The passionate and perseverant Sandy Stark-McGinnis talks about parallels, plot, and point of view.
It might seem strange that I'm highlighting the fact that Sandy dives into the parallels between writing and teaching when that's exactly what Chalk + Ink is about. But listening to Sandy, the similarities between the two crafts really struck me-particularly when she talks about how getting to know her students parallels her process for getting to know her characters, and how in order to be successful as a teacher and a writer, she has to be willing to do the work and struggle to take tiny steps forward.
Sandy centered her first two novels, Extraordinary Birds(which I absolutely loved) and The Space Between Lost and Found, on character. She talks about how she focused on her characters' wounds, just like Lisa Cron's craft book Story Genius suggests. But now, for her third novel, she's zeroing in on plot and that's a whole other puzzle to perseverate through.
Finally, we both prefer writing in first-person point of view more than third-person point of view. Which do you prefer?
In addition to Story Genius, we also talk about other titles such as Kindness is a Kite String by Michelle Schaub, Feathers: Not Just for Flying by Melissa Stewart, and The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo.
Sandy recommends that all upper elementary classrooms have Shine On, Luz Veliz by Rebecca Balcárcel in their library as well as Sara Zarr's A Song Called Home. We both agreed that Sara's book is mini-master class on nuance and character.
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Finally, I want to give a shout out to Sarah Brannen for Chalk + Ink’s podcast art. If you haven’t read Sarah’s book, Uncle Bobby’s Wedding, check it out. It’s on the ALA 2021 Rainbow List and Bank Street's Best Children's Books 2021.
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