Novelist Shares Writers’ Tips with Murray Students

by Nazanine Scheuer

(March 20, 2008) Author Carol Weston visited Murray Avenue School on March 10th and spoke to third, fourth, and fifth graders about being a writer. "You don't just write, you rewrite," she explained, "so it's okay if your first draft is a mess."

The author of twelve books including four novels about a traveling ten-year-old, Melanie Martin, Ms. Weston showed the students the childhood diary she kept when she was a student at Edgewood Elementary School in Scarsdale. She also read rejection letters her first novel received before Knopf published the series. "If you want to be a writer or musician or actor or artist, you're going to get some rejection along the way," she said. "But don't give up. Just keep making your work better and better."

Author Carol Weston discussed writing strategies with Murray students.

School Library Journal calls The Diary of Melanie Martin "laugh-out-loud funny." After going to Italy in the first book, Melanie and her little brother Matt the Brat visit Holland, Spain, and New York City. The latest book is Melanie in Manhattan. Weston's first book, Girltalk: All the Stuff Your Sister Never Told You, has been in print since 1985 and has been translated widely. She is also the "Dear Carol" advice columnist at Girl's Life magazine; Newsweek calls her a "Teen Dear Abby."

"I loved my day at Murray," Ms. Weston said. "The kids were full of energy and great questions."

One student asked about the author's "writing strategies."

"Wow," she answered. "I don't think I even used that word until I was in college!" She talked about jotting down good ideas, getting to know your characters, and thinking hard about plot: beginning, middle, and end.

Librarian Pam Tanenbaum invited Ms. Weston to Murray when she learned that the author was in a book club with Jill Kirchner Simpson, whose sons, Forrest and Peter, are students at Murray.

To learn more about the author and her books, you can visit her website