February 1, 2023 — Class I students in English Faculty Lisa Stringfellow’s homeroom celebrated World Read Aloud Day
last week with middle grade author and Winsor Parent Jennifer Blecher
P ’28. The author of three middle grade books, Out of Place
, Stick with Me
, and Camp Famous
, Ms. Blecher joined the students Wednesday morning, reading aloud from one of her unpublished projects, and participating in a Q and A discussion with the class about the writing and editorial process.
After reading aloud from her current manuscript, a foray into the fantasy genre, Ms. Blecher shared a bit about the editorial process, explaining the steps that take place between finishing the draft and finally seeing a published book on the shelf. After finding an agent and a publisher to take on the novel, a process that can be very time consuming, each book undergoes several rounds of revisions.
In the Q and A section of the visit, students were actively engaged in asking questions. Ms. Blecher shared that she was inspired to become an author after reading books that she loved, mentioning The Babysitters Club by Ann M. Martin, Sweet Valley High by Francine Pascal, and Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery as some of her favorite books.
Ms. Blecher cited personal anecdotes as one source of inspiration, telling the class that the idea behind her most recent book, Camp Famous, grew from the time when summer camps were closed during the pandemic. When asked about writer’s block, Ms. Blecher shared that she is very good at writing first chapters of a novel but sometimes gets stuck around the third chapter. She has a collection of first chapters, she said, and sometimes characters from those pages resurface as characters in completed novels.
Ms. Stringfellow’s Class I students are all novelists themselves. In November, the class participated in National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, and the students are currently in the process of revising their drafts.