Wow! At the end of the first day of the Decatur Book Festival, I’m exhausted and invigorated. We are so fortunate to have this book festival in GA. Today I met Loren Long, Peter McCarty, Laura Vaccaro Seeger, Kate DiCamillo, Ursula Vernon, Jarrett Krosoczka, Eleanor Davis, and David Lubar.
The highlight of my day was hearing Kate DiCamillo talk about her writing and getting to speak with her briefly as she autographed my books. I was surprised to hear her talk about how much she struggles with writing. It does not come naturally to her, and she really has to wrestle with the words to get them the way she wants them. She talked about how she was not sure that The Tale of Despereaux would ever become a complete story. She went through 9 drafts almost 2 years to get the story we enjoy reading today. What a great reminder that even award-winning authors whom I respect greatly still struggle with getting the story on the page.
Throughout the day I was reminded of the importance of writing what you are passionate about. I was also reminded to make note of any ideas no matter how small. The idea for Mercy Watson came to Kate DiCamillo while she was on a plane. She saw an image of a pig with the name “Mercy” underneath it in her mind. It took 2 years before she found the story that went with the character.
I hope you enjoy my pictures from today, and I encourage all of you to watch for stories. Stories are hiding everywhere. We just need to make note of them and figure out the story that is begging to be told.
Hear clips of Kate DiCamillo’s talk: