07 August 2009

A Seriously Good Funny Panel on Writing for Kids

Before my recent travels, I loaded an SD chip with some podcast files that I had lying around the hard drive. One of them was the recording of a panel of children's-book writers at the last "Winter Words" writers' conference in Fairfield, Connecticut. And I was very glad I finally took time to hear that.

I'm not saying that just because my name gets dropped at one point. (Though, depending on my mood, that might be enough to make me recommend that everyone listen to this.) Rather, this is the sort of panel that any writing conference director would love to have: lively, insightful, thought-provoking. 

The first rule for producing a funny discussion, it seems, is to invite a couple of authors with backgrounds in improvisational comedy. But for insight, you have to luck into a diverse set of smart people who love the work they do.

The panelists were:

One aspect of the conversation I especially appreciated was how the panelists described very different writing methods. Too often people come away from an author's presentation thinking they have to follow that person's approach. But these authors came at the challenge of writing a book for kids from every angle. Karen described how she focuses intently on her main characters' psychology while Meehl (I think) declared that that was the aspect of storytelling he tried hardest to avoid.

Our crit group had heard about this panel, but no one had the right link, so I'm grateful to have found it through Marc Nobleman's retrospective on the discussion.


Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Thanks for listening, J.L.! You made me realize I didn't even name my fellow panelists! But they are named, of course, in the audio. I forgot you and Karen knew each other!

word verification: regup - kinda wish that was a real word

faith said...

Writing must be both educational and fun for the students. Teachers must make it sure that the children will enjoy learning and not finding it boring to learn how to write.