This interview inspires two projects: write a story based on a photograph and illustrate a story with photographs. This is a great interview byRansom Riggs. He starts out talking about the pressure of writing a second book after having published a first book that was exceptionally successful. He then talks about how, in Hollow City, he writes a book that is different from his first one. He talks about his writing day. His goal is 1500 words per day. This takes him about ten hours to achieve. For those of you know know the Miss Perigrine’s Peculiar Children books you know they are illustrated with photos. He talks about a little about using photos as illustrations. Ransom Riggs talks about the books that inspired him, his desire to be a writer as a child, his growing interest in film in middle school, and his final coming back to writing as a young adult. Best advice: just write. Don’t judge yourself. Write freely!

• Writing pressure to repeat the success of his first book.

• Describes the discipline of being a writer — his writing day. Daily word count goal of 1500 words.

• Talks about the use of photos to illustrate the Miss Perigrine’s Peculiar Children books

• Strong discussion of interest in writing starting in elementary school with change in interest in middle school and a return as a young adult.

Project idea: Illustrate a story with photographs.

Found photos: Ransom Riggs illustrates his books with found photos — photos he finds, for example, at garage sales. This makes a an excellent writing project! You can either send your students out to find photos in garage sales or to bring photos from home, but then trade them around in the classroom.

Illustrate story with staged or posed photos: Another use of photographs are as illustrations to an existing story, or to a story written with the idea of illustrating with photographs in mind. This project can be as simple or involved as your students would like to make it. At its most involved, scenes can be set up with characters from the story photographed acting out one or more scenes. In a work of historic fiction, this could include dressing in costume.

Web links for Ransom Riggs

Books by Ransom Riggs

William Rubel, Editor
About the Author

In 1973, I was twenty years old, teaching children's art classes at my college, the University of California, Santa Cruz, and came up with the idea that the best way to encourage children to write was to introduce them to the best writing by their peers. Stone Soup grew out of that idea. Along with co-editor Gerry Mandel, I have continued to edit and publish Stone Soup for all these years. I am also a culinary historian. I write about traditional foodways. My book, "The Magic of Fire," is about hearth cooking. My book, "Bread, a global history," speaks for itself. I am currently writing a 130,000-word bread history for a University Press. I publish articles on gardening and traditional foodways at Mother Earth News. I also publish on wild mushrooms and other food-related subjects.

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