July has slipped by in a steamy, sticky haze this year. Despite sun and love, our garden has produced a pathetic harvest: one zucchini, 4 ripe tomatoes, and a pint of green beans. Nonetheless weeding, watering and tending have provided countless hours to mull over picture book ideas and poems.
You may have seen WTABH – the Writers Tell All Blog Hop – on the interwebs this summer. The lovely Romelle Broas Guittap was kind enough to tag me for my thoughts on writing. I highly recommend the author interview series on Romelle’s blog where she has featured the wisdom of accomplished authors like Laura Murray, Sherry Duskey Rinker and Nancy Viau among many others.
Here are my three WTABH blog hop questions:
1) What are you working on?
Participating in Pam Calvert’s fabulous Picture Book University
Polishing drafts that I wrote during Kristin Fulton’s amazing Nonfiction Picture Book Week
Looking forward to WriteOn Con in August
Reading, reading and more reading!
2) How does your writing process work?
When I get the tiniest seed of a picture book idea, the first thing I do is think about word choices, rhyming words, and rhythm. Then I write a poem. Crazy, isn’t it? The poem rarely connects directly with the final draft, but I find it a relaxing, productive way to free associate sensory details, characters, setting, etc.
I draft a hook or a pitch next. This helps ensure that the essence of my idea stays in the forefront while developing the story.
My last step is to rough out a dummy, because I want to write stories with strong page turns. This is the toughest part for me, and I need the most practice here.
Write, then revise and repeat the above steps, and that is the bare bones of my writing process!
3) Who are the authors you most admire?
I’m going to stick with picture book authors here, so I don’t get too carried away!
Amy Krouse Rosenthal – always clever, funny and original
Steve Jenkins – the perfect melding of science and story
The author of the book on my nightstand – is that a fickle answer? I always find something to appreciate whether it is a plot twist, a clever phrase, or a breath-taking illustration. I also admire what it takes to get a book into print these days, now that I have a greater appreciation for the challenge of creating an original, incredible story, finding a good agent, and getting a publisher to say “yes”!
So many writing friends have already participated in WTABH that I’m not going to tag anyone specific. If you’d like to join in or link to your WTABH post, just add a comment!