N.L. Sharp, author of Today I’m Going Fishing With My Dad, The Ring Bear, and Effie’s Image, visited students at Jefferson Elementary and Jefferson Kids Klub on November 16.
Sharp told students that there are four places to get ideas for writing: Memories, Books, Pictures, and Spying.
Sharp used her memories of a fishing trip to write Today I’m going Fishing With My Dad. She encouraged students to think about something they hated to do, and write about it, just as she did. She mentioned that books are another place to get ideas. The book Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder inspired Sharp to begin writing. She told students to read as much as they can, and use books as springboards for their own stories.
Students also learned that pictures can help them with the writing process. Sharp showed them her own visual journal. The journal contained personal photographs and magazine clippings. She told the children that when she has writer’s block, she uses the pictures to help her brainstorm ideas. Sharp told the students that they can also get ideas for stories by “spying.” The idea for the book, The Ring Bear, was conceived when she overheard a conversation at a baseball game about a boy who thought he was going to be a ring “bear” in a wedding. She promised the students that by keeping their eyes and ears open, they would be able to “spy” a story, too.
In addition to her writing tips, Sharp shared memories about growing up in Nebraska. She was born in Valentine and went to school in a one room schoolhouse. “I was the smartest one in my class,” she joked after telling students she was always the only one in her grade. She reminisced about riding a horse to school, reading books, and listening to stories. It was in third grade that she came up with her pen name, N.L. Sharp. Today she is also known as Nancy Wagner. She lives in Fremont, Nebraska, and she works as a children’s author and educational writing consultant. For more information, go to www.nlsharp.com.
To date, Mrs. Wagner, has published three books, and she is currently working on her first chapter book. Effie’s Image, her latest work, is a Learning Magazine’s 2006 Teachers’ Choice Award Winner. It is also a K-3 Nebraska Golden Sower nominee for the 2007-2008 school year.
A big thank you to Jefferson Elementary and K.I.D.S. Klub for partnering with HAL for this event!