Studio Feature: Beth Ain
When Beth Ain sets out to write a story, she first makes lists to keep track of her thoughts. She begins by making a list about the characters, and then some of the big things that might happen in her book. “But sometimes, I think it’s really helpful to make a list of tiny moments I don’t want to forget,” she says. “Tiny moments are filled with sights, smells, and sounds. And they are filled with feelings. Sometimes it’s a list like this that can spark a big idea!”
In the sequel to her book, Starring Jules (As Herself), Beth says she wants to write a scene for 7-year-old Jules that takes place in the school’s art room. So her list would look like this:
1. In spring, it smells like paint and cut grass mixed with clay.
2. You never know if when you walk in, there will be a big wad of clay for molding.
3. I like the way Cray-Pas practically melt onto the paper, making the brightest, creamiest rainbows in the bluest sky. (I do not, however, like how they look when Teddy wipes his Cray-Pas-covered fingers on my favorite jean jacket.)
4. I do not like watercolors at all because they are a whole lot of water and almost no color at all, which means I get a big lump of watery disappointment in my throat when I walk in the art room and watercolors are on the table.
“So now, because of my list, I have some ideas of how to describe those possibilities,” Beth explains. “Maybe [Jules] will wish for clay and find watercolors instead. How will this affect her mood, her behavior? Will she have a funny reaction or serious one? This is a great way to start a new piece of writing.”
For Juniors earning a Scribe badge, Cadettes earning a Screenwriter badge, or Seniors earning a Novelist badge, take Beth’s cue and begin by making lists to see where your stories go. Check out The Studio to find out more about Beth’s writing insights, her fun background (she’s from Hershey, Pennsylvania, home of chocolate!), and why being a writer means never giving up.