I team teach an advanced creative writing class full of thoughtful, imaginative 7th graders who are working on novels of their own right now. But many of them are at that place right now… If you write, you’ll recognize it. It’s the place where the book is underway, but the shininess of the idea has worn off, and suddenly, the project is starting to seem like a whole lot of what-do-I-do-now work. Is it any good? And what happens next? Is it bad if I don’t know yet?
It was a great time to bring in an expert…and we found one who is not only talented but also friendly and willing to get up early to Skype with us during our first period class.
Jenny Moss, the author of WINNIE’S WAR, SHADOW, and most recently, TAKING OFF, joined us from Texas to talk about her writing process.
Jenny was absolutely fascinating as she reminisced about her time with NASA (she was an engineer there before she started writing for kids!) and the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster’s impact on her Texas community, and she was so kind to our students, too.
Jenny empathized with their writing struggles and shared her own process, telling students how her first drafts are really like outlines. “Skeleton drafts,” she called them, and said they might be just 10,000 words or so, but that early writing gives her a starting place, and from there, she can go back to fill in the details and tell the rest of the story.
Jenny Moss is one of the authors who offer free Skype tours for classes & book clubs that have read one of her books (and truly…TAKING OFF would be an amazing book club selection. You can read my thoughts on the book here.) She’s a truly wonderful person and a friend, too, so if you Skype with her, be sure to tell her I said hi!