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“Becoming An Artist: Tips from Pam Munoz Ryan”

October 24th, 2009 · No Comments · Author! Author!, Writing

(from the book “Becoming Naomi Leon,” by Pam Munoz Ryan.)

1. Play. Do it every day and pretend often. Dress up and act out. Dramatic play will help you understand the concept of story.

2. Look. Take in the details of your environment. Listen to how people speak, notice names… and if something really strikes you, write it down; maybe you’ll be able to use it in a story later.

3. Read. Read books, newspaper, magazines, or comic books. Reading helps you think. And experiencing other people’s writing will help you develop your own writing and give you ideas for your own stories.

4. Write (or draw or carve or act). Don’t worry how it sounds (or looks) at first. A first draft is nothing more than something to fix, something to change, something to make better.

5. Rewrite. Don’t be afraid to change something once it’s on the page; creating anything is an evolution.

6. Be quiet. Spend time with your wandering thoughts and then write down what you are thinking. Let your brain be quiet and breathe some of the time, away from television and video games.

7. Check out “A Writer’s Notebook: Unlocking the Writer Within You,” by Ralph Fletcher. It talks about keeping a “writer’s notebook,” which Fletcher explains is “not a diary” but a place to write down imaginings, observations, doodles, keep interesting articles, copy quotes — a place to gather ideas and information so you don’t forget them. It’s an invaluable source for any creative act.

(“Esperanza Rising,” another book by Pam Munoz Ryan, is on the Oregon Battle of the Books list, just fyi. There are copies in our library…)