January 4 Writing

Birthdays: Birthdays: Jacob Grimm (1785), Max Eastman (1883), James Bond (1900), Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (1933), Gao Xingjian (1940), Doris Kearns Goodwin (1943), Natalie Goldberg (1948), Harlan Coben (1962), Christina Baker Kline (1964).

Doris Goodwin won the 1995 Pulitzer for History

Harlan Coben was the first author to win all three of these: the Edgar, Shamus, Anthony Awards.

James Bond – no, not the spy, though he was the inspiration for Ian Fleming’s character.

Gao Xingjian won the 2000 Nobel Prize for Literature

Thought for the day: “Once I have the idea for a story, I start collecting all kinds of information… For example, I may see a picture of a man in a magazine and say ‘That’s exactly what the father in my book looks like!’…I save everything that will help.” – Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Tip: In addition to reading, watch movies—not just for fun. Study the characters, settings, and scenes. Make notes on what works for you and what doesn’t—and why.

Jumpstart: Imagine that you have found a treasure box. What does it look like? How big is it? You’re dying to open it. Should you? Why or why not? If you do, what is inside? What does it mean? Where is it from? If you don’t, why not? And what do you do with it now?

Who has not read a fairy tale by the Grimm brothers? Rumpelstiltskin, Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and more. Almost any common fairy tale we know today was penned by them.

And Natalie Goldberg’s books on writing are among my favorites.