Something happens when you write a story. Stepping into someone else’s life allows you to open your imagination and creativity. Imagination and creativity are two of the things young writers have a lot of. From Snapshot to Story allows students to let their imaginations flow while learning writing techniques. Who hasn’t picked up an old black and white photograph of strangers and wondered about the people in it, and what could have been taking place? Students have the opportunity to do just that using a photograph as inspiration for their story. Just like detectives, they have to pay attention to details around them while also using their own memories and life experiences.
Diane shares with students the same process of organizing writing she uses when preparing to write. Taking time to visualize scenes, students learn that sometimes, as writers, you have to stop and think about what might happen next. Students also learn the importance of editing and revision and how going back to add those all- important details make their stories stronger. Diane works closely with teachers and will emphasize any elements they would like. At the end of the five-day residency, students will share their stories and how they made their photograph come to life.
Diane has enjoyed creating short stories with hundreds of young writers. Combining her love of history and writing, she was written several creative nonfiction books including Side By Side a story about Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane, which was a finalist in the 2017 Best Books Awards. She has been a finalist twice in the Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition; in 2017, with “Called Home” a Vietnam Era story about two young Marines from Raleigh, NC, and in 2022 with “Not for the Faint of Heart,” a story about a young woman from Tarboro, NC who served with the American Red Cross during the Vietnam War. Diane has also worked as a news director, speech writer, and freelance writer. Diane strives to the take any anxiety out of writing for students using the same organizing process she uses in her own writing. For instance, she unrolls pages of edited work from one of her picture books to emphasize the importance of editing and rewriting. At the end of the five-day residency, she loves nothing more than to see the smiles on young writers faces when they share their stories.