word craft


Summer Blog Series: Bruce Coville

From Avi: As I did last sum­mer, I’ve invit­ed 13 admired mid­dle grade authors to write for my blog for the next three months. I hope you’ll tune in each Tues­day to see who has answered these three ques­tions. You should have a list of ter­rif­ic books to read and share and read aloud by the end of the sum­mer … along with new authors to follow!

Your favorite book on writing:

The book on writ­ing that I most fre­quent­ly rec­om­mend to begin­ners is Sto­ry by Robert McK­ee. Though it’s based on McKee’s famous three-day work­shop for screen­writ­ers, I have found it enor­mous­ly valu­able for my own work in prose. I first took the course (I’ve tak­en it twice!) when I had already been pub­lish­ing for over a dozen years, and for the first few hours I found myself think­ing, “Why am I here, I already know all this!”  By the end of the week­end I had tak­en forty pages of notes … and start­ed apply­ing some of the things he had taught when I went back to work on Mon­day morn­ing! And I’m still using them. McKee’s thoughts about cre­at­ing a nar­ra­tive are uni­ver­sal, pro­found, and eas­i­ly applied.

Reading aloud from my books:

Dur­ing my years as a class­room teacher, read­ing aloud to my stu­dents was my favorite part of the day. Because of that, I have always writ­ten my own books with the con­scious hope and intent that they would be fun for par­ents and teach­ers to read out loud … which means that they should flow eas­i­ly and smooth­ly when some­one was doing so. Which is why I always read my works in progress out loud to myself, in an attempt to avoid ungain­ly prose or phras­es that would make the tongue tangle.

My per­son­al choice for which one that is most fun to read aloud has to be Gob­lins in the Cas­tle … a choice that seems to be echoed by many teach­ers, as I have won­der­ful let­ters from edu­ca­tors about how they read it every year. Part of what makes it so much fun to read aloud is that it has vivid and wacky char­ac­ters that cry out for the lec­tor to cre­ate voic­es for. And let’s face it … cre­at­ing voic­es is one of the great joys of read­ing aloud to kids!

Goblins in the Castle
Where do you write most often?

Bruce Cov­ille

Read­er be warned: he has opin­ions (lots of them) and is not afraid to voice them!

Bruce’s most recent book is a clas­sic epic fan­ta­sy that will enthrall read­ers while it reminds them of the mag­ic that lies in friend­ship and that friend­ship just might have the pow­er to save the world.

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