The marvelous Heather Murphy Capps of Cue My Muse invited me to join in on the #mywritingprocess blog hop this week. The idea is to connect and promote writers through a “chain letter” style blogging experience. On the way, we get to know lots of new friends and find out cool information about how others write! I am thrilled to be included!
Please, check out Heather’s blog to see her answers to these 4 writing questions – and follow her if you like what you see!
I am looking for representation on a picture book about a mother and daughter who watch the seasons change around them. When the dandelions disappear from their hill, the little girl becomes forlorn, until she sees their beauty mirrored in falling snowflakes.
I am also working on the 2nd picture book in what I hope will be a series that revolves around a elementary-school-aged girl named Julia Mudd . Julia is more nuts, bolts and mischief than sugar, spice and everything nice. She and her uncle love to invent together – but she finds ways to invent a lot of trouble for herself, too! One book about her is wedding-themed. The other is based on a catapult contest!
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I think that I bring to my writing for children a true respect for the young reader’s intelligence, perception, and imagination. I also like to bring my love of science and exploration to everything I write.
In my chapter book(s), I’m really trying to create something my daughters and I have had a hard time finding in the stores: stories that feel true, that are touching, and that acknowledge that the children reading them can understand much more about character, conflict and growth than recent favorite series like Junie B. Jones or Rainbow Fairies. I’d like to think I’m capturing some of the everyday magic and relate-ability of Ramona Quimby or Anne of Green Gables, but in a modern day style. Pasadena Blue and the books I plan to follow it also include a lot of information about environmentally friendly practices such as organic farming, recycling, and stewardship of the earth.
In my picture books, I like to portray unique, self-assured characters who use their own strengths and find their own ways to fit into the world around them. My Julia Mudd stories incorporate humor, but also math, science, engineering, world culture, and discovery. My picture book Dandelion Wishes is melancholy at times, but subtly shows hope and strength. It leaves some things up to the reader’s imagination – which I think both children and their parents love.
3) Why do I write what I do?
I can’t help it! I tried to make writing “just a hobby” for most of my life – but it keeps taking over. So much so that often when I start in writing, I forget everything around me for 4, 5, 6 hours at a time. Basically until I run out of calories and caffeine.
As I mentioned above, I believe modern kids are capable of understanding books with much more depth than we give them credit for. I write to give them experiences they can relate to, learn from, be inspired by…I write what I do to give my readers permission to grow and learn and change. To give them permission to be strong, individual, hopeful, sad, defiant, imaginative and REAL.
4) How does your writing process work?
I usually get inspired by a small idea: a sentence that rings true, a funny situation, a fact I tell my children only to realize it seems amazing to them and they want to know more. Sometimes it’s just a phrase that sounds nice when I say it – and I think “I have to use that!” I usually write that down as quickly as possible, then let it “marinate” in my mind for awhile…maybe a few hours, maybe a few weeks.
I don’t usually make an outline when I write – I just get started pouring things onto paper or the computer. I often like to write with 2 or more colors of ink or pencil so that I can use 1 color for words I’m “sure of” and another for “filler” words – words that keep the story moving along, but are likely to get revised a few times. Often as I write things start happening with my characters that I didn’t know were going to happen – and I just try to keep up with them.
I am getting much better at editing my work for errors – but I’m a bit of a grammar junkie to begin with, so I’d like to say I avoid a lot of the common errors to begin with. Editing for length is much harder for me. I am naturally very wordy on paper!
Let’s Go to the Hop!
Please check out these amazing authors who will be writing about their process next Monday.
Matthew Jakubowski is an author, literary critic, and editor based in West Philadelphia. He has served as a fiction judge for the Best Translated Book Award and edits the Interviews section for Asymptote, a journal of literary translation. He has worked as a technical writer, journalist, short order cook, communications project manager, and copy editor. His collaborative art installation, The Year-Book, was exhibited at the Philadelphia Sculpture Gym in February 2014 as part of the Impossible Books group show. His work is nothing short of inspired. Plus, he is one incredible dad.
Jacque Burke says she “lives in Northern Michigan where she works, takes care of children and spends a lot of time writing and taking pictures.” If she wastes no words in that description of herself, it’s because she needs them all for her spectacular YA fiction. She is all things creative and kind and you will like her. Check her out at The Jacqueverse.
Erika W. is a fellow NJ children’s writer and blogs about her family life as 1st generation farmers at thejerseyfarmscribe. You will not believe the cute baby lamb photos! Erika has recently had a guest post on Kathy Temean’s Writing and Illustrating blog and a story in Susan Leonard Hill’s fractured fairy tale contest. (And did I mention pictures of baby lambs?)
Check out these wonderful writers and more using the hashtag #mywritingprocess on twitter!