Wilson Writers Get Inspired from Visiting Author

The Wilson students and community received a moment of inspiration on Mar. 7 as Dr. Kim van Alkemade came to Wilson for a Writers Series event to talk about her newly published book “Orphan #8.” Van Alkemade was invited to campus by Amy Ensley, Director of the Hankey Center, in part of the Women’s History Month celebration. Ensley reached out to van Alkemade since her work is a historical fiction novel. She thought that it would “be an interesting topic for our Women’s History Month celebration.”

It takes patience and determination to write a novel and van Alkemade has that as a professional author. She spent time researching the orphanage that her novel is about and what happened during the time it was open. Her grandfather actually inspired all of her investigations. After her time investigating, she spent four years writing her novel, creating multiple drafts, editing, and adding to the manuscript taking it from a 90,000 to a 120,000 word novel. Along with being a writer, van Alkemade is a professor at Shippensburg University. She teaches a creative writing class and devotes most of her time to reading stories and developing new ideas for upcoming novels.

Dr. Michael Cornelius took his Advanced Creative Writing class to listen to this new author. The class is currently working on different styles of writing, working to show instead of tell, and hopes to send different creations to publishers. Cornelius thought it would be a good experience for his students to “spend time with someone who can share not only amazing creative expression, but someone who is also working in the industry and has a fantastic perspective to share.”

As a writer, it is a good experience to meet someone who is successful and is already published. At one point during her discussion, van Alkemade asked, “Can you write it as a scene? English is the only time that you get to write out scenes.” This is good advice for a new writer who wants to create a novel and get published, because as a story is being written, the writer is constantly creating scenes. If you believe that you can write, explain it to make the reader feel something. If you can visualize the people and dialogue as a scene, then you have the power to write.

For more information on Dr. Kim van Alkemade, visit her website.


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