About Julie Patterson

Julie Patterson

Trained in narrative nonfiction, Julie writes stories that explore and reveal why people do what they do. Grief and its impact on identity are recurrent themes in Julie’s work, shaped by the sudden death of her older brother as a young adult, and the equally unexpected death of her mother when Julie was a new mom herself. Her writing has appeared in Black Fork Review, Cleaning Up Glitter, Gravel, The Same, The Juggler, Marketing Computers, and on the “This I Believe” segment on WFYI-FM, the National Public Radio affiliate in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Julie’s Reflections on Writing about Grief

Crafting Grief: Narrative Point of View

First in a series of posts looking closely at the craft of writing about grief Last month I facilitated a writing workshop about narrative point of view (NPOV), and afterwards it occurred to me that I have looked closely at the craft of many texts specifically about grief. I’ll even be…

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Reading [grief] like a Writer: THE POND

The Pond by Nicola Davies is—in hindsight—the book I wish I’d found immediately after my brother died suddenly in February 2001. But even if it had existed then, I probably wouldn’t have found it, because it’s a children’s picture book, and I was an adult without children at the time.

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Julie has an MFA in creative writing from Lesley University and a BA in cognitive psychology from the University of Notre Dame. She previously served as co-editor of creative nonfiction for Mud Season Review, an international literary journal based in Burlington, Vermont. Read Julie’s interviews with contributing authors >

Julie is an experienced marketing and development professional and remains active in those fields as a freelance content writer and consultant.

Recent clients include the North American Nature Photography Association, Jump IN for Healthy Kids, Indiana Association of Public Education Foundations, and Partnership for Inquiry Learning. Projects include website content, email marketing campaigns, printed collateral and publications, inbound marketing offers, social media marketing, and more. View sample projects >

Julie also has extensive teaching experience—which helps her think strategically about content writing today. She taught ENG W131: Reading, Writing, and Inquiry, and ENG W231: Professional Writing Skills as senior associate faculty in English at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis for eight years and served as writer-in-residence for the Partnership for Inquiry Learning at Butler University for 13 years, supporting professional development for English/Language Arts teachers in grades preK-8.

As a contract teaching artist for Arts for Learning Indiana and the Indiana Repertory Theatre, Julie also led a variety of workshops and multi-visit residencies in K-12 schools, libraries, summer camps, and juvenile detention centers. She began teaching writing as an Americorps volunteer working in after-school academic enrichment programs in South Boston, Massachusetts, in the late 1990s.

Revisit some of Julie’s reflections on teaching writing

Hold Readers at a Climax

When I first read stories with students and ask them to identify the climax, they tend to point to a small amount of text, often two sentences or less. This is one of a handful of common phenomena that still baffles me — where did so many of us get the idea that climaxes are small?

More accurately, the climax is often the most important part of the story, and, consequently, it gets the most space.

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How to Read a Poem

Readers and writers have strong – and disparate – opinions about the “right” way to read a poem. Worse yet, there’s wide disagreement among accomplished and highly educated poets, too. There’s really only one point we all agree on—poems are meant to be read aloud. Beyond that, it gets dicey, but here are some things to consider.

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4 Craft Strategies to Notice in THE LEAVING MORNING (and Why)

The best touchstone texts are sophisticated enough to work across multiple grade and comprehension levels. One of the first—and still one of the most frequent—touchstone texts that I used was THE LEAVING MORNING by Angela Johnson. Here are just a few of the brilliant craft strategies my students and I have discovered in it:

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Feedback is important (and I mess up sometimes)

In the first post in this series, I was thinking about the feedback I give student writers. That leads me to another big observation: sometimes I mess up, perhaps even bad enough to set a kid back a little. Learn more about two conversations with students that I’d like to redo.

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