The Write Stuff:
A Children's Picture Book Workshop
Do you have the right stuff to write children’s books? Have you written a story you’d like to see published? Or are you at the beginning stages of an idea? Need ideas on how to market?
Join Cassandra Black, author and publisher of chapter book Twinkle The Only Firefly Who Couldn't Light Up,third edition, Fun Jokes For Young Folks, and picture book When I Wish Upon for our next meeting where we will explore who you are as a children’s author, why you’re writing children’s books, knowing your target audience and how to market your book in this fun, interactive and informative workshop.
Author Cassandra Black
Cassandra Black resides in Los Angeles, California where she was born and raised. Cassandra has worked with children ages 5 to 17 for many years in the non-profit sector and loves writing stories for them that reflect their real-life situations. Black began her writing career at age 12 when she wrote stories and articles for a kids’ magazine called “Young People Today.” She was the first writer/reporter for the magazine to score a celebrity interview with then hot television star Todd Bridges from the hit television show, "Different Strokes." Ever since, Cassandra has enjoyed the creative process of writing and the power that words can have. Along with creativity, she holds an Associates Degree in Cinema, a Bachelor’s in Marketing and a Masters in Business Management. Cassandra’s dream is to see Twinkle go world- wide and be made into an animated movie in all languages so that children around the world can enjoy, learn and grow from this story.
Cassandra Black came more than prepared for the workshop. She even brought her own table cloth and posters, as well as giveaways in the form of bookmarks and cute pencils. She explained that her many book signings had taught her to always be ready for author event emergency. The workshop hadn’t even started, and we were learning already.
Cassandra's Set Up
After introducing herself and telling us her about her journey to publication, Cassandra began the workshop by asking us to reflect on some important questions. She explained that in order for us to write the right stories, we must know the answers to these questions by heart.
Why are you writing? Is it a hobby or a future career?
Who are you?
v What are your personal experiences?
v What expertise do you bring to your subject?
v What are you passionate about?
v What is your writing style?
v What is your ultimate goal or dream?
What is your genre?
Who is your audience?
v Who are you writing for?
- Your kids?
- Your students?
- The world?
v What is your demographic?
- Home life
Why your book?
v What sets you apart from other authors?
v What sets your story apart from the others?
Why this story?
v What is your message?
v What do you want the reader to get from it?
v Why should we buy your book?
Author Cassandra Black and CBW-LA
Cassandra encouraged us to really reflect on our answers and to write them down as these are questions that we would be asked over and over again during our careers as writers.
The discussion on audience, genre, and story was punctuated by several creative writing exercises, which Cassandra created. The exercises were designed to help anyone out of a writing slump, and to get a writer’s creative juices flowing.
The first exercise was a madlib game. Each group was broken up into smaller teams, assigned a story to complete. The resulting stories were hilarious and over the top, and definitely helped break the ice.
CBW-LA Attendees playing madlib
The second exercise was equally fun. In our workshop packets, Cassandra had placed a list of random words. The challenge was to use all these words in the order they appeared, to create our own stories. She gave us time to come up with our own tales and had us all share our work. We all came up with completely different stories, no matter how many common words we shared. Cassandra said that this was proof that only we could write the stories we were meant to write.
Having experienced both traditional publishing and self-publishing, Cassandra also shared the pros and cons for each. She answered everyone’s questions patiently and gave some tips on how to find the right illustrator, if we wanted to self-publish.
For the final part of the workshop, Cassandra asked the attendees to pair up for a mock interview. In each workshop packet, Cassandra had placed a list of questions which often come up whenever an author is interviewed. We discovered many talented authors that evening, as each attendee took turns being both radio show host and author interviewee.
CBW-LA Attendees Interviewing Each Other
As usual, each attendee got a copy of the author's workshop as part of their fee. To end the workshop, everyone lined up to get their books signed by Cassandra.
Cassandra was a wonderful speaker, engaging and lively and everyone went home feeling inspired that evening.