Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Villains at Milton Academy

Earlier this week I had a great visit with the fourth-graders at Milton Academy. Half of them had read Fish, and they had several great questions about the writing process. At one point in the presentation I was talking about the evolution of a particular line in the book, and how it changed after a few debates with my editor, and a few of the kids actually remembered the sentence when it flashed up on the smart screen. Maybe it was the appearance of four ladies in large yellow dresses in the middle of an action scene that made the fragment memorable, but still, I was impressed. Quite a group of readers.

They were also especially interested in the villains in my books. Several of them volunteered their names for future evil characters. I promise I will keep them in mind.

We had some extra time at the end, so I read them the first chapter of my next book, Dangerous Waters, which comes out in March. Normally I edit while I read, cutting a sentence here, shortening a paragraph there, but in this case I read every word. They all felt necessary. That's a good sign, I think. And the kids seemed to love it...not a yawn or wandering stare in the place.

My favorite comment from one of the students: "You make me want to read a hundred books!"

That's exactly what an author wants to hear.

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