I once heard a talk by a lovely Kansas SCBWI member—whose name I wish I could remember—about Walter Dean Myer’s process. It involved lengthy and detailed outlines.
At that moment, I wondered if I’d ever be a good writer.
Trouble is, I didn’t want to give up the freedom of pantsing. The interesting discoveries you make when you just let ‘er rip.
I’m starting a new story and this time, I’m making the effort to get the bones in place, first. With the caveat that I’m still free to run wild and crazy when belching out my first draft.
I hope the extra time spent pre-loading the manuscript makes me write faster. And still gives me room for those Aha! moments.
Because that’s what makes it fun.
There’s more to writing than–well, writing.
This weekend, our group of long-time writing friends is on retreat. (And no, I’m not mentioning it here on the blog to document that fact for the IRS. Though that’s a pretty good idea.)
Sure, I brought my laptop. But this is the first day I’ve fired it up–because I’ve spent the first 48 hours in our cozy cabin paradise, pondering.
I’ve spent time trying on character names, drawing maps, diagramming plot points. To dig down deep. Find the truth in my story.
Don’t get so set on word count goals and outlines that you forget to dream.
Hello, race fans.
I’m finally back, for good. Mostly. Let me tell you why my presence on This Old Blog has been sporadic, at best.
I’ve been busy.
Thing is, there’s only so much time in the day. So you gotta prioritize. When commitments or health or responsibilities or circumstances leave you a small window of time to write, do you spend that time on Pinterest? Twitter?
Well, heck no. You spend that time on your writing. Because a spiffy Social Media Presence is not going to get you published, only a spiffy manuscript will.
I’ve been off the internet and only heard her story a couple of days ago. If you’ve been AWOL too, I’ll catch you up.
Leela was born a boy on the outside and a girl on the inside. To ultra-religious parents who sent her for faith-based counseling to change her mind. Punished her by taking her out of school and barring her from online support. Told her God didn’t make mistakes, which by their interpretation, meant she was immoral and crazy to feel the way she did.
I love it when people tell you how wrong your feelings are.
So Leela stepped in front of a semi. Her suicide note came up later, on her Tumblr.
Oh, it’s been taken down. As well as her mother’s note on Facebook mourning her “son’s accident”.
Read the note. It’s a little self-serving and demand-y, but it’s also bleeding with despair. And I do not see how her parents could refuse to bleed with her.
Parents have dreams for their children. I’ve always hoped all mine end up with fulfilling careers and an opposite-gendered spouse and chubby, curly-haired kids. Because that’s what I think will bring them joy. But if it doesn’t, what’s more important—my dream or their happiness?
I don’t think Leela’s parents had to compromise their beliefs by aiding Joshua’s transition to Leela. But they did have a responsibility to send her to unbiased counselors who could help Leela cope and make plans.
And love her.
Thanks for all your kind words, it is a pleasure serving you people.
And so to pick the recipient of the KidLit Scoop 100th Issue Giveaway, I counted the number of comments and generated a random number between one and twenty-nine. (One being the first comment, two the second…)
Commenter #10 and THE WEINER AND CHAMPEEN OF VALUABLE PRIZES IS:
Thanks again for playing along, I had a blast.
It’s that time of year again, full of thrills and chills and things that go bump in the night.
When many usually sane people decide to attend commercial haunted houses and ghost tours.
Now, I haven’t attended a haunted house and I never will, based on this:
But I have gone on a bunch of ghost tours, and I’ve got a few tips for writers and others about…
HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF A WALKING GHOST TOUR
- Stay in the front–sounds obvious. But if you trail the group you will miss things. Even if the Ghost Walk Conductor uses a bullhorn, you’re gonna miss stuff. Random people walking down the street will ask you what’s going on. Other ghost tour customers will buttonhole you with their own personal ghost stories. Which are almost never any good. And the tour leader will often talk to the people in the front, off-mike.
- Laugh, gasp and generally encourage the guide–even if it makes you feel like a bit player in a melodrama. An engaged audience is a lot more fun for everybody–including the speaker. If he enjoys delivering his spiel, he’ll ham it up. Throw in extra tidbits of information that he might skip if he’s in a hurry to ditch a surly group.
- Ask questions–figure out whether your speaker is more interested in the ghosty or historical part of his job. If he’s working for a ghost tour company, he’s enthusiastic about at least one. And usually knows a lot more about his subject than he’s telling you. If you’ve got a question, ask it. But dear God, please don’t tell the group about the time your great-grandmother heard the Banshee cry. Nobody cares. Sorry.
- Interrupt–honest to Murgatroyd, I have become intolerant of fools in my middle age. As far as I’m concerned, a chatty audience member gets one it’s-all-about-me comment per situation. If a fellow ghost tourist feels the need to continually take the speaker’s presentation off track, interrupt with a question that will help the him get back to business. (“Did George Washington sleep here?”) Or simply repeat the last thing the tour guide said. (“You said he had a wooden leg named ‘Smith’. Go on.”) 99.999999% of the time, he will be grateful.
- Tip–come on, cheapskate. You flattered and cajoled your host into giving you the ghost tour of a lifetime, now tip him. And while you’re at it, ask him to recommend historical and paranormal sources you can check out. After all, this is book research, right? RIGHT?