Friday, May 14, 2010


You heard it. Mo Willems adapted his fantabulous picture book himself and it's onstage now at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Check out the great Washington Post review.

For decades, the Kennedy Center Theatre for Young Audiences has been producing wonderful shows, including stage adaptations of many literary works, both through seasonal programming and their daring New Visions, New Voices festival which is only a week away!

As someone who writes novels set in the world of the performing arts, I delight in seeing such cross-disciplinary explorations: Creating movement with words; acting out illustrations; expanding narrative with songs; using text to reflect jazz rhythms; dramatizing a book like KNUFFLE BUNNY with its pre-verbal protagonist; and showing how stories can live in so many ways.

In my own work, I have found playwriting classes to be very useful in helping me refine dialogue in prose pieces. Reading aloud, giving the words sound and performance quality, is an essential part of my revision process.  It is also a key element for many good author appearances, drawing in kids who may have struggled to connect with the words on the page. Some authors with whom I work even provide a mini "script" for school appearances so that educators can better prepare their students and get excited for the fun they will be having, or bring puppets, instruments or other creative props to incorporate audiences into their presentations.

Something to consider for the weekend: What role does PERFORMANCE play in your writing process or in your approach to author appearances?

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