Friday the girls and I went to hear M.J. Allaire speak at the Thomaston Library. One of my goals is to expose the girls to as many first hand experiences with published authors as possible. We have met Annie Barrows and Barbara Slate. Unlike the Ivy and Bean series, which my girls have read, we have never read M.J’s series, Denicalis Dragon Chronicles. Despite this, I loved listening to her talk to the children.
She began by sharing that years ago she was emailing her friend back and forth about books that her son would enjoy reading. Her friend told her that she should write a book. That one simple sentence changed her life forever. She wrote the book she thought her son would enjoy reading. Then she wrote another and another and another and another.
M.J’s message to children is that they can do anything they set their mind to. When I asked her about her writing routine, she confessed she really does not have one. Some days she writes, some days she does not. Some days she is inspired to write in the morning, and other days inspiration strikes in the evening. Rather than outlining her plot, she writes her story one paragraph at a time. So simple, just one paragraph at a time. She lets the story lead her. Editing is vital when writing freestyle. Loose ends must be tidied up. Details must be added.
She also drove home the message that you never can tell how your words will be received. The one sentence from her friend changed the course of her life. She asked the children to reflect on the power of a negative statement. Our words matter. Choose them with care.
My girls walked out of the library with signed copies of The Dragon’s Blood and The Prisoner (books 1 and 2 of the series). I hope that what they took away from this talk was much more than a book. I hope they realize that like M.J., they are capable of so much. They can write a book if they choose. They can achieve their hopes and dreams. While they are striving towards them, they can share a smile, a laugh,and a kind word and make this world a better place.