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A Hepkitten's Guide to the War
Writing Lectures and Workshops for Adults
Writing Workshops for Kids

Christine is a dynamic and enthusiastic speaker who loves connecting with audiences. She has given a variety of presentations to junior high, high school, adult, and senior groups at libraries, writers' conferences, book clubs, historical societies, and private groups, including:

  • Chicago Public Library
  • Focus on Children and Young Adults Institute, Oregon State Library
  • Willamette Writers Conference
  • Multnomah County Public Library
  • Oregon Writers Colony
  • Northwest Author Series
  • Tigard Public Library
  • Cedar Mill Public Library
  • Back of the Yards Neighborhood Society, Chicago
  • Norwood Park Historical Society, Chicago
  • Oregon Association of School Libraries/Washington Library Media Association Joint Conference
  • Philanthropic Educational Organization
  • Claremont Women's Club

The following is a list of topics Christine has covered in the past. In addition, Christine is available for classroom and book club visits via Skype.

For availability and fees, or to discuss tailoring a presentation specifically for your class or group, please contact Christine at chris@christinefletcherbooks.com.



What People Have to Say About Christine's Presentations:

"Christine Fletcher did a program at our library last week that was remarkable for its professionalism. She had a multimedia presentation that illustrated the information that she uncovered in her research for the book. Fletcher was witty, fun and outgoing—traits that you don't always see from authors who would rather be writing. Anyone who has a chance to see her presentation should make the effort. It was great."

"She was positively inspiring, partly because she's a fun, dynamic speaker, partly because she really knows her stuff."

"Christine was awesome... her presentation was a page-turner!"

"Packed with information and delivered in a friendly, lively style. She was well-prepared with a Power Point presentation accompanied by plenty of facts, examples and a helpful handout. She welcomed questions from attendees, her answers always quick and to the point. Oregon Writers Colony will definitely ask her back!"

"Your organizational skills for presenting your topic are outstanding. The flow of your presentation was easy to follow. As a school principal, I would have loved to have you on my teaching staff!"

"This was an outstanding workshop...very concrete and useful information. I loved the examples and the written exercises. I feel like I have a much better idea of the building blocks of good YA writing. The list of resources is also fantastic."

"Ms. Fletcher's years of teaching were evident. She was well organized, kept on point, had a helpful handout, and finished with adequate time for a few Q&A. I thoroughly enjoyed today's session. The two hours zipped by and I left with additional ideas for fixing my own fiction."

"I walked in with a number of questions about young adult fiction. I walked out with answers plus lots of great stuff about craft. Good for beginners and more experienced writers as well. Thank you for a wonderful day!"

"Your teaching has helped me redirect and rethink. I have a better idea of what I am doing right and what I need to work on to get at emotional honesty."

"Presentation very clear and presented in a way that clarified some points in ways I'd not heard before. You were obviously well-prepared and know what you're talking about."



PRESENTATIONS

A Hepkitten's Guide to the War: Teens, Taxi Dancing, and WWII

A Hepkitten's Guide to the War is a dynamic multimedia presentation based on my young adult historical novel, Ten Cents a Dance.

Featuring a wealth of period photographs, as well as video and audio clips, this lively, interactive presentation explores teen labor, racial discrimination, jazz clubs, the WWII homefront, and the hardships—and opportunities—experienced by young adults during a global war.

For teens, the program is an engaging look at the history of the early WWII era, without being a "history lesson." The presentation has also been a hit with adult audiences, especially seniors who love the trip down memory lane. "Hepkitten" runs 45 minutes, and is easily modified to shorter lengths as needed. Best suited for junior high and up. For school audiences, discussion questions and a teacher's curriculum are included.




Watch the video trailer for A Hepkitten's Guide to the War



Writing Lectures and Workshops for Adults

1. Close to the Bone: Writing Young Adult Fiction
What distinguishes the young adult novel from adult fiction? How do you translate premise to prose in a way that speaks to teens? In this workshop, Christine shows how the essential elements of fiction—voice and character, conflict and plot, language and pacing—come together in the YA novel. How should you handle slang? What is the cell phone dilemma, and how do you get around it? Christine explores YA books currently on the shelves to see what makes them tick, and discusses techniques to make your own YA world come to life.

"Close to the Bone" is available as either a 90-minute lecture or a full-day workshop. Both include a PowerPoint presentation and written handouts. In the full-day workshop, the topics are discussed in greater depth and detail, and several in-class writing assignments allow attendees to practice the principles being discussed. In the 90-minute lecture, writing assignments are included in the handouts for attendees to use at home.

2. Then What Happens? Wrestling With Plot
The perfect plot is like the perfect butler: invisible, and yet without it, nothing gets done. Many plot workshops tend to focus on a specific method: the nine-square method, the snowflake method, etc. Unfortunately, none of these methods ever clicked for Christine. Instead, understanding the intimate connections between voice, character, conflict, and plot in fiction—YA fiction in particular—was key to overcoming her dread of plot.

Through discussion and writing exercises, Christine explores the elements of plot, as well as different techniques of plot development. She addresses lackluster beginnings, the dreaded sagging middle, and how to troubleshoot when you've hit a dead end. Bring a pen and paper and come prepared to have fun!

3. Talk to Me: Voice in Young Adult Fiction
Voice is a critical element in YA fiction, one that can make or break your manuscript's chances of success. But what is "voice"? How do you know if yours is a good fit for the YA market? In this interactive workshop, Christine discusses the many aspects of voice in the YA novel, from point of view and verb tense, to choice of language, to handling slang and swearing. You'll learn how to craft a fresh, compelling, and authentic voice that will hook agents, editors and—most importantly—readers.

4. The Art of the Novel: Essential Skills for Every Fiction Writer
Mystery or romance, young adult or literary, novel or short story-whatever kind of fiction you're writing, there are certain elements that must be done well. In this interactive workshop, Christine focuses on the essential skills every fiction writer should have: creating memorable characters, crafting dialogue, weaving plots, and building the tension that keeps readers turning pages. Whether you're starting a first draft or revising a finished manuscript, this workshop will help you take your writing abilities to the next level.

5. Everything Old is New Again: Writing Historical Fiction for Young Adults
In a world of text messaging, video gaming, and iPods, what can historical fiction possibly offer todays' teens? Plenty! Historical fiction is not only an escape into another time; it provides a connection to previous generations, as well as a window on the events that have helped shape today. But writing historical fiction for teens raises unique, sometimes thorny dilemmas. Christine discusses the universal elements that make a story compelling, regardless of era; research and the question of historical accuracy; changes in social mores and the search for relevance; and the challenge of portraying overt racism, sexism, homophobia, etc., with both realism and sensitivity. Christine also explores "beyond the bibliography": how authors can direct interested readers to further resources, using the author's website and other means.



Writing Workshops for Students (12 years old and up)

1. The Art of Revision, or My Work Comes Back With Red Ink, Too
One of the most pervasive myths about writing—and one of the biggest reasons kids think they can't—is the belief that a "real" writer nails it the first time. Nothing could be further from the truth. This hands-on workshop takes kids through the nuts and bolts of revision: from a terrible first draft to a better second draft to polishing a third. Christine brings her own manuscripts marked up by her editor to show how even a "real" writer needs to work at her craft. She also shares a checklist that gives kids concrete steps to follow and shows them what to look for when revising.

2. The Power of What If: How a Veterinarian Ended Up Writing Stories and How You Can, Too

Why? What if? The engine that drives fiction lies in these small words. In this hands-on workshop, Christine tells how a couple of mystifying real-life events fueled her passion to write. She helps students identify events in their own lives that lend themselves to storytelling, then works with them to begin to shape these events into fiction. She focuses specifically on character development and plot, and how the two are inextricably connected.




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