Thank you to Penny Morrison for inviting me to be part of the ‘Writing Processes Blog Tour.’
Penny is the author of the Hey! series and is currently having her debut picture book illustrated (to be published by Walker Books Au). How exciting is that!
Have a look at Penny’s post for the ‘Writing Processes Tour.
So here are the following questions to explain my processes:
What am I working on?
Everything at the moment, which feels a bit hectic. But I am working for 3 deadlines/closing dates which are happening in the following week:
- I have to submit manuscripts for appraisals at this years SCBWI Conference
- submit a manuscript to CYA Conference Writing Competition
- submit a manuscript to KBR Unpublished Picture Book Award Competition
Actually, the first one is the only job I have to do, but the second two are what I need to do to help me develop into a more satisfying and successful writer. Entering competitions helps you work towards deadlines. Some offer feedback sheets which are invaluable and help you to spot strengths and weaknesses in your own work.
So, what am I working on?
3 chapter books/ middle grade novels
1 rhyming picture book manuscript ( I know, rumour has it that they are not easy to sell to publishers, unless the ryhme is perfect – I intend to make it perfect 😉
2 prose picture books
How does my work differ from others of it’s genre?
I learnt a new word last year – scatalogical. I submitted a manuscript to an American Literary Agency for Julie Hedlund’s 12 X 12 Writing Challenge (write 12 picture book manuscripts in 12 months). The agent replied to me with a very nice rejection letter explaing that ‘scatalogical’ humour was not her thing.
I don’t know why but many of my manuscripts seem to contain scatalogical humour in some shape or form including: cow pats, bird poo, super-glue poo. Maybe that’s how it differs.
I also have two manuscripts which have a connection to the island I was born on – Jersey, Channel Islands.
Why do I write what I do?
I have often read blogs that say don’t write to trends, write about what you know or enjoy.
Well, I know about Jersey, living on a tiny island and Jersey cows.
But I’m not an expert on a great variety of poos – although I have stood in dog poo (which isn’t lucky) and bird poo has landed on me (but that’s ok because it’s lucky.)
I love history and therefore I have two manuscripts that are historical. Both are based around real events. One is a picture book which made my daughter cry. She thought it was a horrible story as the father wasn’t going to make it back in time for his daughter’s birthday. (She threw the manuscript on the floor!)
The other one is a middle grade novel which is so exciting to write but difficult too. It is based in 50BC and as I wasn’t around then it is quite hard to make sure I am including details that would have existed then, eg: food, transport, tradition, clothes (or lack of – Gauls had been known to fight naked!), family life, rules, etc…
How does my writing process work?
In the past I have entered Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Ideas Month). Or I have seen something in the news or in the newspaper, on Facebook or something my kids have done – and Bingo! It has given me an idea.
I then go through the following quick checklist:
- WHO is the main character?
- WHAT is the problem/ inciting event?
- WHERE is this happening?
- WHEN is it happening?
I write the first draft. Spell check it. Read it out loud into my voice memo onto my iphone (this is especially useful for my rhymimg text)
I have recently come across this devise to help you hear your work: http://www.naturalreaders.com/index.php
I also get my 8 year old daughter to read out the manuscript aloud.
Then I meet up with my brilliant critique group and they give me valuable feedback on the good and the bad. And I rewrite, rewrite and rewrite until the writing feels polished and every word is needed. This can sometimes be hard to judge.
And now to introduce next week’s blogger;
Rob Harding is a voice-over artist, TV presenter and kids author. You have probably heard Rob’s voice before – perhaps on the radio or TV for Coke or Optus or perhaps one of those ads where he shouts at you about a Massive Clearance Sale. He appears on the BBC’s pre-school channel CBeebies, where he gets to dress up as a gnome and speak in a pirate accent, although usually not at the same time.