Tackan Third Graders Get Writing Tips from Accomplished Author

Author Brian Heinz thumbnail208495

Tackan Elementary third graders received a lesson in book writing and publishing from an established author on Tuesday afternoon.

Brian Heinz, a former science teacher who incorporates that expertise into his writing about wild animals, went through his “road map for writing” with students while mixing in tales of his travel adventures.

Heinz, whose books for young readers include “The Great North Woods” and “The Alley Cat,” explained to students that good writing begins with research.

He noted that for his books, he frequently travels with his wife with a journal and takes notes while observing wildlife. He also takes photographs.

Heinz entertained the students with tales of his adventure on a dog-drawn sled in the Canadian wilderness while doing research for a book on bears.

He also noted how he scooped up dirt and smelled it while visiting the Cheyenne River Canyon, because a good author records not just what he or she sees, but also from the other senses — including hearing, smelling and feeling.

Heinz went on to describe how his notes turn into a first draft, which continually gets refined, and how it can take two years from when he submits a manuscript to a publisher until it gets printed and is available for sale.

The students marveled as Heinz displayed the illustration process, particularly how yellow, magenta, cyan and black layers come together to make an image.

Heinz will visit individual classrooms on Wednesday to further teach the writing process.

He told third graders on Tuesday that he hopes to walk into a bookstore one day and find their books for sale on the shelves.