I recently attended a Writers and Artists event at Bloomsbury Publishing in London. During the ‘How to Write for Children & Young Adult Conference,’ Smriti Prasadam-Halls, author of ‘Don’t call me sweet’ & ‘I love you night and day’ walked us through some of the basics of creating a successful picture book story. As I listened, it struck me...
how this mirrored many of the elements of designing and facilitating a good training session. I thought I’d share some of the comparisons:
The flow: There’s a pattern to most stories: Introduction to character, introduction to situations, potential issues, crisis and then resolution. (In a training session ‘introduction to character’ does not necessarily mean a boring, ‘this is me, here is the fire escape routine, but more about the character of the session.)
The story: Have something interesting to say! Create key phrases that can be easily remembered and repeated. (What are people going to remember about your session?)
Formatting: You only have a certain amount of space to convey your story. Use it wisely!
Dual audience: The audience you read to is only half your audience. Parents, or in this case business stakeholders, have a vital role in the telling of the story too! If they don’t like or understand the story, it won’t get read.
The voice: Whose voice needs to be heard – yours, the listener or the characters?
One sentence pitch: Can you sum up your story in just one sentence? If not, it may be too complicated or you don’t understand or believe in it yourself!
Editing: Even when you think you’re done – edit and edit again. Cut out the fillers, focus on the key points.
Creating enticing visuals: Although you might think a snazzy book cover is one of the biggest selling points, it's usually one of the last things to be created! The most splendid imagery still won’t cover up a poor story!
As a side note, Smriti held this two-hour workshop for approx. 30 budding authors with no PowerPoint slides or flipcharts, just some props (her books) and some simple, yet effective, handouts for exercises. What made this a great success, in my eyes, is that she was passionate about her topic, and walked us through each step of the session just like a story unfolding.
Learning doesn't just happen in a training session. It happens all around us! Follow my ramblings and continue to see the world in a different light!