Children’s Author Jenny Goebel Visits Youth Journalism Day




 “‘I make them up… out of my head’,” said Jenny Goebel on July 18, quoting author Neil Gaiman on how writers get ideas for their books. Goebel is an author herself, having written a picture book and children’s novel. There is another that she is planning on publishing in the fall of 2015. At Denver Post’s Youth Journalism Day, where kids are educated about writing for a newspaper, Goebel came to talk about her books, ideas, and the writing process. Of course, everyone makes ideas up out of their heads, but writers need to pay attention to those ideas if they want to write a book. This is the first step of the writing process–coming up with an idea.

Next, explained Goebel, an author will plot the story. Some writers skip this step, not planning at all, but others won’t even start writing until they have a very detailed plan. Goebel, during the first draft of her novel Grave Images, didn’t plan at all, which, for her, made writing more difficult in the end. To illustrate the other extreme, Goebel showed a picture of J.K. Rowling’s plot map for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which was an elaborate table filled with notes on occurrences, chapter titles, characters, and other story elements. This step, in Goebel’s opinion, while not absolutely vital, will probably help authors and writers overall.

After planning comes writing the first draft. A writer will take the plan they have and write it into a story. Extra details can also be added, and the plan is occasionally strayed away from. To keep herself on track, Jenny Goebel follows author Jane Yolen’s rule– “BIC,” she said. “Butt In Chair.” This means that even on days that a writer doesn’t feel like it, they sit down in their chair and work on their story, book, or article.

Finally in the writing process is revision. A writer must look over–and sometimes change– “scenes… chapters… characters… words… sentences… [and] paragraphs.” Goebel described how she deletes anything that is unnecessary or complicates the story, even sometimes taking out major characters to clear up any confusion. Eventually, Goebel got her book published. Her advice to writers or anyone else? Persevere, and your dreams might come true someday.