Friday, June 24, 2011

On Writing

I am a reader.

I have been since I was very young.  I've always preferred reading to pretty much every other activity out there.  So when I say that I've been sucked in to a book that means nothing else gets done.  Which is a little more complicated now that I'm a mom of course, but it still happens.

But am I a writer?

I can't decide.  I'm not one of those who has made up stories my whole life.  I've been content to read others.  But that doesn't mean I couldn't be a writer I think.  And I've had some ideas here or there that might be interesting to read if I could get it down on paper fluidly.  I just don't know.

When you hear writers talk about their work, they always talk about how difficult it is to write.  But the thing is, they don't really go into detail.  I would love to KNOW how Rick Riordan gets his ideas for his books.  What happens when he's stumped?  How does he connect events to make a whole cohesive story?  I would love to pick Shannon Hale's brain about character.  How do you make each character endearing and have a real voice?  How do you write them so that they come alive?  I want to ask Richard Peck how to write humor and create situations that make me laugh out loud (because they do).  And I want to ask them all about process.  How does a book go from an idea to a finished product?  All I get to see is the finished product -- what does it look like in the meantime?

But I can't.  So I guess I have to experiment myself.

I wrote a first draft of a children's book about 2 or 3 weeks ago.  And this is how it went -- had the idea, sat down at the computer, wrote the entire book in one sitting visualizing what it would actually look like as I went.
Then I sent it to some friends and family for feedback.  First draft.  I didn't hear back from most of them and there may be several reasons for that but I can't help but wonder if it falls under the old adage: "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."  Because I'm self-conscious.

So now I'm going to do my second draft.  I haven't decided how yet: print off the original and retype the whole thing or just fix bits and pieces on the computer.  I don't really know what my process is, it's been so long since I've written fiction (since college actually).  But I'm going to try and see what happens.

Oh and just to document it as I go, I've also begun a young adult novel.  That has been a bear.  I have lots of ideas floating in my brain but no clue on how to make them connect or be exciting to read.  So I just type as I think of things and maybe I'll try connecting the dots later!