by Linda Haskell
On October 4th, Team Dirigo hosted an author visit. Thomas Torrington, author of Evergreen and soon to be released The Bear and Thunder Snow, spoke to the 7th graders on both Dirigo and Boothbay teams about his writing process, how to be self-published, and why many authors are choosing this option.
Mr. Torrington stressed that if you want to be a writer, you need to write daily. He has an hour a day set aside to do just that. His goal is to write 1,000 words a day, but he doesn’t always reach this goal, he confessed.
When developing a story, he talked about the importance of developing a character and his/her backstory even though it probably won’t be in the final draft of the novel. He also explained how the choices the character makes are influenced by his or her character traits and personality. Mr. Torrington also explained how the setting can drive the plot by limiting the action or acting as a character such as Hogwarts in the Harry Potter series. The thumping willow, the talking paintings, and moving stairs actually become characters in the stories.
Mr. Torrington went on the explain that writing the story is only about 10% of the work. The rest is mostly revision. He explained how he reads his work three times: once for pacing and to see if the story makes sense, once with a red pen to correct all problems he finds, and finally out loud really focusing on the dialogue to see if it sounds the way people talk.
Mr.Torrington’s writing process blended closely with the process used in Lucy Calkins narrative writing lessons. “Hearing what you should put in your stories helped me,” said Natalie Quimby. Max Krizo stated, “ I found it interesting. He showed me where I can improve as a writer to make my writing more real.” Kasey Burns, one of the students who stayed to show Mr. Torrington her current writing piece said, “ I thought it was good because he is an actual writer. He read some of my story to help me improve.”