From time to time you will see me ‘bang on’ about the importance and value of the public library in a community. It can be a repository for bound paper and other paraphernalia or it can be a vital hub for the community it represents, but often that depends on the community demand not just the employees of the council or body who manages the library.
Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a workshop held by The Hills Shire Library. This library is certainly the epitome of being the hub of the community. A number of services are available at the library such as JP, internet etc. (and a really good coffee shop) and from time to time they hold author events. These events usually have a small fee attached to attend (and I do mean small, not quite zero dinero but close enough!) and are well worth it to gain an understanding of an author and their craft.
‘A Feast of Speakers’ presented a number of authors; due to time the only session I could attend was a workshop about children’s picture books, ‘How to Write a Picture Book’. This caught my eye because I had just completed a subject at university about Children’s literature……….so I thought why not, I may not actually write a children’s book but it will give me some insights into the writing process (although now it is that voice inside my head that says, go on you really have always wanted to have a go at writing a children’s book).
Aleesah Darlison, a successful Australian children’s author presented 2 hours of information and thought provoking exercises to get budding writers on the road to understanding what it takes to ‘duke it out’ to get a picture book published.
A mix of tips such as how to plan your book, structures, building the plot, the actual target number of pages (which I couldn’t believe that had never before twigged to before), number of words, working with illustrators, where to get some ideas and some information about support networks. Aleesah also gave us some small but practical exercises to get us thinking, used her own work as valuable examples of how it works and then generously allowed time at the end of the session for those who were prepared to read from their own creation.
An event like this brings the best sense of community; a lively library that is willing to run events, a community who will attend the event and of course a speaker willing to give their time. Well attended by people who were vitally interested and willing to engage in the subject made the learning all the more valuable. The only wish was that it had been given a little more time.
Let’s face it, it is a tough business getting published and is highly competitive, however, with some of the down to earth advice generously given by Aleesah, at least those attending would be that little bit wiser as to how it just may be possible.
Great tip: Think about what is in the school curriculum for the Grades you want to write for as this will help in framing your stories and also longer term in the marketing.
Aleesah Darlison, has written numerous chapter books/novels (I Dare You, Little Good Wolf), book series (Unicorn Riders, Totally Twins) and picture books (Barely There, Warambi, Puggle’s Problem). Importantly, Aleesah travels to schools to give author talks, that I am sure ignites the imagination of her audience. For more information about Aleesah see her web page http://www.aleesahdarlison.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/AleesahDarlisonFanPage
For more information about The Hills Shire Library