Monday, January 10, 2011

School Visit + Possession In The Wild = The Complete Breakdown of Elana Johnson

Ack! Dude, today, I'm speaking to a group of high school students in a novel writing class.

I'm terrified. I stand in front of children every day. But not TEENAGERS.

I talk about writing all the time. But not to TEENAGERS.

Class begins at 9 AM.

Tips? Topics? Help?

Maybe just send bacon. And good vibes.

Oh! And double ACK! POSSESSION and some other 2011 debuts were spotted at ALA Midwinter over the weekend! Check out the pics taken by my amazing friend Kirsten Hubbard (LIKE MANDARIN, March 2011).

And here's one Shannon took of Kirsten WITH MY BOOK:


I'm not sure if I should celebrate or puke...

90 comments:

Natalie Aguirre said...

Celebrate! I'd be terrified of a school visit too. But I know you'll do fine. You say "Dude" all the time and so do they. So you know you can relate to them. And doing a talk on novel revision, just think your 30 day method and you've got it made. Good luck.

Laura Pauling said...

I think you'll find you love talking to teenagers! Can't wait to hear about it. :) Teaching is teaching. No problems.

Jessica Bell said...

Good luck today! I've taught teenagers before. Try and hold yourself together when they look you up and down and you think that they're scrutinizing every line on your face and wrinkle in your clothes. They're not. They kinda think you're cool, but wouldn't dare admit it. They also smell fear like dogs. The more relaxed you are the better they'll respond. You right YA. Respond like a teenager. They'll think your 'hot shit'. :o)

Emily White said...

Me? I would puke, but you should definitely celebrate! I'm getting all giggly just thinking about it and it's not even my book coming out! :)

To help with the teenagers, you should take some bacon with you and every time you get nervous, take a bite. They'll laugh, you'll laugh, and all tension will be gone. :)

Cheree said...

Good luck, I'm sure you'll do fine, after all teenagers are people too.

salarsenッ said...

Best of luck! I think talking about your voice is a great topic and kids can use it throughout their lifetime. How to be true to themselves, find their voice, ect... And you have a great voice!!

Guinevere said...

You'll be fine, teenagers are fun!

(I can say this because I don't have to talk to them). :)

Good luck!

Shannon said...

Celebrate! You'll have a great time! I can't wait to hear how it went.

I posted my interview with you today.
I would do it like this: Check it out.

Theresa Milstein said...

They smell fear.

You already teach and you have such a great personality + knowledgable. How could it go wrong?

I've heard to give them a visual while they're waiting to start. On board, overhead, or a handout. Ask them questions because they love talking about themselves.

Good luck! I can't wait to hear about it.

Mary said...

You'll be fine! What a great opportunity for you.

Can't wait for you to tell us all about it.

Oh, and waves of positive energy and crispy bacon thoughts are sent your way!

Sarah said...

1. Sounds so cliche, but be yourself. Yourself is cool. Bacony cool. Like salarsen said--you have great voice.
2. Celebrate. That. Is. Awesome.

Kristi said...

Oh, definitely CELEBRATE!!!

Can't wait to hear how class goes...I know you'll do fine, but I totally understand the nerves!

BTW - your book is on my list of 2011 MUST READS! ;-)

Heather Kelly said...

No matter what happens, it is a finite experience--it has an end, and at some point it will be over.

That kind of thinking gets me through a lot of stressful things. I'm not sure why--it's a little obvious. Maybe because my writer's imagination sometimes makes me relive events over and over...

kellyhashway said...

Celebrate! And don't worry about speaking to teens. If you can write for them, you can speak to them. Relax. You'll do great!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Don't worry Elana. They'll love you. You're not their teacher. You're not testing them or giving them homework. You're just being you. ;)

Jen Daiker said...

Celebrate! Puking right before you talk to a bunch of teenagers would not exactly be the route I'd take!

Kristin is gorgeous!!! As is the book cover. I love! I am jealous that she has a copy, but happy to know the copy is in good hands!!

You're going to do great. Just breathe. They're going to love you! I expect a full report when you return!

Pk Hrezo said...

How fun! You'll be awesome. Should be easy enough.. it's a novel writing class, right?? Tell them how YOU write a novel.
Good luck!

Renae said...

How exciting for you! You will be just fine talking to teens just be yourself and they will love you like the rest of us do.

Can't wait to hear all about it!

Hannah Kincade said...

ooooh, it's getting closer!! Pretty soon I'll be holding up your book in front my face...reading it of course. I'm excited for you! Good luck today with the TEENAGERS! Eek.

Jess of All Trades said...

I taught several writing workshops once and mostly I just found that the teens were grateful at the exercises we were doing. The university sponsoring the workshops actually got letters, and the one I'll always treasure said, "Thanks for helping me remember that writing can be Fun."

*sniffle*

I have a feeling with your energy and presence and personality, you're going to be just fine, and inspire a new generation.

Still...teenagers. Good luck. ;)

Ishta Mercurio said...

Celebrate! Good grief, don't puke, especially not on the kids. That's tip number one. ;-)

Relax; you'll do great. You know your stuff. Just treat them like adults (they'll appreciate that) - speak to them with respect, and don't patronize them. At least, that's what would have worked for me.

And CONGRATULATIONS on Possession!!!!!!!!!!

IanBontems said...

Good luck Elana!

Just think of how awesome you'll feel afterwards.

(btw this is a particular fear of mine - the author reading/chatting thing).

Bish Denham said...

Oh Elana, congratulations! As for those teens, if it's a novel writing class they've probably chosen to be there? In which case they will probably be really excited, thrilled, nervous about meeting a REAL LIVE PUBLISHED YA AUTHOR!

Breathe in, breathe out. Relax and have fun.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Celebrations and puking often go hand in hand for me ... deep breaths!! Everything will be fine. :)

Mary said...

You'll be awesome. Treat 'em like adults, answer their questions without any BS, and be yourself--you're funny and you're a writer. They'll love you!

And congrats on the "in the wild" spotting--saw that pic yesterday and squeed for you. Can't wait to get my hands on that beautiful book myself. :)

Good luck, breathe deeply and you be fab!

Marisa Hopkins said...

I'd totally puke... but YOU should CELEBRATE! How exciting!!!

Good luck to you!! I'm sure it will be amazing all the way through!

Mary Campbell said...

I learned from Meloney that you were planning to speak at her kids school. Very exciting and freaky. Good luck - I know you'll do a fab job. Also very awesome to have your book out in the wild.

Little Ms J said...

Kids are the worst! I can speak in front of an audience of thousands (and have), but the worst was the day I had to do a speech and a Q&A session with 7th graders. I had to go home and take a nap afterward. My advice? Just remember how passionate you are about your subject. It will totally show to the kids and you'll find them receptive. Or just bring candy.

Whatever.

Michelle McLean said...

puke first...it'll make the celebrating easier :D You'll do awesome at the school. Remember, to them, you are the rock star. You are who they want to become...a published AUTHOR. Teenagers who are taking a novel writing class are doing it because they want to write...and you can help them do that better. They are going to love you :)

Angela Felsted said...

You'll do great, teenagers are easy! Well . . . as long as you aren't one of their parents.

Erinn said...

Teenager are like adults but they pay attention like half the time. Adults pay attention about 30% of the time. Don't talk down to them, don't talk to them like their some alien creature.

You write YA- you know their world, this is a great time to confirm you know what you're talking about.

Teenagers LOVE free writing (with a little bit of guidance)

Do what you would do with an adult- just smile more.

Christine Fonseca said...

It'll go great today - you have an awesome plan, so don't sweat it. You'll be totally and completely fine!

Kelly Bryson said...

Teenage years are s time that most people wanted to fit in badly and again, most teenagers don't fee llike they do. Maybe talk about how writing is about finding the ways you see the world a little differently, that publishers are looking for people with a fresh take.

If that fails, show them your heavy denim photo that you shared on letters to teenage me. They'll love it!
You'll do great! Good luck!

Carrie Dair said...

If the teenagers you're talking to are anything like the ones in my house, they'll just be happy to have a break from the norm. And to talk writing? Mine would be ecstatic. And yeah, like the others said. You're an author, so you automatic rank high in the coolness category. Take heart! And have fun. Brings goodies. Kids love free stuff. :)

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

Just talk about what you talk about on the blog! That will win them over.
Also - FREAK OUT about the book! EXCITEMENT!
What's the official release date again?

Krista said...

Elana, I feel your pain. Teenagers can be intimidating. My husband taught and coached high school kids for 11 yrs, and is now the principal. He wouldn't have it any other way. I asked him what it was about that age group that draws him. He said, generally, if they are treated like adults, they'll treat you like one. If they get that you see them as potential friends and colleagues, potential leaders of the world, really good things can happen in the classroom. You'll be great!

LTM said...

LOL! It's too late, but best of luck w/the teenagers. They're not so scary once they start walking in and you realize how YOUNG they are... :D

Bacon always helps, though.

And YAY! Super congrats on your book at the conference~ <3

Jenilyn Tolley said...

Having heard you speak, I think you'll do great! Be happy (not pukey--avoid that at all costs) and enthusiastic and they'll follow your lead. It'll be awesome!

Quinn said...

I spent over a year teaching preschool, kindergarten and elementary kids. I was nervous as hell when I first taught middle school and high school students. But I didn't have to be. They're easier to relate to in a way.

Good luck!

Nicole L Rivera said...

Actual, live teenagers?! *Shiver* Will they be behind thick glass? JK.

Celebrate, puke, then celebrate some more!! Congrats :)

Valerie Ipson said...

I don't advise eating bacon before puking. *shudder*

Melody said...

You 'talk' to me about writing all the time...and I'm a teenager. :) (About to turn 20, but we won't go into that right now.)

Don't dumb it down for them. And let them ask questions. (Maybe start off asking for questions, give a quick speech, and then answer questions.) You're a pro at answering questions!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Elana, high school kids are pretty easy - much easier than their reputations suggest. They will be starstruck and thrilled to have a guest speaker rather than the norm. Relax and enjoy! :-)

Jennie Englund said...

Great wisdom from Shannon!

Can't wait to hear how well it went.

Holly Ruggiero said...

CELEBRATE!

Sara B. Larson said...

Woohoo, woohoo, woohoo! Definitely celebrate! This is the goal, right? To have your book in the hands of readers. To have it be a real book in the wild. Yay!

And good luck with the teens. You'll nail it. :)

Ben Spendlove said...

Puke. ;)

Catherine Denton said...

You, of all people, will do great with the teenagers.

CELBRATE!!!! **lifts platter of bacon wrapped little smokies**

Tess said...

I'd do both...celebrate by jumping around till I puked.

gotta cover all the bases ;)

good luck today...you'll rock it out!

Kim Coates said...

Celebrate!

I'm sure you wowed all those teenagers into submission! Don't forget, you were one once! Right?

Kayeleen Hamblin said...

I just read Shannon's blog about her experience at ALA. You should definitely celebrate. And you'll do great with the teenagers. You write for them, they'll be able to relate to you. Good luck!

Colene Murphy said...

Celebrate!!! I may or may not have squealed a little when I saw that pic. over on her blog...maybe. ;)

Good luck today!! You'll rock!

Janet Johnson said...

Woo hoo! So exciting! And bacon is definitely on the way. But you'll be ab fab.

I actually spoke to TEENAGERS in a writing class a full week after sending off my very first query of my horribly unedited first novel. Surprisingly it went well.

And if THAT did, your little meeting will be a billion times better. :) (I still like to pull out their little thank you letters for a good chuckle every now and then. I LOVE teenagers!)

Nicole Zoltack said...

Definitely celebrate! I expect a full report on your school visit. I'm sure it was epic! :)

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Wa-hoooooooo!

Heather said...

Wow, a class with high school students. I'd probably puke. Then go celebrate seeing your book in the wild! I'm UBER jealous of the lady holding it!

Martha Ramirez said...

How exciting! I once read somewhere to pretend ur talking to a good friend when ur speaking to a large crowd.
I think somebody here mentioned to say, "Dude" like you always do. Def say it LOL. It is YOU and they will love YOU for who you are. Just by reading ur blog posts I can connect with ur personality and I am certain they will too.
Just keep thinking if u r having fun then they will too.

If you are nervous they will pick up on that and will be nervous for you:)

If you have the guts make a joke about it. Mention ur nervous and joke about it. I heard one author doing this at a book signing.
Good luck and PLEASE let us know how it went! Also, pictures--p-l-e-a-s-e.
:)

Margo Gremmler said...

Elana! Ohmigod. Here's what I would probably do:
1. Puke a little, in my mouth (less mess)
2. Celebrate for a week!

Can't believe I just typed that. But hey, I keep it real.
Congrats, Elana!

Krispy said...

Celebrate! I'm sure you'll do great! :)

Melissa Gill said...

Good luck with the High School visit.

Can you bring bacon and just throw them little bits like you would with a dog? Probably not, more's the pitty.

Your book looks so cool there, surrounded by all those other books! So exciting!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Can't say I'd trade places with you!

L.T. Elliot said...

Well, I'm not sending you bacon if you're going to puke. That's a waste of good bacon. ;)

Seriously, you'll rock, E. You always do! Your classes are fun and FUNNY and you throw candy at people. What's better than that?!

CONGRATS on POSSESSION in the wild! Which sounds way naughtier than it is. (If it was, wouldn't it be missing it's jacket? ;)

Taffy said...

You'll do great! Say dude alot. And send Oreos.

Matthew Rush said...

They teach teenagers how to write novels now? Where was that class when I was in High School?

Kimberly Franklin said...

Your book! It's so pretty!!!

Lenny Lee* said...

hi miss elana! for sure you got what it takes to talk to anyone age cause youre sooo neat and just you and youre fun and you got a really neat way of saying stuff. for sure you gotta tell us how good you did and how you got all worried out for nothin. and for sure you could do yourself a big reward of a big piece of yummy bacon. :)
...hugs from lenny

Michelle Merrill said...

Gush about your book to the teens, send a few texts randomly throughout (you'll fit right in), read a couple of cool scenes and celebrate instead of puke. It leaves a bad aftertaste :P

Good luck with the class! I can't wait to get my hands on your book. I'll be celebrating!

Meredith said...

I'm sure you'll do awesome with the teenagers, especially since they're writers! They'll love you. And yay for Possession out in the wild! I can't wait to find my own copy.

Patti said...

I'd be terrified too, but I'm sure as soon as you start talking it will be easy and great.

The Golden Eagle said...

Celebrate!

Paul Greci said...

You will do great. Just be yourself. And congrats regarding Possession making the rounds at ALA. That's cool!!

Melissa Sarno said...

Oh my gosh, celebrate! Celebrate! And celebrate again!
But if you have to puke at least let it be from too much celebratin'.

Carolyn V. said...

It's all so good! I can't wait to hear how the high schoolers went. =) *sending good vibes*

T. Anne said...

Is that picture taken with an ARC? I think 6-7-11 is fun to say. Yeah, I'm juvenile that way. Plus it's the day after my daughters 10th b-day! Ack!

BTW, DOn't worry about the class presentation. They are so into checking each other out and passing notes they'll hardly notice the distraction of you speaking. On the plus side you can say just about anything you want! Have fun! And please blog about it!!!

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

YOU CAN DO IT!

Lola Sharp said...

CELEBRATE!!! Woot!

Tara McClendon said...

Congrats!!!! Teenagers are easy — infect them with your passion about your story and writing. (And ignore the ones who fall asleep. They do that every day.)

Elana Johnson said...

You guys are the best!!!

The visit actually went really well. Thanks so much for the good vibes and positive energy and undying belief in my speaking skillz. *hugs*

Horserider said...

Why can't my school have a novel writing class and author visits... You'll be fine! And definitely celebrate :D

Riv Re said...

I know it's over already, but I'm sending some bacon along anyways.
And id it helps, (probably not) I'm a teenager and I read your writing advice. :)
Hope it went well!

Shari said...

I'll bet things went swimmingly today! And congratulations! The picture was awesome!!!! (Can you tell I am excited--check out all the exclamation points!)

WritingNut said...

Good luck Elana,I hope it went well! And congratulations! I'm off to view the pictures now, but your book looks amazing! Definitely time to celebrate :)

Jemi Fraser said...

Celebrate - just celebrate! What an incredible feeling it must be :) Major congratulations!

Hope today went well - it's a little late for advice! I bet once you got started it was all awesome :)

ali said...

Celebrate!! *booty dance*

(that's me doing my best bootalicious dance ~ at which, I suck. but still, for you I would dance.)

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Jumping Junipers, that's a lot of comments. So, um, I'll just say Goooooo Elana! I know you rocked it. Can't wait to see your book in the wild for myself.

Lydia K said...

Keep the puke down and celebrate!

Susan R. Mills said...

Hope today with the teens went well. I'm sure you were a huge success! :)

Liz Davis said...

You can do it. Just tell yourself that often enough and everything will go well.

Jen Chandler said...

I think you should celebrate!!

And I hope the talk to the teens went well. I loved working with teens way back when. They can be brutal but mostly brutally honest. That's what I love about them :D

I'm more afraid of toddlers.

Carrie said...

You should celebrate. That is awesome.

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