them for sensory details. They came up with some amazing ones, including nacho burps for smells and 105.5 The Beat for sound.

To the 7th and 6th graders, I spoke about writing and the process of getting published. I also gave them the opportunity to ask questions. My favorite question was, “Why is the angel riding on a unicorn instead of flying?” Well, there is a very good answer to that question, and you’ll have to read A Prophecy Forgotten: Book I of the Elysian Chronicles to find out. A hint, however. If you were a fighter pilot, would you want to fly over enemy airspace—especially if the enemy owned a bunch of anti-aircraft guns?

The 8th grade teachers had their students each read the first chapter of A Prophecy Forgotten and draw a picture a scene from it as well as write the sentence that inspired them to draw the scene and circle the descriptive words. They taped the pictures on the walls, shown below. I almost cried when I saw them. I'll be posting some of my favorites on my website soon.

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