The “My Writing Process” Blog Tour has made its way to many talented writers across the nation. I am honored to have been asked to join such a fabulous group of authors! My writing process is multi-faceted to say the least. I hope this post will resonate with a part of you, inspiring you to try something different and maybe start writing a new story or two!
THANKS TO JENNIFER!
But first, a Texas-sized thank you goes out to Jennifer Larson for asking me to join the #mywritingprocess blog tour! Jennifer writes fabulous children’s books I know you will love! Her upcoming release is called “Lost Soles.” Please visit her website at www.authorjenniferlarson.com and read her “My Writing Process” post at http:/authorjenniferlarson.blogspot.com/2014/my-writing-process-blog-tour.html. You will love her insight!
So – onto my writing process. Here we go!
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON?
Currently I have two projects in the works, both to be self-published. First is a picture book series called Miss Muffet & Bitsy. I teamed up with my friend, the very talented illustrator Cindy Rodella Purdy, to create a fun, whimsical world for the series. The introductory book, Miss Muffet & Bitsy, is a new picture book in which Little Miss Muffet and the Itsy Bitsy Spider meet. Miss Muffet is terrified of spiders. It is Miss Muffet’s birthday, and her mother has invited all her friends and her new neighbor to her party. But what will happen when a spider knocks on the door? Will this be the worst birthday party ever? The book will be available in paperback on Amazon and as an eBook on both Kindle and iBooks. Please check back with me in the next few days for exciting release information!
Additionally, my first young adult novel, Moon Tears, is very close to publication. I am writing it under the name M. M. Frische. It is historical fiction, set in northern California during World War II. It was inspired by actual events in the life of my cousin growing up during the war. Because of a mistake in the census, all the men over 18 are drafted and all the women have to go to work in the shipyards on the coast. Asthma-ridden fourteen-year-old-Lou is left behind to run her remote town and has to overcome numerous obstacles she never imagined in order to keep the town alive. The cover art has been finalized this week, and the manuscript is ready to go. I am awaiting some reviews so that I can add a blurb or two to the back cover prior to publication. Moon Tears will be available on Amazon as a paperback and on Kindle and iBooks as an eBook. And I am excited to share that my second Y/A novel is in the works as of last week. It is set in Siberia and is based on research I did while traveling on the Trans-Siberian Railway. Please subscribe to my blog to keep up with the various release dates!
HOW DOES YOUR WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS OF ITS GENRE?
Again, this will be a two-parter. For my picture books, there are challenges that the characters face, but overall, the books are upbeat, fun and humorous. In the first of many adventures in which friends start out with perfectly planned days and find out things don’t always go perfectly as planned, Miss Muffet and Bitsy not only turn lemons into lemonade, but they turn them into rosemary-infused strawberry watermelon lemonade – a bit unexpected, yet delicious and fun!
As for my Y/A novels, they are coming-of-age stories heavily based on real-life experiences. Moon Tears is unique in that about 60% of the events in the book actually happened to my cousin. The book also incorporates many aspects of World War II that I had no idea occurred until I interviewed my cousin. I learned so much about the War that I never knew before, and I hope that the novel enlightens young adults as well as older generations about parts of the war that are not readily known.
WHY DO YOU WRITE WHAT YOU DO?
When I was spending my days as a professional landscape and wildlife photographer, I realized that my most rewarding days were when I had a show at a gallery or retail store and kids would walk up to my more humorous images and get these huge smiles on their faces. They would laugh and show their parents the photos. I loved being able to impact a child’s life thru art. I have always enjoyed finding the joy and subtle humor in nature through the lens of a camera, and I now enjoy creating this type of feeling through writing light-hearted, fun picture books for that same age.
Regarding the Y/A stories I choose, I find that in our culture today, there are no “rites of passage” for young people. I find that I am drawn to stories in which the characters learn about themselves through challenges that make them grow as individuals. I write strong, self-confident main characters who overcome the odds in order to survive. When I interview people who have gone through what seemed like insurmountable odds, there is an innate sense of self-confidence and intestinal fortitude that they acquired through facing difficult challenges during their youth. These experiences inspire me to write the Y/A stories that I do.
HOW DOES YOUR WRITING PROCESS WORK?
Once again, it this requires a two-part answer. When writing picture books, I have the Scholastic Rhyming Dictionary with me at all times. It is full of wonderful words for kids, not only for rhyming, but for adding colorful words to the manuscript. I typically will write three or four versions of a story before deciding on a path. After deciding which path I like the best, I do between 30 and 40 different revisions. I am adamant about making every single word count and have a reason for being included in the book, so I am very picky about the words I choose to tell the story.
My writing process for Y/A novels is a very different process. I begin by interviewing people or referring to journals I kept on my journeys. Then I outline the story on 3×5 index cards, detailing in brief phrases, each scene and plot point. After I am comfortable with the outline, I type it into the PC and begin writing. I know it’s going well when the story begins to write itself. After the first draft is complete, I revise and revise and revise. I utilize etymonline.com so that when I am choosing words, it doesn’t sound like I’m quoting a Thesaurus. When you look at the etymology of words, it provides a much deeper understanding of the meaning of words. Next, I take the manuscript to my critique group and have them pick it apart. Then when I have revised and revised yet again, I take it to my copyeditor to have it reviewed. After he is finished, I incorporate the changes I feel comfortable with and revise and revise again. Then I take it back to my awesome critique group and have them review it once more. When I think it is complete, I read the entire manuscript out loud. I have found this is one of the most important parts of the revision process for me. I find inconsistencies and errors that are not caught in any other type of review. After I am confident that the work is the best it can be, and that every single word has a reason to be in the novel, then it is ready.
Finally, location is a big part of my writing. Given all the trial and error I’ve experienced in writing, I find that when I am at home, I have to be completely by myself in order to write. Also, being out of town, without all the distractions of daily life, proves fruitful for my writing process. There are a few places I travel to with my husband for his work, and there are bakeries and cafes in those spots where I can write all day long.
NEXT STOP ON THE TOUR!
I hope you enjoyed reading about my writing process and hopefully gleaned a few ideas along the way! Next week, Anastasia Kierst will be the featured writer. ANASTASIA KIERST was born in Wyoming and spent most of her childhood and college years in the Rocky Mountains. She is an explorer at heart and soaks up inspiration while traveling with her husband, Jeff Martin. In addition to writing and illustrating, she has worked as a graphic designer and a children’s art teacher. Anastasia has a B.A. in Art from Colorado Mesa University. Currently, she divides her time between Dallas, Texas, and Rollinsville, Colorado. Her titles include Imagination Vacation Colorado, Imagination Vacation Yellowstone and P is for Pangolin as both author and illustrator and Hummingbird Heaven for illustrations only. Anastasia has plans to add more books to the Imagination Vacation series. I know you will want to read her insights and pick up a book or two! Please visit her website at http://eternalsummerspress.com/. She will post her #mywritingprocess blog on Monday, June 2nd.
Thanks for joining me on the My Writing Process Blog Tour! And please subscribe to my blog to follow me on the self-publishing journey and to be the first to know when future books will be released!