Thanks to my super-talented, always-gracious friend Tracy Bilen for tagging me in this writing process blog hop!
Tracy is the author of YA novel, What She Left Behind (Simon Pulse, May 2012) and the soon to be released YA Thriller, Watch Your Back, (Tulip/Spencer Hill Press). You can read more about Tracy at her blog, and get in on the process as Tracy chooses the cover for her new book. So exciting! And keep reading after this little Q&A to find out about two more great authors at different stages of their writing journey!
So without further delay, it’s my turn to get hoppin’ and talk about my writing process. So here goes!
What Are You Currently Working On?
Well my answer kind of depends on the day of the week. Since I’m a fulltime freelance writer,I’m usually working on many projects with different deadlines simultaneously. My typical work week can include everything from drug rehab copy and how to buy a watch for Dad, to Halloween costume descriptions and women’s infertility issues.
But if you want to know what books I’m working on (and that’s the fun part) I’m currently revising a picture book called Scratch and Sniff that I’m pretty excited about. Scratch and Sniff won third place in this year’s Michigan SCBWI Picture Book Mentorship contest. It’s all about a dog named Sniff and a chicken named Scratch who live in Mrs. Myna’s urban garden. When Scratch’s chicks go missing, it’s a city block full of barking and cheeping chaos as Sniff’s super-tracker nose leads him and Scratch to the chicks. But not before Angus the Alley cat causes some ferociously feline drama! And I’m getting ready to announce some exciting news about another picture book, When You Need to Find a Narwhal, so stay tuned.
My picture book Snow Angels is available for download from MeeGenius Publishing. I also write middle-grade fiction, chapter books and poetry for kids. In my spare time (really?) I’m looking for the right agent to represent my work as a children’s author.
How Does My Work Differ From Others of its Genre?
I guess if I had to point out one thing that sets my work apart is that I like my books to sing! I love poetry and I’m a musician and artist, so I want each word to sound like music or remind a reader of brush strokes in a beautiful painting. I like the artistry and literary value to come out, even if it’s just something subtle.
Why Do I Write What I Write?
One of my favorite high school writing teachers always left a thought for the day on the chalkboard. One that has stayed with me is, “What you write, as well as why you write, reveals who you are.” So I write as a reflection of who I am. I want my books to bring children who live in a very chaotic world to places of peace, hope, fun and home.
How Does My Individual Writing Process Work?
Well that’s kind of funny really. I guess my writing process starts like most other writers; with a God-spark from everyday life. I call it a God-spark, because it’s that moment when a new story is born, even though it’s more like a shadow or a whisper than a real idea. I break all the writing rules, because I don’t always write that idea down. I wait and listen. If it keeps speaking to me, even while I’m working on other projects, then I type the title/idea into an idea folder. Yes, my titles often come first, which I guess is another strange thing about my process! After it sits in the idea folder for a while, I come back to it and write a rough draft. At that point it gets its own folder in my “children’s stories” file or my “novel” file.
From that point, I dive completely into writing and writing and writing until I have 10 or 15 drafts. This can take days or weeks. Then I send it to my writing partner. I don’t think I have less than 15 drafts for each of my picture books. And for some stories it’s much more. And yes, I save every last one of them, even if I only change one or two words. It’s nice to go back and see how far the story has come.
My process for novels is similar, but it takes me six months to a year to write a novel. I have one completed middle grade called Before I Sleep, that I’m submitting now, one rough draft of a second middle grade and one middle grade that is still in the gathering-ideas stage.
So that just about sums me up! As you can tell, I love words and feel so blessed to be able to write both as a job and as a passion. Now enough about me! Let me introduce you to picture book author Jennifer Rumberger and YA novelist Janice Broyles! Jennifer’s first picture book, Ducklings on the Move is available now from MeeGenius, and Janice Broyles is currently looking for the perfect agent or publisher for her amazing YA novels! Take it away Jennifer and Janice…