Author Neil Shusterman visits middle school students

On November 3, author Neal Shusterman came and spoke to the middle school students during advisory and some of first block in the School Center. Shusterman is an American author who has written books such as the Accelerati trilogy, Scythe, and Thunderhead. He answered questions about writing and about his new book Dry which is now available to buy. 

Photo by Lola Henninger Mr. Neil Shusterman spoke to students from grades five through eight for the first thirty minutes of an assembly on December 3. The fifth and sixth graders then had to leave, and the seventh and eighth graders got to ask more questions for the next thirty minutes.

During the course of the assembly, students were able to ask Shusterman questions rather than him giving a talk. He talked to the middle school students about his writing process, what inspires him, and what he likes to write about. Many students were keen to know about his writing process as many are not totally sure as to what goes into writing a book. 

Shusterman explained that he always likes to work through the entire story in his head before he writes it out. “It tricks the brain into thinking you know the whole story,” Shusterman said. 

Then, he writes around six drafts before sending it off to his editor to make corrections. After corrections he writes two more versions before sending off his final copy to his publisher. 

His writing process is vigorous and strenuous and he spends months working on one book. His dedication and perseverance was something students found quite inspiring. 

Eighth-grader Alex Pritchard-Cannon said, “I was surprised by the fact that he had typed so many drafts in order to officially submit his first draft. This really showed me how there are always areas of improvement and looking over your work pays off.”

There are many writers in the middle school eager to know what inspires Shusterman to write his stories. “Inspiration comes from all around us.” Shusterman replied, “You can’t force creativity. If you are not feeling inspired, stop writing.” 

He continued to tell the middle school students about what stories he is inspired by and chooses to tell. “You need to tell the stories that pose a question. Tell the ones that do something for the world.” He challenged the middle school students to think deeper when writing their stories and to always ask questions.

About Selma Hansen ('23)

Arts Editor (2018-19)

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