So fun to visit Holladay ES this morning. They’ve been reading MILAGROS in the fourth grade and also TIA ISA in the second grade. We ran out of time for questions, so as promised, I’m answering here. From grade 2:
How did you get to be so good at writing?
Practice, practice, and more practice. I took lots of writing classes in high school and in college. Even today, I will take a writing class to learn how to tell a story better. Best of all, I have a writing group where I share my work with author friends and get their advice.
How do you go about writing a book?
I usually start with a good character who has one big problem to solve — but that’s all I know. I write for a few hours every day, and I always start my day by fixing what I wrote the day before. (Sometimes that means I throw it all out and start that work again!) Slowly, slowly — chapter by chapter — the story starts to take shape. One secret is that I usually rewrite the first chapter after I’ve finished writing the whole book. Why? I like the first chapter to give a good hint about everything that is going to happen in the rest of the book. Since I don’t know what’s going to happen until the book is done, I have to go back and redo it.
What was your favorite book when you were in 2nd grade?
I can’t remember exactly from second grade, but I can tell you some of the books I loved in elementary school. My all-time favorite book was Charlotte’s Web. Such a sweet story of friendship. I also liked that it was set in the country. I grew up in the city, and the idea of cows and pigs and country fairs seemed so wonderful.
But there were so many books I loved. Here are some of the old book jackets of the stories I loved most. Some of them are still in print today, but they may look very different. Do you love any of these?
City Mouse Visits Country Mouse, pictures by Richard Scarry