Monday, April 7, 2014


I was invited to participate in the “Writing Process Blog Tour” by YA author Amy Nichols, who blogs with me over at YA Outside the Lines.  

The writing process, I’m realizing, is both elusive and universal, all at the same time.  As a professional writer, it’s fascinating to me that I still find the same parts of writing (the sluggish middle, for example) every bit as tough as the fifth-grade students I Skype with!  The only difference is that I’ve been at it long enough to have a few tricks up my sleeve that help me work through it. 

This tour asks…

1.      What am I working on?

Right now, I’m gearing up for the release of my third YA (and first mystery / thriller), FERAL.  I’m also in the midst of writing my next MG.

2.      How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Much of my previously-published work has really hinged on voice and character.  I’d say what separates my YA from others is that each work has actually been in a different subgenre.  A BLUE SO DARK was a literary problem novel.  PLAYING HURT was a romance.  FERAL is a thriller. 

3.      Why do I write what I do?

Writing is an innate part of who I am.  But I’m also a reader.  And I’m as interested in as many subgenres of writing as I am in subgenres of reading.  I never know where my heart’s going to lead me next.  Not only am I meeting new characters and heading to new settings, I’m also exploring new subgenres.  And that makes writing the most exciting thing in the world. 

4.      How does my writing process work?

I really dislike the first draft.  I do my best to get through that part as quickly as possible.  I give myself crazy word-count goals each day: sometimes as many as 5,000 words.  The first draft is a scene-by-scene fleshing out of my loose outline.  It gives me a chance to figure out the what of a novel.  My favorite part is revision—that’s when I can figure out the how I say it of a novel.  I get to write pretty passages, new metaphors, flesh out my characters.  Of course, I don’t just revise once.  My published books have been revised more times than I can count.  It’s funny—I get to know my books the same way we all meet new people in our lives—a little at a time.  Each day, I discover something new, get a little closer to my characters…

Be sure to travel to the next stops on the tour:

Tracy Barrett - the author of numerous books and magazine articles for young readers. She holds a Bachelor's Degree with honors in Classics-Archaeology from Brown University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Medieval Italian Literature from the University of California, Berkeley. Her scholarly interests in the ancient and medieval worlds overlap in her fiction and nonfiction works.

Ann Haywood Leal - wrote her first novel in the sixth grade.  It was handwritten (mostly on colored notebook paper) and was called MISCHIEVOUS MARTHA.  Her later books,  A FINDERS-KEEPERS PLACE and ALSO KNOWN AS HARPER were published by Henry Holt.

Naomi Kinsman - the author of the From Sadie’s Sketchbook Series (Zondervan) and Spilled Ink, the award winning Inklings Writers’ Notebook. Drawing upon her background in improvisational theatre and arts education, Naomi developed Writerly Play  a methodology that breaks the writing process into parts and inspires creativity through interactive games. Naomi is the founder of Society of Young Inklings,  an organization that empowers young authors ages 6-16 and Regional Advisor of the San Francisco South chapter of SCBWI. She holds a BA in Theatre Arts from Seattle Pacific University and a MFA in Writing for Children and Adults from Hamline University.

Jen Cervantes - the author of TORTILLA SUN, claims, "If I wasn't a storyteller, sports writing for the NFL would have been my game, (or some other job where I got paid to watch football games). Maybe someday I'll write a book about football.  I am inspired by my daughters Alex, Bella, and Jules, their silly friends, amazing stories, and real issues concerning kids who need hope and a place to call home."

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