Recently our local SCBWI chapter meeting featured author Kelly Milner Halls.
Kelly spoke about the “Wonders of Weird” and her career as a non-fiction author. Kelly had great tips and stories to tell and while I don’t write non-fiction her presentation gave me a lot to think about.
Kelly shared her life story; the quirky kid that didn’t quite follow the mold, the discovery of writing and the eventual career writing about “weird” or unusual things. One of her writing tips for non-fiction is to find an unusual angle or twist about a usual topic and write about it.
Of all of the stories Kelly shared, the one that touched me the most was about a boy named Leo. During a school visit Kelly was told by the school that one student had been given special permission to be present during all of her presentations for the day. Leo was a quirky boy who read one book and one book only:
When Leo found out the author of his favorite book was going to be at the school he was thrilled.
Kelly made Leo her assistant, helping her show the props and make the presentation throughout the day. During lunch as Leo sat with Kelly discussing her book he got quiet for a moment and told her that it was tough fitting in and how much her book really meant to him. The writer who was a quirky kid herself had touched a kid who didn’t fit in through her writing and helped him feel just a little better about himself, this is why we write.
We all have a story to tell and whether it is fiction or non-fiction our own Leo is out there waiting to find your book, thanks Kelly for reminding us of this. This is your reminder to keep writing and remember you are doing it for Leo.
Writing on the Sidewalk