LEC: What does your presentation include?
ALISON ACHESON: I’ve worked on different presentations for each age group—primary, middle-grade, junior and senior high, as well as a look at my path as a writer for the public library presentations. My newest book, The Cul-de-Sac Kids, is quite funny, in a turning-on-its-head way. So one presentation looks at trying to determine what’s humourous—not easy. I’m hoping the students will walk away with their own ideas for shaping funny stories. For teens, I’d like to share thoughts on choosing art as a career path. I know...it completely freaks out too many parents, but art forms CAN be viable, enlivening, green, satisfying paths! Really.
EILEEN COOK: I'm doing a couple of different presentations. For younger readers I'm focusing on how writing is a form of magic. It consists of three different ingredients ( a character, who wants something, and a problem that gets in the way) that when mixed together in different ways creates a story. For teen writers I'm talking about various psychology theories I know from my first profession as a counsellor can be used to create character motivation.
ALAN CUMYN: I tailor presentations – readings and
workshops – to particular groups, so I like to mix things up. I usually read
some stories from my work for children, which include the linked novels The
Secret life of Owen Skye, After Sylvia, and Dear Sylvia, and
my latest novel for young adults, Tilt. The Owen/Sylvia novels are about
Owen Skye's epic, comic love for his classmate Sylvia, who moves away at the
end of the first book, but who is never far from Owen's thoughts. Tilt
is also a love story but it includes hormones, basketball, and a complicated
family situation. In my workshops I like to get people thinking about what
makes a good story, and where their own stories might come from. I started
growing my own stories as a teenager and never really shook the habit, and as a
result I tell a lot of stories that have come out of a lifetime of writing.
CHRIS MCMAHEN: My presentation includes plenty of energy, some wildly dramatic readings from my books, interactive mind-stretching creative audience participation activities, a secret box full of mysterious objects (known as the official Box of Shocks), crazy newspaper headlines, and lots of laughs.
ROBERT RAYNER: What I do depends on a number of things – the age of the audience, how many are in the group (if it’s a big group I’m more ‘entertainer’ than ‘teacher’), the mood of the audience, which often reflects the time of day and the day of the week (e.g. Friday afternoon compared with a weekday morning), and so on. Basically – I read excerpts from my books, discuss how I go about writing and compare it to how students go about their writing, and – most important – answer questions (the more the better). Sometimes I take the guitar along and sing one or two songs about characters in the stories as a way of introducing them.
JUDY ANN SADLER: I will be bringing lots of craft samples (well, as many as I can cram into my suitcase!), and some of my books so that I can show kids lots of fun crafts they can make. After the show-and-tell part of my talk, I will guide the children through making a playful craft that they can take home. If we have time, I will also read them one or both of my picture books.