Research and Writing Presentations

by James M Deem


I am often asked to give a presentation about research and writing. Here are three possibilities (which can be adapted to your curricular needs):


Becoming a Writer

I introduce students to the major influences in my journey to become a writer, starting with my childhood and continuing through my school years. I talk about the time I got my first idea to write a story on my own and how I pursued that hobby without realizing that it could become a career. I give examples of how I get ideas for my books today and the steps I take to research and write them. This is a very personal account of what it's like to become a writer.


The Fun of Researching and Writing

After a brief introduction, I describe the sometimes strange but always exciting experiences that I have as I researched my books, starting with my first nonfiction book and ending with whatever book I am currently working on. Throughout the talk, students come to understand what is involved in the research process and why it can be so rewarding.


Talking about how I researched bog bodies


Writing Fiction

I briefly discuss how I became a writer and the role stories played in my life. I share with the students samples of my early stories and journals (pretty embarrassing now, but enlightening for students). I encourage them to see that they can capture their own reality by writing fiction. I briefly mention The Very Real Ghost Book of Christina Rose and Mystery Club of Luna Drive, but I spend the majority of my time talking about 3 NBs of Julian Drew; I read and discuss examples of character development. I then discuss how I get my ideas for writing fiction.


Writing Workshops

I also offer writing workshops for grades 4-8. I have taught how to write a short memoir, how to start a story, how to use dialog, and how to end a story to small groups of students. Depending on your needs, I can meet students for one day (with some preliminary email contact) or multiple days. I am happy to work with faculty to collaborate on a memorable educational experience for students.


And don't forget a lunch for aspiring young writers

If you like, I am also happy to talk to a small group of aspiring writers during their lunch period. This has proven to be an unforgettable opportunity for students. They can ask me questions and talk about writing in much more detail. If you are interested in this option, please let me know.

Lunch with students at Woodland Middle School in Gurnee, Illinois