Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Kidlit Author Leads a Writer’s Workshop at the Library

Rebecca eating a cricket!
Eating a worm is the last thing I ever thought about doing, until my friend Rebecca Petruck gave me a wax worm cookie and curiosity got the best of me. Seeing those little worms embedded in a white chocolate chip was a bit intimidating, but with eyes closed and relying on sense of smell I was able to convince myself to try a bite. Not bad actually … in fact, I sort of liked it!

Rebecca is a Minnesota girl who recently moved to Ashe County. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing, Fiction, from UNC Wilmington, and currently is in the midst of researching entomophagy for her novel, Will Nolan Eats Bugs (Amulet, Fall 2017). She has been tasting some things I would rather not try, including cricket tacos, in order to get an accurate sense of what her characters are feeling. “After eating bugs I had to go back and rewrite a few scenes. The experience with earthworm jerky significantly changed an important moment. Research can definitely help you discover more about your characters.”

While writing her previous novel Steering Toward Normal (Amulet, 2014), a book where two half-brothers raise a calf to compete at the state fair, Rebecca visited 4-H livestock and farm shows. She studied the ins and outs of caring for calves and showing cattle by meeting with girls and boys and hearing all that was involved in raising beef from cattle farmers. Steering Toward Normal is rated highly by Goodreads reviewers and is a Blue Ribbon winner for the best book of 2014 by the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books. Vanity Fair’s Hollywood also lists it as “a book we’d like to see made into a film.” I personally enjoyed Wayne and Diggy’s journey as they adapt to change in their lives and learn to understand what it takes to raise a calf, knowing what the future holds when it’s time to sell the steer. Rebecca’s novels are written to appeal to tween/teen readers, and she mentions that reflecting positive characters in her work is important. Her realistic storytelling incorporates subtle conflicts leading to a series of small decisions that become life-changers.

Rebecca will be visiting the library at 2:00 p.m. on June 25 to lead a workshop for young writers. This promises to be a highly interactive workshop that reveals the secret, yet simple, potion for developing a story’s plot. Once the plot is outlined, the satisfaction of creating characters begins. You may be surprised at how your characters act when they are faced with various circumstances. This is the beauty of storytelling and quite fun to see the results. Hope you can join us!

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