Jon Gibbs (firstname.lastname@example.org) was 'Author in Residence' at Georgian Court University, in Lakewood, New Jersey, from 2012 - 2017.
In addition to his Fun with Fiction School program, Jon has given many solo presentations and workshops at writing conferences and libraries, as well as the occasional after-dinner speech.
He has also appeared with fellow members of The New Jersey Authors' Network (NJAN) at panel/Q&As in libraries around the Garden State.
Jon's 60 minute presentation, GETTING PUBLISHED: 10 Things Every Writer Should Know was broadcast on local cable TV.
An informative (and hopefully entertaining) Powerpoint presentation for larger groups. This talk is geared towards school assemblies. Students learn a little about what goes into writing a novel, and get to see the publishing process from the writer's side of the book.
Classroom talks for Grades 3 and up (Duration 40 mins each)
The Fun with Fiction program is an interactive series of classroom workshops, designed by New Jersey author, Jon Gibbs, to help students achieve some of the writing requirements set out in the Core Educational Standards for schools. Citing examples from well-known books, TV shows and movies, Jon walks students through the many stages of writing a story or essay.
The secondary goal of each module is to get students more interested in reading, and to encourage them to make up stories of their own.
"I ARE A WRITER!" School assembly talk (Duration 45 mins)
In this informative, entertaining, Powerpoint presentation for larger groups, Jon talks about some of the differences between UK English and American English. Students learn a little about what goes into writing a novel, and get to see the publishing process from the writer's side of the book.
Module 1 - Creating Colorful Characters
Why do some characters come alive on the page while others get forgotten?
Using examples from well-known books and movies, Jon runs through some of things which make story characters stand out from the crowd. Afterwards, students work with Jon to create one of their own.
Module 2 - Brilliant Beginnings
What makes a great story opening?
Whether it’s a story, an essay, or a simple email, a great opening line gets the reader on your side from the outset. Students choose their favorites from a selection of different openings to the same stories. They discuss what influenced their decisions, then work with Jon to make the opening lines from some of their own stories even better.
Module 3 - Perfect Plotting
When is a story not a story?
After looking at some of the essential ingredients found in every story, Jon works with students to recognize them in some well-known books and movies, then use those ingredients in their own work.
Module 4 - Terrific Titles
Does the title matter?
Whether it’s a story, an essay, or a simple email, a good title can catch the reader's attention in a positive way. Students review some story/book titles to see whether the title alone would make them want to read more, then work together to come up with some potential titles of their own.
Module 5 - Dynamic Dialogue
What should I make my characters say?
After a look at why 'realistic' dialogue isn't truly realistic at all, Jon works with students to create some fast-paced dialogue for their own fictional characters.
Module 6 - Excellent Endings
How do you know the story's over?
Whether it’s a story, an essay, or a simple email, everything we write needs a good ending. If we don’t supply one, we risk leaving our readers disappointed, confused and/or frustrated.
Using examples from books, movies and TV, Jon shows students how to recognize different endings and how they can use the same techniques in their own work.
Modules 7 to 12 (for Grade 5 and up)
Module 7 - Fantastic First Drafts
What's the difference between a first draft and a finished story?
After walking students through some of the more common approaches to writing a story, Jon works with the class to map out some rough ideas for their own work.
Module 8 - Perilous Predicaments
What's a page turner and how do you write one?
Jon discusses the basic elements which make for a compelling story, then works with the class to identify those elements in well-known books and movies.
Module 9 - Tremendous Transformations
How should characters change as a result of the story?
After explaining how a character's transformation makes a huge impact on the reader, Jon works with students to examine how the heroes and heroines in some of their own stories might change.
Module 10 - Contentious Conflict
What is story conflict and why is it so important?
Using examples from well-known books and movies, Jon explains how conflict in a story is much more than characters arguing, then works with students to come up with some potential conflicts to use in their own stories.
Module 11 - Splendid Sidekicks
How do you use secondary characters?
Using examples from well-known books and movies, Jon explains the value of secondary characters in a story, then works with students to recognize how those characters are used in their own favorite books and movies.
Module 12 - Riveting Revisions
What do you do after typing 'THE END'?
Jon explains why, for writers, typing 'THE END' is really just the beginning, then works with the class to create a plan of action they can use for their own stories and essays.
FAQ'S ABOUT FUN WITH FICTION
How much do you charge for school presentations?
My prices for classroom/assembly presentations are as follows:
First session of the day $175
Second session of the day $125
Third session of the day $100
I don’t normally do more than three classes on the same day, unless your school is more than about an hour’s drive from my home in Manalapan (Monmouth County, NJ).
Why are your prices so low?
I write middle-grade fiction. It's in my interest to build a long-term relationship with schools. After all, that's where my target audience is.
What schools have you worked with?
I have worked with: Lakehurst Elementary School (Lakehurst, NJ), Orange Scholars Academy/Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Orange NJ), Bayshore Middle School (Leonardo, NJ), Millington School (Long Hill, NJ), Rosenauer Elementary School (Jackson, NJ), The Rugby School, (Neptune, NJ), Samuel S. Yellin School, (Stratford, NJ), Parkview School (Stratford, NJ), Howell High School (Howell, NJ), and Georgian Court University.
Do you do Skype/Zoom visits?