School or Library Visits
I love connecting with readers! If you have a book club (teen or adult) that reads Becoming Jinn or Circle of Jinn and you are local to the New England area, contact me to discuss an in-person visit. If you are outside New England, I’m always happy to swing by your book club discussions via Skype, Google Hangout, or any other technology you choose!
I’m also available for author visits for middle schools and high schools, visits or writing workshops at libraries, summer camps, writing centers, conferences, and festivals.
Information and Pricing for In-Person Author Visits
Give me one session and I will inspire and educate your students and aspiring writers! The following are a sampling of topics that can be presented. For schools, each presentation can be given in back-to-back English classrooms to make a half- or full-day author visit.
Interested in another reading or writing topic? Reach out! I’m happy to discuss customizing a session that meets your needs (contact me for more information), including meeting Common Core standards.
Behind the Publishing Curtain
In this presentation, I explain how a book is born: from that initial fleeting thought of “what if?” through to the hard copy book hitting bookstore and library shelves. I enhance the presentation and make it unique with fun, amusing, and heartfelt anecdotes about my personal experiences navigating this publishing process. (And perhaps show an embarrassing photo or two!) I share my inspiration for Becoming Jinn, focus on the importance of creating vibrant stories and vivid characters using the writing concept of “the wound and the want,” and give a glimpse into the writing process. I emphasize the importance of research, outlining, and revision. I explain what an agent does versus an editor versus a publicist. And I share my personal experience with rejection and the importance of perseverance. All along, I engage students by asking them questions about books they have read and loved. At the end, I open the floor to Q&A. Challenge your students or writers to ask me the tough questions and I’ll answer.
Oh, What a Character!
All the best stories in books, movies, and TV have one thing in common: characters we care about. While you can’t have a story without a plot, viewers and readers won’t be invested in the action of the story unless they are invested in the character—love ’em or hate ’em, doesn’t matter, so long as we feel something for them. In this session, I will teach you the tricks that writers use to develop great characters with a distinct voice. As a group, we come up with a “what if” premise for a story, create characters who will live in this world, and then drop them into a story. In-class activities will include interviewing our characters, coming up with their “wound and their want,” and setting the characters free in the story. Depending on class length, students will try their hand at a first page that introduces their characters or participate in writing a “traveling story,” learning what we mean when we say writers have their own distinct “writing voice.” I will work with the students as a group as well as one-on-one, and students will have the chance to share their work at the end of each class.
World Building: Beyond the Setting
World building is crucial to a believable story, whether it’s an epic fantasy or a contemporary novel. In this session, I introduce some of the strategies authors use when creating the worlds for our novels. Examples will be given from multiple genres so students understand how complex world building actually is. As a group, we will come up with a story premise and create the world for that story, examining everything from the time and place to traditions to culture to power structure. Students will leave with a new understanding that “setting” and “world building” are two very different, and important, things to every story.
The Laundry Line Approach to Novel Planning: From Inspiration to the Final Page, an On-Depth Look at the Writing Process
Inspiration can come from anywhere: a news report, a path not taken in a book or movie, a story of a friend. I’ll begin by talking about inspiration, engaging students to share what inspires them and how they’d spin that into a story before moving onto the writing process. The writing world is divided into “plotters,” those who outline a story before writing it, “pansters,” those who make things up as they go, and “in-betweeners,” who use a little of both. In the end, a story is written, but the process is very different. I will use my own personal experiences with these methods to introduce the concepts of story structure and revision: two things all students need to be well-versed in for the writing of both fiction and nonfiction. Students will gain an understanding of how to plot a novel or short story and have the tools necessary to decide which method, plotting or pansting, fits their personality and writing life.
The Top Ten: Writing Tips
Craft books, classes, writing workshops, writing camps, blogs, Wattpad, Twitter–there’s an abundance of places for students to get writing advice. And that’s the problem. With so much “noise,” how do students figure out what will truly elevate their writing to the next level? I take each of the essential components of writing and break them down into ten tips that students can understand and absorb. My experience working with agents and editors at major publishers has been invaluable in pinpointing the advice that works. I will focus on sentence structure, outlining, story structure, revision, and more.
Outside-Inside: Don’t Judge a Book—or a Person—by the Cover
People are complex, with motivations and histories you can’t pretend to know unless you’ve walked in their shoes. As authors we have to be able to get inside our characters’ heads in order to make them feel like real people. In this interactive presentation, we (this session is ideal with two presenters) put the techniques we use to create the characters in our books into action to show students that they should never judge a book—or each other—by the cover. This motivational presentation teaches students how to learn to relate to people who may not be quite like them. They’ll start by taking our Jelly Belly challenge. We dare students to eat one of our jelly beans and let their facial expressions, body language, and actions tell the crowd if they’ve just bitten into popcorn or baby wipes. Then they’ll interview one another (or us!) using a series of questions that start from the outside—what you wear, what you like, what’s your special talent—and go inside—what’s your greatest fear, what do you think others say about you, what’s a secret no one knows. In learning to look at themselves in this way, they’ll see that their own history has created the person they are. The inside pages speak much louder than the cover, we promise!
The Secret to Making the Most of Your Writing Time: Be Prepared (Especially for NaNoWriMo!)
Thinking of trying your hand at the official NaNoWriMo in November? Challenging yourself by setting your own deadline for finishing that novel lurking in your drawer? Crunched for time and ready to make the most of your precious writing minutes?
Then this course is for you. In this session, I will share the techniques I use to write first drafts that function more like second or third drafts in half the time. Using these tips and tricks, I cut my writing time down from three years to three months, and I’ll show how you can do the same. With advice for managing both your writing life and your personal life, I will give you the tools you need for more efficient writing not just for NaNoWriMo, but for every month of the year.
Other topics ideal for libraries, festivals, and conferences:
Hook, Line, and Swim: Landing the All Important First Line
Perfecting the Submission Package: Query, Synopsis, and First Page
New Ways to Snag an Agent and Land a Book Deal
A Grassroots Approach to Marketing
Solo fee: $125 per one-hour session (discounts available for half-day or full-day visits).
Discounts available for bulk book purchases.
Free visits: I offer a limited number of free school visits each year. To secure a spot, contact me as soon as you can at the start of the school year!
Author Panel? Interested in bringing a group of authors to your event or school? Contact me for information on booking more than one author.
To book a solo or group author visit, contact Lori via e-mail.
Skype Visits: I’m virtually available too!