Rachel Searles, author of MG science fiction novels The Lost Planet and its new sequel Stolen Moon, got the kids thinking creatively and having fun making the weirdest, scariest, funniest, most colorful alien character they could!

First she shared her writing process with us. I love it when a successful author can demystify for them the process of writing a book and getting it published. Rachel’s talk gave them a better appreciation for some of the ups and downs of writing, the importance of being willing to get critiques on your draft and revising, and the importance of perseverance and determination.

Rachel answered questions that parents and kids had about the writing process.  She said there is an idea in the writing world that you’re either a “pantser” or a “plotter”–either you plot things very carefully or you write it by the seat of your pants and figure it out as you go along.  Rachel herself is more of a “pantser,” figuring it out as she goes.  I noticed there was one girl in the class who was relieved to hear that it’s okay for her to work things out as she goes along, too. 🙂

After discussing writing for a bit, Rachel read some passages from her books.  She chose passages that described alien characters, and then invited the kids to try and guess based on the description whether the character is a good guy or bad guy.

Then we did an activity as a group, putting descriptive words and phrases on the flipchart to make up a description for a wild and wacky alien! The kids decided to make him male, a dweller of land and water like a crocodile, with an elephant trunk nose, a mouth/snout protruding from its stomach, eyes all around its head, the ability to communicate through thoughts, a hatred for hypocrisy and a nasty habit of stealing other people’s stuff! What a character!

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At the end, I put the names of all the participants in a hat and Rachel drew five names to win copies of her books! She signed the books for the kids and brought bookmarks to sign for everyone too. The kids were so thrilled. One boy in particular just beamed when he got one of the books and said he was very excited about reading it. Thanks Rachel for inspiring all of us with your talent, craft and dedication to your dream! I know the kids were very inspired!

Our next writing workshop will be May 20 (a Friday) at 4:30 pm. Call the Children’s Desk to sign up: 626-744-4066 option 4 and then select children’s desk.