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Tell the Stories Inside You

Jan 22, 2013

A number of years ago, writer Joan Schoettler asked a famous author where her stories came from. “Inside. Why, they come from inside,” she answered. “They are inside you too, Joan.” These words inspired Joan to take pen to paper and launch her own successful writing journey.

“Telling stories is part of who I am,” she says. “If you think about it, it is part of who you are too. When you tell your parents about your day, when you talk to your friends about a game you played, a book you read, or your Girl Scout meeting, you are telling your story.”

Joan writes stories for two different audiences: younger and older children. For each, she undergoes a special process. “When I write a fun and playful story, I must move into a young child’s mind, so I watch and listen to young children,” she explains. “When I write for older children and my work requires a lot of research, I approach the process differently. Reading, interviewing people, going to museums and places where the story takes place are important. These are stories to move my readers into different worlds.”

In Good Fortune in a Wrapping Cloth, Joan takes her young readers to South Korea in the 1700s, where 10-year-old Ji-su’s mother has been chosen by the Korean king to be a seamstress at the palace. It’s a great honor, but it means Ji-su must sadly part ways with her mother. Ji-su’s journey to reunite with her mother means years of learning and mastering the craft of sewing, so she can ultimately find her place at the palace.

Just like Ji-Su’s determination, Joan suggests, “Set your mind on your goals and you will be able to accomplish them. There will be people along the way to help you, so keep your eyes wide open, your smile always ready, and your hand outstretched. When you reach for one person’s hand for help, use the other one to bring someone along, too.”

Find out more about Joan and her important advice for girls who want to write on The Studio.