Once or twice a year I teach in the North Carolina Mountains at the John C. Campbell Folk School. This past weekend I taught "Creating Picture Books" and it's a treat for me made even better when I have an enthusiastic group of students. Like last year's, this year's group was just as awesome.
Of course, this year we had a wonderful new twist... snow. It was mostly gone by the time I took this photo, but the entire valley was breathtakingly beautiful throughout the weekend. This was the view from our writing studio....
It was my first time to teach during the colder months and the school was decorated for Christmas for their annual Fireside Sale - a fantastic kick-off to the holiday season. Greenery and pretty lights created a holiday mood and the happy energy was tangible.
It was in this environment that I spent the weekend with eight budding children's book authors, eager to learn their new craft. It was an intense weekend. Each student arrived with a manuscript and we got to work reducing them down to their cores and tightening them up to their possibilities. Amazingly, one manuscript was about ready to go out for submissions while three others were nearly there. What a talented group!
Each created a 'mini-dummy' illustrating the four components of their story's arcs: problem/desire/goal presented; escalation of conflict or obstacles; climax; and resolution.
Some of my students had to hit the road early, but here are a few with their creations:
The bonus during the closing ceremonies was the pie-making class who shared samples of their weekend's labors - yum!!
Afterwards I had lunch with good friends who I don't get to see nearly enough, then drove home. What a fabulous time! I love my weekends at John C. Campbell!