By Lesléa Newman, Writing for Children & Young Adult Faculty member
[Originally posted in The Nerdy Book Club by CBETHM on 11/12/2019. Reprinted here with permission from The Nerdy Book Club.]
I have been invited to hundreds of schools as a visiting author over the last several decades. And there are hundreds (thousands!) of schools who haven’t invited me. But I have never been uninvited to a school. Until now.
By Leah Henderson, Writing for Children & Young Adults, Spalding School of Writing Faculty
On any given day, I hear or read a new article, blog post, or craft chapter offering up what an author believes to be the “best writing advice.” It feels as if everyone thinks they have the answers, but of course most of the answers are different. And you know what, that’s okay, because no two writers are alike. We each have distinct ways of writing, seeing, and interpreting the world around us. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that we’d each have different approaches for creating stories.
By Edie Hemingway, Writing for Children & Young Adult Faculty
As we enter not only a new year, but a new decade, I find myself thinking a lot about time. How unsettled these times are. How fast it flies by. And what does the future hold? When I looked for a simple definition of time, this was the first of many I came across: “the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.” An endless progression!
Spalding University’s Festival of Contemporary Writing, the state’s largest fall-spring reading series, takes place Saturday, November 16, through Friday, November 22, with faculty and alumni of the low-residency programs of Spalding’s School of Creative and Professional Writing. Bestselling graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang headlines the festival as Distinguished Visiting Writer. Yang is the author of the Printz Award-winning American Born Chinese and the National Book Award Finalist Boxers & Saints, a boxed set of graphic novels. Yang has served as a National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and is the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship.
By Kathleen Driskell, Chair, Spalding’s School of Creative and Professional Writing
Here’s something I’ve learned. Nearly
everybody thinks they have a picture book in them. Another thing I’ve learned?
To underestimate the expertise needed to write a good picture book is foolish. At
Spalding’s Fall 2019 SCPW residency in Louisville, we’ll give our writers a chance
to explore picture book practice during our cross-genre venture into Writing
for Children and Young Adults.
By Beth Ann Bauman, Writing for Children & Young Adults Faculty
Maybe it’s just me, but the use of multiple perspectives in middle-grade and YA fiction seems to have swelled in the last decade. And it’s understandable why this is an appealing choice for a writer. It’s fun to head hop, use different voices, and create a broader understanding of the world. When done well, it makes for a satisfying, compelling read, such as in the young-adult novel Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, a WWII story that follows four narrators seeking passage on a ship to escape a Soviet advance. The shifting perspectives provide a wide lens on this historical event while keeping a strong narrative focus. But handling multiple perspectives is tricky and complicated, and a book can easily lose its narrative unity. Before attempting, here are some considerations:
By Kathleen Driskell, Chair Spalding’s School of Creative and Professional Writing
It’s a tradition during residencies at the Spalding School
of Creative and Professional Writing to regularly rotate and provide common instruction
in one of the genres we teach: fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, writing
for children and young adults, or writing for TV, screen and stage. Though our
students dive into deep practice in their chosen writing concentration, each
also benefits from exploring other genres, learning what craft elements and
techniques are unique but also shared between genres. It’s been gratifying over
the years to see how these cross-genre forays have provided important epiphanies
for writing students.
By Beth Ann Bauman, Spalding MFA Faculty, Writing for Children and Young Adults
One of my favorite TV shows is the HBO crime drama “The Night Of.” It’s tough and gritty and co-written by the inimitable Richard Price. I’m going to detour here and mention how at a New Yorker festival years back, I first met Price when he and another author gave talks about their writing. The first was affected and kept tinkling the ice in his glass in a soft, actorly way. He was sort of full of it. Price, on the other hand, bounded onto the stage when it was his turn, looking like he was wearing a pajama top. He looked at us and said, “Hey, did you know there’s a really good bar across the street?” Well, he had our attention.