Naomi Zucker Naomi Zucker

Author Visits

To arrange for a school visit or an author appearance, please contact Naomi Zucker
by clicking here.

Meet the Author

I usually begin by reading a selection from one of my books. And I talk about why I write and what the process involves. I begin by telling them how the first glimmer of an idea comes to me.

And then I tell them how I have to build on that idea, how I have to reach down into my own self to find the flesh and blood of the story—the thoughts and feelings of my characters. Most importantly, I try to show them, using examples from my work, how I search for precisely the right words, the right voices, the right images, to make those thoughts and feelings live on the page.

I talk about the process of revision, showing them sample pages that have gone through many drafts. And I talk about the role of the editor and everyone else involved in the production of the finished book. Again, I show them the various stages.

In the end, I hope that they will have learned not only about how I wrote my books, but about how all good books come to be. And even more, I hope that they see how creating something can be very difficult, lengthy work, but also wonderful.

Creative Writing in the Classroom

When I teach creative writing, I lead the student writers through a series of exercises, at the end of which they will have a rich and original story.

One exercise I may use is to begin by giving them a long list of possible characters for a story. Not all of these characters are human; some are animals, or insects, or even objects like boxing gloves or a hot-air balloon. Giving them this list often inspires them to find an unusual main character.

Then I give them a second list, from which they pick a word that would describe their character, which is now beginning to assume a distinct shape. At this point, many of them are eager to start writing. But I tell them not yet.

Before they begin writing, I ask them to pick a second character from the list and then a word to describe that character.

Then I explain that every story should present some sort of problem, or challenge, or mystery. And I ask them to think about what that problem or challenge might be for the two characters they’ve chosen. When they know what that is, they’re ready to begin writing.

For most school visits, this might be as much as the students can handle in one session. So I leave the teacher with suggestions on how to help the students add description to their stories. I also leave suggestions for revision, editing, and, finally, publication of the stories.