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        Shannon Hale

        As a child, Shannon Hale began writing books, mostly fantasy stories where she was the heroine. As an adult, her re-tellings and riffs on fairy tales, reach a new generation of kids less familiar with these classic stories. Watch the interview, view the interview transcript, read a short biography on Shannon Hale, or see a selected list of her children's books.

        http://www.AdLit/authors/Hale/33986

        No Cat, No Bicycle

        As a middle child, Shannon Hale often felt isolated and she used stories and games to connect with her siblings. In this video, Hale describes the how she interacted with both her older and younger siblings, how she first sought out the family cat for companionship, and how she eventually started writing books at age 10.

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        Mona Lisa Maybe

        Shannon Hale read for her first audience and decided to be an author way back in fourth grade. In this video, Hale describes how her elementary teachers supported and encouraged her creativity, and remembers how the her first audience at a PTA meeting reacted to her story of 'Mona Lisa Maybe.'

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        Becoming a Writer

        Shannon Hale describes the point at which she decided to get her MFA in writing and how others weren't always supportive of her choice. She explains that in her experience, people aren't always supportive of professions that work with young children's interests such as a children's book author or a kindergarten teacher. Hale, however, goes on to explain her view that rejection isn't absolute, but the universe getting you to the right place. While it took 100 short stories and several books worth of writing, Shannon Hale finally felt worthy to be published.

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        Cinematic Imagination

        Shannon Hale describes how her experience in the theater influences her character development and the structure of her stories, and notes that her theater background has given her a cinematic imagination. In her story of 'Rapunzel's Revenge,' both Hale and the book's illustrator have backgrounds in theater, making that book feel like a play unfolding in front of the reader.

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        Meeting the Readers

        Shannon Hale enjoys a dialogue with her readers, especially pointed questions and criticism from teens who already identify themselves as writers. Hale believes that reading is a collaborative exercise between the writer and the reader and believes her blog helps readers connect and continue the conversation. During the video, Hale reads letters she has received from two young authors which both praise and criticize components of her story.

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        Writing for Young People

        Shannon Hale describes the difference between writing for adults and writing for children, noting how part of the difference is the age of the protagonist and how the story of the protagonist speaks to similar age and life experiences by the reader. Writing for children also requires more story crafting because for kids it's important to get to the point and the stories must hold up to repeated reading by loyal fans.

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        Fairy Tale Story Starters

        To help kids overcome their reluctance to write, Shannon Hale suggests kids pick a known fairy tale but change the setting, thus unleashing many new ideas and becoming a new story.

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        Bite-size Stories

        According to Shannon Hale, fairy tales have bite-sized versions of great story elements, including bite-sized romance, danger, exploration, adventure, and coming home again. In this video, Hale describes her interest in fairy tales from two points. First, Hale shares her belief that something in fairy tales must resonate with people because they have a long oral tradition and have been passed down through generations. Second, while content with some fairy tales, it is the fairy tales where she wants to know more, wants to know the why, how, and what happened next that inspires her to want to continue the stories.

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        "Rapunzel's Revenge"

        Shannon Hale and her husband combined their love of fairy tales and superhero comic books to create a graphic novel about Rapunzel. In this video, Hale describes how writing a graphic novel is similar to writing a screenplay in that the dialog and description come first and then the illustrator creates images based on the writing. Hale also describes how graphic novels can reach visual learners who may be hesitant to jump into a book of prose, but once comfortable with the graphic novel, can make that transition and become a good reader for other types of books.

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        "Goose Girl" and Beyond

        When Shannon Hale writes, she doesn't think about whether a book is going to be a series, but rather focuses on the story in front of her. Hale does realize though that readers get attached to characters and want to know more, and she experiences this herself. For example, "Goose Girl" spawned three spin-off books because Shannon Hale felt compelled to develop stories about the secondary characters. Hale explains that the "Goose Girl" series can be read as stand alone books or read in order to see the character development and growth.

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        An Exquisite Corpse

        Traditionally an 'Exquisite Corpse' was a game played by artists where a folded up piece of paper would be passed around to complete a collaborative drawing. In the game, each artist was assigned to draw a part of a body on a folded portion of the paper, but the artist couldn't see the other parts already drawn. In the end, the paper was unfolded to reveal the collaborative effort. Shannon Hale is involved in a similar effort with other YA writers in a project that hopes to raise awareness of children's literature and encourage kids to write their own stories. In this video, Hale describes her chapter and character in this year-long progressive story project.

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        The Writing Life

        Shannon Hale sets daily goals and works around her children’s schedules to push through and finish her manuscripts. In this video, Hale describes her weekly writing schedule and how she works from loose outlines to first drafts to finalizing the commas.

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        The First of Many Drafts

        Shannon Hale describes how language is the most satisfying part of writing - when something comes out just right. Hale shares how her first draft is just a skeleton of the action in a story and how characters come later as they react to the events.

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        The Editorial Eye

        Shannon Hale considers her editor the caretaker of her stories -- she provides feedback on characters and storylines and helps get the book into the world. In this video, Hale describes the editorial process and an editor's role in writing a book. Hale explains that an editor will tell a writing that something is not right about the book and let the writer rewrite and fine tune the language.

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        Reading from "Princess Academy"

        Shannon Hale reads from Princess Academy, her Newbery Honor book about overcoming hardship. In this early excerpt, 14 year old Miri awakens and tries to go to work at the quarry with her father, but her father says she is not to come with him.

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