Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Finding Your Voice, Part 1

Over lunch at the desk (turkey, Swiss, and tomato on Ezekiel bread . . . not bad, not great), I sifted through the materials for the online writing workshop I recently taught. I'm planning to stage a live version of the class sometime soonish, so I'm starting to think about what I can reuse.

The first homework I assigned is something I've used in other workshops, and I think it's fun. It's part of a series of exercises designed to help new children's writers (or those who are simply exploring the possibility of writing for children) connect with an authentic voice. See what you think. I'll follow up in subsequent posts with further related exercises and a discussion of how, exactly, you can use them to inform your writing.

Reflection Exercises
Write or type your answers to the following.
  1. Note the name of the last children's book you read just because you wanted to, whatever it was — from a baby's board book to the most recent Harry Potter novel. Note when and why you read it, too. (There are no wrong answers here, folks!)
  2. Write down the title of your all-time favorite book from your youth. Whatever springs to mind first. Note when you first read it and why you think it stands out for you. One title only, please.
  3. List 1–10 songs (no more) that always take you back in time to your youth. See how many come to mind in a few good minutes of thinking about it. The actual number of tunes is really up to you and depends on how strongly you associate time and place with music. Whatever you come up with, please list the songs in descending order starting with the one that gives you the strongest time-machine effect.

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