Letter Writing

Sarah Imholt Arahsae at netscape.net
Wed Feb 2 10:46:03 EST 2000

"Kevin Jones" <jonesk at primus.com.au> wrote:

I found if you suggest and explain you responses to their writing, you get a
better response. Much more interesting letters than "What's your favourite
colour?" or "Why do you write?"

Several years ago, Robin McKinley wrote an essay for a textbook or something
about how much she hated replying to "school assignment letters," where
students list a bunch of questions and want the author to write back as soon
as possible so the student gets a good grade.  The kid isn't writing out of
interest to the author (necessarily--I'm sure some do), but just to fulfill
the assignment.  As a teacher, that made me decide NEVER to require my
students to write to authors--although I have helped them look up addresses
and write on their own.  These letters tend to be much more interesting, as
opposed to the alternative, where the author is just answering whatever
questions the teacher assigned.

BTW, I wrote to McKinley also--not as a school assignment--and got a 4(!) page
letter back.  It is the best author reply I have ever received!


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