Writing Process Blog Tour!
Ahhhh, summer! Watermelon, the ice cream truck and long, sumptious days of reading – by the pool, under a tree or even in your air-conditioned office:) To add a little variety to your summer stack, perhaps you’d like to take a blog tour and hear from authors about their writing processes? Each author answers the same 4 questions (as I will, shortly), yet everyone’s answers are completely different. I hope you find their comments as interesting and instructive as I have!
My “tagger”is Courtney McKinney-Whitaker , whom I met at a SCBWI- IL novel revision workshop and who has obviously been working harder than I have, as her debut, The Last Sister is due out in October of 2014 (while I am still revising;)! Go Courtney!
Now, let the questions begin!
What are you currently working on?
Without being too cagey, I will say: a YA historical fiction novel set in the late 1800s that has a notorious historical figure as a secondary character. (I agree with the band of writers who claim that talking too much about their work-in-progress dilutes their excitement for the project!)
How does your work differ from others in its genre?
My last historical fiction book, BEST FRIENDS FOREVER: A WORLD WAR II SCRAPBOOK, was unique in it’s scrapbook format, with letters, news articles, birthday invites, dog prints, etc, all appearing to be taped in. It’s a very accessible book for reluctant readers and has won over readers who claim they don’t like historical fiction! I enjoy mixing little-known historical tidbits into my fiction – as much for my own entertainment as for my reader’s – and I use the occasional letter or newspaper article to keep things interesting. My WIP has these same elements, though it is primarily a novel (as opposed to a scrapbook).
Why do you write what you write?
This is the $200,000 question, especially since, as a child and teen, I HATED history! I think it was the way it was presented, however, ‘back in the day.’ Memorizing dates, presidents, wars, parts of the constitution, amendmezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…Whoops! So, you get the point. Pretty boring. Then I had children and my daughter was a big American Girl fan and in reading those books to her, I realized history could be really interesting! I get very excited when I learn about some quirky event in the past and find I want to share it with as many people as possible. What better way than to write a book?
The second answer to this question is that I am driven to write. I get crabby when I don’t. Ask my husband. As frustrating as it is, it also fulfills a certain need in my soul.
How does your individual writing process work?
Hahahahahahahaha! My writing WHAT? That’s hysterical. Seriously, though, as organized and intentional as I TRY to be, after three books and hundreds of articles, I still feel like I’m bumping around in the dark, feeling my way. I think the popular image of driving on a foggy night, seeing only what’s in your headlights, accurately describes my process. I do a lot of reading and note-taking about the historical person/event that sparked my interest. I outline. I make a scene lists. I write character descriptions and diary entries in my characters’ voices. I write many chapters, many times ignoring previously mentioned outlines and scene lists. I get stuck. I decide I should write it in first person instead of third, or in past tense instead of present. I start over. Many times I decide to go back to my original format. Then I change back. I re-read my notes and lists and diary entries and write new ones. If we’re using the driving-at-night analogy, I go down many dead-ends and back alleys, and I take more than my share of one-way streets the wrong way. However, I also have days of cruising on the highway at admirable speeds. Eventually, EVENTUALLY (she says, hoping this is true of the current WIP) I get to a place where I think I have something possibly publishable.
So, that’s it. My magic formula. *smirk*
Kelly’s ROCK ‘N’ ROLL PRINCESSES WEAR BLACK and ROCKABET: CLASSIC EDITION combine her love of reading with her love of music. She is also the author of two Meegenius books: BIG SISTER, BABY BROTHER and HOLD THE MUSTARD!
Patricia’s latest book, Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker just won a Boston Globe Horn Book Nonfiction 2014 Honor and a Parent’s Choice Gold Award for Poetry 2014. How’s that for awesome?
Enjoy your tour and write on!