Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Writing Process Blog Hop

One of the best things about the writing process is the writerly friends I have made along the way, so I am especially pleased to be tagged by Rebecca Newman, writer for children and editor of the wonderful Alphabet Soup blog where you can find book reviews and stories by young readers and writers.

On my one and only visit to Perth (I’m always secretly hoping someone will invite me to another festival there) we caught up for dinner, as Facebook friends always do when their paths eventually cross, and talked kid lit until very, very late.

Rebecca writes picture books and children's poetry. Her poem, Odd Socks, was recently published in The School MagazineCheck out her Writing Process Blog Hop post.
Rebecca Newman

So to the business of the day…

What am I working on?

My WIP is a magical realism young adult novel. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever written and I’ve been  working on it for four years. I wrote it in bits and pieces around the final three books in the Samurai Kids series and the severe illness of my youngest son and my own cancer treatment. It has not been an easy writing process.

And it has a protagonist with cancer. The playing field was different when I began to write it. Four years ago there were very few cancer novels and a year ago cancer certainly wasn’t on my personal horizon. This manuscript has truly tested me. I questioned whether there is still a place for it, given the recent spate of YA characters with cancer and I answered I think so. Magical realism makes it different. When I was diagnosed and things were grim there for a while, I questioned whether I could even write about cancer and again I answered I think so. I found that it helped me through some tough spots.
A main character: Source:unknown
How does my work differ from others in my genre? 

I am not sure my work has a genre. I write anything and everything – if words are involved, I want to be part of it. The majority of my work to date is middle grade historical fiction. Next year my first picture book will be released and my almost complete WIP is Young Adult. My next project is middle grade fantasy. I think I link ideas together differently, like writing historical fiction set in samurai Japan where the characters each have a disability.

Why do I write what I write?

Oh good, an easy question. I write what the characters tell me to write. If I don’t listen, and I tried it once, they plague me and prod me until I can’t sleep at night and am forced to get up at 2 am to write down their story.

How does my writing process work?

I believe writing is a habit and I write at least 500 words every day. Often they are rubbish and die a horrible death the next morning but usually the manuscript progresses. I write and edit as I go. I am always going back to start at the beginning again. I feel that keeps me in the zone as I move forward and incrementally improves what I’ve already written. I often write the last chapter after the first chapter because I am not a plotter, so I need to know the direction I am going in. It doesn’t usually change a great deal when I get there. I have to work very hard at the 67% mark because by then I know what happens all the way through to the end and I am eager to start something new and different.

I knew I was a writer when I finished my first manuscript. Before that I was forever starting grand projects and never finishing. I am also a believer in a shower as the magical solution to plot problems and the source of story ideas. Recently, I discovered Scrivener, so my writing process has become more organised. The only thing more fun than reading and writing is reading and writing technology.
Here are my tags. I have accidentally cheated a little – for someone who claims to love maths and find mathematical patterns in her writing, I've failed basic adding up. I have four tagees instead of three.
Jeffery Doherty
I met Jeffery Doherty at the Kids and YA festival at the NSW Writer’s Centre. Jeff is a talented writer and illustrator. When I created some interactive teacher resources to support my novel Polar Boy,  Jeff took one look at my artistic efforts and insisted on painted the pictures for my igloo building quiz. You can see his work here. I was privileged to be an early reader of Jeff’s 2014 debut novel “Paper Magic”, the empowering story of Marina, a girl in a wheelchair who finds strength and friends through magic origami paper. You can find Jeff and his blog here.
Michelle Morgan
Michelle Morgan is a former librarian, author and playwright who lives in my local area, although we only met recently at the Illawarra CBCA dinner. Michele’s first book, Racing the Moon, set in Sydney during the Depression, was published in 2014. It's on my desk to read. I've got some catching up as she recently completed the sequel. You can find Michelle’s blog here.
Peter Macinnis
I first met Peter Macinnis, although he didn’t meet me, when I reviewed one of his award-winning non-fiction books, The Backyard Naturalist. Peter writes science and history and often the two overlap. I have since acquired a personal collection of Peter’s books because he has a knack for making science accessible for young readers and me (who never paid any attention to science at school). I follow him around on Facebook because I find his posts interesting and often funny. There’s an inspiring amount of writerly detail on his website, so I recommend a visit there and to his blog.
Helen Armstrong

Helen Armstrong is another writer who lives not too far from me. I met Helen when were both presenters at the Sutherland Shire Writers Unleashed Festival. Helen is a lady of many talented hats (and a lot of energy!) – president of the Sutherland Fellowship of Australian Writers, scientist, writer of short stories ‘and the occasional outbreak of poetry’, and a lover of mythology, fantasy and satire. Helen will post on her blog hop on her Facebook page.

1 comment:

Rebecca Newman said...

Loved reading your answers, Sandy - and I didn't realise you had a picture book coming out soon. Woohoo!

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