Tuesday, July 30, 2013

COSCBWI Meeting July 2013: Karen Kotrba Author Visit

This month's COSCBWI meeting featured author Karen Kotrba.  Karen teaches composition at Youngstown State University and is the author of, She Who is Like a Mare: Poems of Mary Breckinridge and the Frontier Nursing Service.  After seeing a photograph of Mary Breckinridge's horseback nurses, Karen became inspired to research and write a book on the Frontier Nurses.  While her path to publication was a lot of work, it was also a lot of fun!

Karen walked us through her research journey and gave advice for tackling a historical fiction project.  Some of her tips included:

-Talk to EVERYONE!  Museum workers and librarians have a lot of good information and stories to tell, and they love sharing that knowledge with eager ears.

-Pool information from a variety of sources.  For her book, Karen scoured articles, fliers, tapes, and even some memos from Breckinridge herself.  By taking in a variety of sources, you can get a better feel for the people, attitudes, and lifestyle of the time period.

-Think about what type of story you want to tell.  Do you want an overall picture of your subject matter, or do you want to focus on just one person or event?

-Do everything you can to make the era come alive on your page.  Incorporate smells, sounds, textures, and tastes that are authentic to the time period.  Little details will bring magic to your writing.

-Write about something that brings you wonder.  You're going to be doing a lot of research on your subject matter, so choose a topic that fascinates AND inspires you.

-Keep your eyes open for moments of inspiration.  You never know when a picture, artifact, or story will spark a new idea!

After Karen’s presentation, she answered group questions and read some of her poetry.  It definitely made the Upper Arlington Library feel like frontier Appalachia!

If you want to learn more about COSCBWI, you can check out the website at www.coscbwi.org or “like” the group on Facebook.   

You may have noticed I neglected to post an Illustrator meeting summary for July.  The meeting was actually cancelled due to power outages earlier in the month.  A critique meeting was held instead for members working on their gallery pieces, and Nikki said it went great!  (Unfortunately, I couldn't attend the critique meeting.)  If you're a COSCBWI illustrator working on your gallery piece, don't forget that it's due August 5!  You can find out more details in the flier below:   

There will be no Illustrator meeting for August, but I hope to see you at the general COSCBWI meeting on August 28th!

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