Author visits Central
October 9, 2019
Author Neal Shusterman visited sophomores in H English class on Oct.2 to talk to them about what it’s like being an author and how he became one. He also spoke about his books, including “Dry” and “Scythe,” two books the sophomores were allowed to choose between to read before he came.
Shusterman is an award-winning author for his book “Challenger Deep”. Not only does he write novels, he also writes screenplay. However, writing scripts for him isn’t the same thing as writing a book. “I like writing books more, because the books are a finished product whereas a script is just a blueprint for a movie that might never get made,” he said.
On the other side of his writings, Shusterman has written 52 books in his career, but he never gets tired of seeing the final product. “When I received my first book in the mail, I felt like Charlie when he finds the golden ticket…I slowly started to peel it [the package] open to get a peek of the book,” Shusterman said. “And I still do that.”
Every book has an end, however, and while receiving the completed book is a treat for Shusterman, finishing the book is bittersweet. “I miss the characters… I don’t want that to be the end. I want to see these characters again,” he said.
Along with discussing his books, Shusterman also gave advice to students aspiring to be an author. “[There are] four things if you’re interested in being a writer. One- you have to write…” Shusterman said. He mentioned sticking with an idea and not blaming writer’s block.
“Two-rewrite. Revision is the most important part of the writing process,” he said. Shusterman recommends reading your story out loud after rewriting it. “The experience of hearing your words is just different enough from reading them on the page, that you get a whole new perspective on it.”
“Three- you got to be a reader if you want to be a writer,” Shusterman said. He told the students to read all different types of genres and to read outside their comfort zone. “By expanding yourself as a reader, that’s how you expand yourself as a writer.”
“Four- you have to persevere.” No matter how many times you get rejected, keep writing. Shusterman got rejected many times, but every book he wrote that was turned down helped lead him to his success. “I had to write those [short] stories to be a good enough writer to write the first book; I had to write that first one to be good enough to write the second, and I had to write that second to be good enough to write ‘The Shadow Club’, my first published novel,” Shusterman explained.
Sophomore Livia Ziskey attended Shusterman’s seminar and enjoyed it. “I thought he was a really interesting person. I liked the way he made it a question-answer session,” she said.
She also likes his book “Scythe”. “It’s really good,” she said. “I didn’t think I’d like it as much as I do.” Ziskey plans on reading “Dry” next.
Librarian Beth Eilers said the visit was Neal Shusterman was a “positive experience”, and the library is considering hosting another author in the coming years.