Thursday, November 13, 2014

Author Visits Part II

Author Visits Part II- Put Yourself Out There!

A couple weeks ago I mentioned that my daughter, Jess, was invited to my son's elementary school to give a talk about writing and her book, From the Ashes.  Because it was her first time doing something like this, I asked you guys for some advice and tips that had worked for you.

Jess, Alyss, and Ryan at Writing Day
Jess who is only 18, was anxious about the whole thing and thought she wouldn't know what to say. Using some of the great ideas you guys shared,  I helped her plan out a presentation.  She also got permission to have her sister Alyssa, 16, come along and be her helper (aka moral support).  

From your comments, we decided it was best to involve the kids as much as possible in the talk.  Jess decided her main topic would be character development and she would walk the kids through creating their own characters.  She made a worksheet for them where they could fill in character traits like hair color, skin color, birthplace, etc.

Jess and Alyssa stayed up late together the night before, working out all the little details of the speech including jokes and gestures that they would use to liven it up.  They were going to have to give the presentation 5 times to different groups of 20-30 kids from 4th-6th grade and it was supposed to last 30 minutes.  We timed them.  It was only 8 minutes of actual rehearsed material, the rest would have to be them winging it.  

Last Friday, was the big day.  Jess was so nervous that day she actually puked before we left for the school.  I wished I could have stayed to watch them, but I left and hoped for the best!

Turns out they had a great time and so did the kids.  It was amazing to hear what the kids came up with for character traits.  One had a translucent mullet hair-do, one was born on a rainbow, and one had E.T and Chuck Norris as parents.

The teacher who invited Jess, told me when I picked them up that the kids loved their presentation more than any of the other speakers.

Over the weekend, Alyssa was walking around our little town square and a girl approached her and said, "Hey you were one of the girls that spoke yesterday, right?  I loved you and your sister's presentation.  All the other speakers were stupid and yours was actually fun!" (I love how blunt kids are!).  Then Jess's old English teacher texted her saying that she tutors a girl who went to Jess's presentation and she was so inspired and excited by what she had said!    

All in all it was a wonderful experience for everyone.  So even if you're shy don't hesitate to put yourself out there and speak at a school about writing, but make sure you have an activity that the kids can participate in to show off their own creativity and it will be a big success!  

Thanks so much to all of you who gave us suggestions!

Have a great weekend!

Kathy :)


  1. That's awesome! Sorry she puked, but sounds like she did a great job. Is she ready to do it again?

  2. Alex- I think she's up for another one anytime. It's amazing the confidence that is gained after a success!

  3. From personal experience with being puked on by Jess (when she was little) I'd say she turned out just fine...and congratulations on successful talks with the kids.

  4. Wow, that sounds brilliant! A fine example of serious hard work and preparation, and enjoying the results. So glad to know this! Congratulations and all the best for the future! :')

  5. How wonderful! Aren't the characterizations fun? The kids come up with the most creative stuff. I'm so glad she went that route and had a good time with it.

  6. David- :)

    Ashna- Thanks!!

    L. Diane- Thanks so much for all your suggestions, they really helped! :)

  7. What a great result and I am so impressed your daughter has written and published at 18.

  8. SO exciting. Congratulations to your daughter. She's starting young, which means she'll have a long, great career! I haven't done an author visit yet, but the worksheets are a great idea. I learned long ago that the best way to do something like that is to make it interactive. If you can get participants to participate, they get so much more out of it than if they just watch you speak.

  9. I would've been so nervous too if I had to give presentations to children. They're much more blunt than adults. Glad everything went well!

  10. That's wonderful! What a fun way to involve the kids. :)

  11. Public speaking is hard. I find the preparation is the worst, but actually doing it isn't so bad. I'm glad it went well.

  12. I understand the fear of public speaking, but she faced it and now she will mater it...and so young! Wonderful.

  13. Jo- :) Thanks, I'm impressed with her too!

    Stephanie- Thanks, you're so right, kids especially don't want to just listen to someone talking at them.

    Cherie- Yes, they are super honest, which can make working with them very exciting!

    Christine- Thanks!

    Medeia- Thanks, I was glad they had a great experience.

    Elizabeth- I get nervous speaking in front of big groups too!