Best selling author Neal Shusterman reveals his writing process to students


Monica Hernandez

Author Neal Shusterman gives a presentation on writing during a workshop third period today. Students in the 11th grade English class wrote a short story with Shusterman.

Saba Mahmoudi and Joseph Mousaed

Best-selling novelist Neal Shusterman held a presentation for students during period 2 in the MPR and a writing workshop during period 3 on Nov.14.

The MPR stage was filled with posters from his previous books. As the morning went on, students came in, excited to meet the man behind those books.

Unlike his last visit two years ago, when Shusterman made his visit more of a presentation, this time he turned it to a conversation by answering questions from audience. He answered questions revolving around his most known series “Unwind” and his writing strategies.

“The truth is, I can’t write it if I can’t see it,” Shusterman said about his story writing process. “The story needs to have a connection to reality.”

Shusterman shared his writing process. His first step is shaping it in his mind and when he writes his thoughts down, the characters come to life. He writes six drafts of a new story by himself before considering it acceptable as a first draft to his editors. Shusterman believes “writer’s block” does not exist and that the struggle is all part of the process.

Besides writing books, he also writes scripts and explains how it is a completely different experience. He wrote scripts for movies such as “Class Act”. Scripts are visual whereas books come from the inside and are inspired by words.

He spent the last 10 minutes of his discussion signing books and answering some individual questions.

Shusterman talked more in detail about the writing process in the writing workshop that he prepared for Ron Baer’s third period English class. He taught students the importance of titles and writing all the thoughts down in a story. He surprised them by showing how simply a title can create a variety of scenarios.

“If you want to become an author, you need to write, rewrite, read and have perseverance,” Shusterman taught.“ I am going to tell the story that is worth telling, writing a good story is a first step of writing a good book.”

Students were satisfied and enjoyed his visit.

“I enjoyed it because it was great to know his writing process and where the idea behind ‘Unwind’ comes from,” freshmen Rachel Bullock said.