Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Author Nikki Grimes Comes to the Hollywood Schmooze!

About ten of us met on January 16, 2014 in Rhonda's living room and this meeting was very special.

Our new co-coordinator, Jean Perry, shares here about our award winning, guest speaker, author and poet, Nikki Grimes.

For poet and author Nikki Grimes, poems and novels often begin with:
A list of names. A voice. A style of speech.
A character with his or her own way of being in the world.
“If a reader loves a character he will follow that character anywhere.  The reader needs to care about the character. Characters have to be fully formed fully developed, with a distinct, recognizable voice,” she said.

As guest speaker at the Hollywood Schmooze’s January meeting, Grimes gave writers an exercise.

“A phone rings,” she told us. “You answer it. The person doesn’t identify themselves. How do you know who it is?”
Our first answers were the obvious ones. “Sound…their tone of voice…”

She directed us to dig deeper. It was fascinating to hear our word choices shift from passive to active.

“Their breathing”… “their pauses”… “some people have a permanent whine”… “timbre –a sing song tone” … “cadence” … “pace”…“hesitations”.

Then she had another question: “Someone is walking in front of you and without seeing their face you recognize them. How did you recognize them?”

“Their walk,” someone called out, which led to “their carriage” … “gait” …  “posture” …  “rhythm” … “shuffle or limp” … “their clothes” … “hair” …  “silhouette” … “their energy.”

 “If you think of characters as real people, it helps you to write them as real. When characters are well drawn readers should recognize them on a street and recognize their voice on a phone.
“I feel as though we’ve had an intensive workshop,” said Hollywood Schmooze coordinator, Deborah Fletcher Blum. We all agreed.                                                 
Grimes closed by reading a poem from her latest book: Journey Poems for the Pulpit.

She can be contacted at
by Jean Perry
It was a great Schmooze! Thank to all for attending and we hope to have many more
wonderful guest speakers such as Nikki. And thank you to Nikki for sharing her time with us!
Next month, we welcome Jennifer Rofe, agent from Andrea Brown Literary Agency. 
These are our two guest speakers for the year! 
Check the calendar for more information. And RSVP so we have your email -- occasionally the venue or date changes and then we will be sure to contact those on the list.
And check out my blog too. I sometimes write about the Schmooze there too!
We look forward to seeing you at the Schmooze.
Deborah Fletcher Blum, co-coordinator


1 comment:

  1. Hi, I'd love to be added to the Hollywood schmooze list. My name is Michael X. Ferraro and I'm a new SCBWI member. Thank you.