Vivian Palmer, 17, and her father, Adrian Palmer, Salt Lake City, could write a how-to book on how to write a how-to book. They've done it.
Their work, "How to Be a Happy Student," is being circulated among publishers and being "field tested" by friends, educators and others in the potential market the Palmers think could benefit from it.The book deals with the broad range of interpersonal relationships that are involved in schools.
"It was my father's idea," Vivian said. The elder Palmer is a professor at the University of Utah, while she is a junior at Highland High School. "He said, `How would you like to write a book?' " She would, and they did. He had experience with earlier publications through his university involvement.
"It took us three months. We set a minimal time we would spend each day. He committed an hour and I committed a half hour, but many times, we'd get on a roll and keep going."
"He set up a chapter format and a rough outline and I filled in the blanks," Vivian said.
The writing took from Sept. 15 to Dec. 23, she said.
The book dwells heavily on communications skills, she said. It tells students how to talk effectively with teachers, how to resolve conflicts, how to approach someone in whom you are interested, how to break off a relationship, deal with gossip and other annoyances.
It has a "workbook" format so the reader can practice the skills being advanced.
"It has lots of role-playing exercises. And we've done our best to make it funny and interesting. I used tons of stories from my own experiences. One chapter deals with how kids can handle conflict with parents. It centers on actual conflict between me and my father."
Fortunately for those who may ultimately read the Palmer how-to, that conflict didn't stand in the way of an ambitious father/daughter project.