The Diminished and the Exalted
Kaitlyn Sage Patterson, author of two young adult fantasy books, recently visited with students in McKenzie Gribble’s Creative Writing class at Hillcrest High. Her books, The Diminished and The Exalted, tell the story of Vi and Bo, both
born into a post-cataclysmic, earth-like world.
“The Diminished is about a world where everyone is a twin,” explained Patterson. “The second book, The Exalted, is the sequel. It follows the two main characters as they try to solve the problems that came up in the first book.”
Gribble invited Mrs. Patterson to talk to her creative writing classes so they could gain real-world knowledge about what it takes to become a published author. “I'm inviting more experts and community members to my classroom this year. It’s important that students see the connection between what they learn in school and how these skills can lead to a career later in life.”
Patterson’s journey to becoming a published author began when she was a child who always had her nose in a book. She dreamed of writing poetry but after earning a Master’s of Fine Arts degree, she decided to start writing a young adult fantasy novel.
“I’m a reader first. That’s important for anyone who wants to be a writer,” she told the students. It doesn’t matter what kind of schooling you get, or what kind of degrees, the more you read the better you will be able to write. If you want to be a writer, you must read, read, read.”
Patterson told students she spends a great deal of time before writing a book doing what she calls World Building. “I start with a box of mac and cheese. I throw the noodles on a piece of paper and outline them, building continents and islands,” she said. “You have to know where the landforms are. You need to add mountain ranges and rivers, and then you name it so you know where your work is starting.”
She said every detail in a book must be researched and planned before she begins writing. She asks herself questions such as whether the laws of physics will be the same in her fantasy story as they are in real life. “If you have dragons, you have to explain how they fly. You have to explain it to yourself before you can explain it to your reader,” she said.
Hillcrest High freshman Mia Carter was impressed with Patterson and her message. “I really like her comment about not giving up,” said Mia. “I come to class and read my story and people like it. But when people have comments, I’m not the best at taking criticism. Their comments help me understand why it’s really important to edit your work.”