The Balkin Buddies Blog Catherine Balkin's Facebook



Presentations to Fit your Needs


Conferences, Conventions or Reading Councils:

Inspirational, thought-provoking, or informational--whatever your needs, Darcy can speak on topics that interest you. At the National Council of Teachers of English national convention, she spoke about "The Mask of a Novelist."


Student Assembly: Finding my Way into Fantasy:

She steers student imaginations toward literature in the *Finding Your Way* Assembly. Though lost at 10,000 feet elevation in the New Mexico mountains without a map or a compass, Darcy's party somehow found their way down. The experience started Darcy's wondering about how people find their way around. Solid research told her how people traditionally find their way; imagination took the information a step farther into fantasy. Experience, research, and imagination come together to point the way toward a story worth telling. Students explore. . .


* the genre of fantasy

* how personal experiences influence a story

* the writing process


The Journey of Oliver K. Woodman Journey:

A life-size wooden Oliver is available to visit schools with Darcy, making your students part of his journey! He can be ordered from Costume Specialists; just go to


Revising Your Novel Retreat:

*This was an amazing workshop that has me actually excited about revising already revised stories,* a recent participant has said.


After nine years as the conference director for the Arkansas SCBWI, Darcy realized that the hardest thing to get help with is a novel. Most conferences are one-day events in which many different topics are covered briefly. Yet, year after year, someone would hold out a novel and ask, *What do you think of this?* Finally, there is a format in which this question can be answered! The goal of the retreat is that every author will go home with strategies for revising his or her own particular novel. The retreat is designed for maximum participation and advance preparation is required. There's an 80 page workbook that the sponsor must copy for each participant. This is an intensive weekend retreat, limited to 20 participants. 


More comments from participants:


Inventory Session: Maybe the most helpful part. From the moment I started filling the worksheet out, I knew I was in trouble.

Plotting Sessions: Coming in, I had the book knowledge about plots, subplots, climax. . . but this workshop put it all into a working perspective. Something I could grab hold of. Exercises forced me to look at things I was avoiding.

Sensory Details Session: A jewel! I wish someone had explained ďshow don't tell' in terms of sensory details language.

Characterization Session: I'm looking forward to using the checklists on all my characters.

Setting/Mood Session: Helpful because I learned to connect this to the characters' emotional journey in a scene rather than just through something on the page.

Specific Words Session: Helped me see beyond the meaning of words°a new concept.

Narrative Patterning Session: The narrative patterning, imagery and epiphany sections were especially wonderful. I've never met a writing teacher who was willing to tackle these head on.

Imagery Session: Word list approach very helpful, real graphic. Something I can wrap my hands around.

Overall: As a whole°these exercises were brilliant because they helped me see how each aspect of novel writing connects to or is attached to the other."


In-Service programs:

Because Arkansas just passed a new Language Arts Framework for schools, Darcy has also been doing many district and regional teacher in-service programs, which she can tailor to suit your needs. Titles or some of recent workshops include:

Nine Weeks to a Proficient Essay
Language Arts Goals
Teaching Writing to Elementary School Students
Teaching Writing to Middle School Students
Teaching Writing to High School Students



The honorarium should be presented to Ms. Pattison on the last day, following the last session.  Her fee structure is as follows:

$800 a day, plus expenses - for author appearances in Arkansas ( up to 4 talks)

$1,000 a day, plus expenses - for author appearances in other states

For further information, especially about the expenses (travel, hotel, and meals), click the "Arrange An Appearance" button and see "General Information on the Cost of an Author Appearance" as well as the 'Honorariums' section near the bottom of "How to Plan an Author Appearance."