The fast-talking, energetic author of 102 published books, Bruce Coville recently visited Volney Elementary to talk to students about his works and where his ideas come from.
Coville spoke about his journey as an author, and how in the start of his career he received many rejection slips. But that didn’t stop Coville from reworking his stories until he finally heard his first yes.
The acclaimed author follows a three-step model in his writing; first he creates a character, then a problem and a solution. Everything else he says is just choosing details that enlighten the senses.
The reader must also care about a character, or else it won’t matter what happens to them. “Take someone you like and get him in trouble,” said Coville.
To make a good story a great one, there must be a tough choice, or a moral decision that the protagonist has to solve by him or herself. Just as kindergarteners are constantly asking why, the why is what needs to be answered in a scene.
Coville shared with fifth and sixth grade students an excerpt from his book, The Monster’s Ring. In the story a character named Russell is upset about a bully named Eddie. As Russell runs from Eddie, he stumbles onto a street he’s never been on before.
Russell wanders into a magic store, where Mr. Elives gives him a black wooden box. Just as the students were about to find out the contents of the box, Coville ended the story.
He did this, not to be cruel, but to illustrate to students how to capture an audience. Coville must always write each sentence, paragraph, and page in a way that makes his reader want to keep flipping pages.
“You are all smarter than you think you are,” said Coville, who believes that anyone can be a writer if they have dreams, luck, talent and courage.
The Volney Parent Group and Arts and Ed funded the visit.