Friday, July 30, 2010

Arthur A. Levine Workshop: Strong Emotions on the Page

Arthur A. Levine is a Vice President at Scholastic Inc. and the Publisher of Arthur A. Levine Books. He is also an author with a picture book coming out coming out next spring (MONDAY IS ONE DAY). What's more, he has a new blog, which can follow here.

Oh, Arthur! Is there anything you can't do?

(Don't be jealous, friends, but Arthur did sing a little David Cassidy for us. He has perfect pitch and a very nice sort of disco-ish "hallelujah" move, which is why I snagged the classic photo of Arthur with his David Cassidy hairdo/optional Marlboro Man 'stache. See below.)


The class focuses on how writers can put emotions on the page. Our blog posts and tweets over the next few days will recap class highlights, and will offer up some of the assignments so you can follow along. The David Cassidy soundtrack is recommended, but ultimately optional.

Our first assignment: to think of a place to which we have a strong emotional attachment. It doesn't matter if it's a positive or negative attachment. Now, with this place in mind, write down five snapshots. Images full of sensual detail. Visualize the place. Hear the sounds. Smell the smells.

Got it?

Good. Now we're on Step 2. Each of us reads three favorite snapshots. After this, we write down the three we most remember from the eighty-one read aloud. (What, you think we writers can't do math? Zing!)

For Step 3, we talked a bit about why the memorable ones stuck with us:
  • they had emotional associations from childhood; 
  • they were vivid; 
  • they carried emotional weight (in one example, parents' faces were described as bearing bad news); 
  • they were direct; 
  • they contained memorable words; 
  • they conveyed emotional complexity; and
  • they were sensory images.

1 comment:

  1. I remember when Arthur was 'just' a simple NYC editor/writer hoping his picture book the "Boardwalk Princess" might sell a few copies. He's always been a great professional ;-)