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Author Sean Fay Wolfe Visits Bellingham Middle School

Mar 31, 2016 06:14PM ● By Amy Bartelloni

Wolfe signs books for middle-school students

story & photo by Amy Bartelloni, Contributing Writer

The students of BMMS welcomed author Sean Fay Wolfe on February 22 to speak about his three-book series, The Elementia Chronicles, as well as other topics on publishing and writing. A freshman at the University of Rhode Island, Wolfe was fourteen when he first started writing the series in 2012.

He has been making presentations for two years and was able to engage and involve the audience of fourth-seventh-graders by walking through the aisles and taking questions. His series takes place within the world of the game Minecraft, a hobby that a lot of the students could relate to. But you don’t have to be interested in Minecraft to write, Wolfe (pictured right) said. Just find a hobby you love and go from there.

“One of the best places to go for ideas is to look at your own interests and hobbies,” Wolfe explained.  “Hobbies are an excellent way to draw inspiration when you’re writing a book.”
His book series developed from his love of Minecraft, a video game in which players can build their own worlds out of textured cubes. The game has the option of being played online with other people across the world, and the idea for Wolfe’s books grew out of a question he had about resources in that world. What if resources were limited, Wolfe wondered. How would that change the landscape of the game? Eventually this seed of an idea grew into a full-fledged novel in which his three main characters go on an epic quest across that world in order to gain resources and learn how to play and fight back against older players.

The novel almost didn’t happen though.  Wolfe explained how he had started the story but had gotten sidetracked by other obligations. He put the book down for six months and forgot about it. When he was cleaning out files, he found the story again, and when he showed it to his mom and brother they encouraged him to keep going. After many submissions and disappointments, he eventually self-published the first book.  It did so well that it was picked up by HarperCollins, who helped publish books two and three, gave the series new covers, and translated them into ten different languages.

Wolfe dissected the three parts of a story for the students: conflict, setting, and characters, and ended by telling the students that they were capable of writing and publishing too.
“If there’s one thing I want you to remember from this,” Wolfe said, “it’s that if you have an idea for a story, and you’re willing to put in the work and effort, you can do this too.” He took a lot of questions from the audience members and ended the program with a signing.  Every student there came out with a bookmark and, hopefully, a little inspiration.
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