Book Clubs / Discussions
1. Book Clubs, Brown Bags, and After-School Book Discussions
Teachers, librarians, and authors are always looking for ways to help kids connect with books. With just a bit of work, anyone can form a discussion group to share literature outside of the classroom. From mother-daughter book clubs to Author of the Month lunch meetings at the school library, this workshop will equip participants to think through the ways they can facilitate their own book groups or how they might present the idea to local schools, neighbors, libraries, or bookstores.
The presentation incorporates strategies on forming groups, planning what to read, keeping kids active, spreading the word, and pitfalls to avoid. Sample handouts include actual book lists from an after-school historical-fiction book club, guidelines for participants, a tip sheet for parents, ways teachers and librarians might encourage participation, and activities that enhance discussion.
2. Speculative fiction is the new black!
Speculative, dystopian and science fiction were catapulted into the reading spotlight with the success of books like The Hunger Games and Feed and authors like Scott Westerfeld and Mary E. Pearson.
Many 2K11 authors are on the leading edge of this trend, writing books that surprise, haunt, intrigue and captivate the imagination. Our writers are fascinated with the “what if’s” of worlds around us and inside us, not to mention those extra-terrestrial settings and the societies of the future.
2k11 speculative fiction authors offer diverse and thought-provoking programs for students, writers and educators – as panelists, individual speakers and/or workshop leaders. Their presentations are guaranteed to be out of this world!
Examples of topics covered and areas of expertise are:
- What is Speculative Fiction and why do you want to write it?
- Crafting future societies
- Technology – How much does a writer need to know?
3. The mini MFA in craft
Every writer, no matter where they are on the publishing spectrum, can receive a useful tip on the craft of writing. Craft is something developed slowly over time, and each writer receives their “ah-ha!” moment at different times. Each author of the Class of 2k11 has a unique tilt to approaching the novel, short story, or even writing for adults. Team 11 can provide your conference with breakout sessions focused on the craft of writing.
Creating an authentic character is more than describing what color the character painted her room or the metal he prefers in a sword. Hopes, dreams, or perhaps how the cold affects them are all parts of adding dimensions that the reader will care and continue to read about.
How does the writer create a place that your readers will want to visit and camp out for a while? More than adjectives describing a place, Team 2K11 can teach the writer to propel the reader into a realm with accent, flavor, and even new vocabulary with techniques they used to create their “world”.
Creating a genuine voice. Writers know it when we hear it, but how does the writer get the character to speak in that tone? Through examples in literature, Team 11 can demonstrate how we took a typical middle grade student and propelled them into a character who saves her family from foreclosure, battles the football team from a zombie attack, or merely saved herself from her own self destruction.
The tricky plot and what to do next. Team 11 can teach your group the different and unique ways that they got through the first, 20th and final draft. How did their plotting start and how did it change. What tips and techniques can be used to make sure that if a gun shows up in chapter one, someone shoots it in chapter for. The nitty-gritty, down and dirty conflicts and details that drive a plot that engages the reader.
4. Make your stories real: research for fiction
Most writers take it for granted that writing historical fiction takes research, but even contemporary fiction can be improved by the details that research provides. Think of Shiloh or Because of Winn-Dixie written by a cat person who had never spent hours closely observing and interacting with dogs, or Ramona the Pest by someone who never spent time around five-year-olds. If you want the reader to take your hand and follow you into the world you’ve created, you have to have enough convincing, concrete details to bring that world to life.
For historical fiction, those details might include the clank of a stove lifter or the warmth of a curling iron next to your character’s cheek. For contemporary fiction, you can’t rely solely on your own twenty years ago memories of childhood and adolescence; the emotions may be the same, but you’ll need details of the new technology and slang used to communicate them.
This talk will illustrate various methods of gathering and organizing research and examples of well-integrated research in both historical and contemporary fiction. The participant will come away with checklist of tools, methods, and sources, and should be motivated to get into the field and inhabit the world of their characters before writing about it.
More ideas coming! Tell us what you need. Someone on Team 11 knows how to talk about it.