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Monday, 16 June 2014

My Writing Process & a bit about Pie Charts - Blog Hop

When the very charming children's author, Julie Fison asked me to participate in this blog hop, I graciously declined thinking I'd dodged a bullet, however shiny and enticing. I mean, I had to stand by my panna cottas as they set and grapple with my manuscripts, both of which require a fair bit of my concentration and focus. (Panna cottas are not as simple as making pies you understand.)


So when the equally charming children's author, Samantha Wheeler asked me to participate in this blog hop with the beguiling urgency of a koala on the run from a theme park, I unwittingly forgot to parry. Sam loves to write about animals and adventure. Her first book Smooch and Rose is a story set against the continuing destruction of koala habitat. Her next book Spud and Charil is about friendship, horses and bats. See how Sam rolls here.

So here I am, ready to leap into my own process - of writing. Could be messy. Hang on here we go...

What am I working on at the moment, I hear you ask?

To say that I am half way through a new chapter book for young readers would be grossly inaccurate - it's still only an overworked story outline - set out in very fetching pie-chart fashion on A3 paper.

To say that I'm putting the finishing touches on a short story that is due for editing by August is also a slight exaggeration - it's still an embryotic idea slurping around in my head - uncomfortable.

To say that I'm prepping my next book review is closer to the truth - I spend much of my writing week drafting, writing, and massaging children's book reviews for Boomerang Books Blog. I like to craft reviews with care out of respect for the books' creators and in hope of sharing some real reading gems with their intended audiences.

To say that I m constantly editing, reworking and writing picture books would be spot on the money at the moment. After winning a CAL Creative Industries Career Fund grant last year and securing the immeasurable mentoring talents of Dee White, I have been meticulously working on two of my picture book manuscripts with her. It's been a rite of passage for me as a writer working with a mentor; both exquisitely liberating and supremely challenging.

To say that I'm working on 'this blog post' would earn WINNER play-again status.

How do I think my work differs from that of other writers in my genre?

It has my name on it as the accreted author, which is nice. Who doesn't want to see their name in print on something other than a parking ticket at some point in their lives?

A constant vexation I have as a writer is the discovery of one of my thoughts or phrases or ideas cleverly concealed within another writer's story, usually one with legendary rock star status. Exasperating but unavoidable. These occurrences are of course completely coincidental and proof I should have gotten my writing finger out a lot sooner. The world is full of remarkable ideas and stories all swilling around at any one and the same time. What makes each unique is the individual heart and soul with which they are told. Plus the elves in my chapter book could leap tall buildings with a single bound. I don't think that's occurred in Santa's workshop before.

Why do I write what I write?

I write for kids because it really does remind me of being one. It think it's good for grown-ups to stop, take stock and remember, really remember the sanctity of childhood and all that it represented; its joys, its promises, its disappointments. For the most part this is fun.

I'm not one of those writers who will stop breathing and curl up and expire if I don't write. But when I do have one-on-one time with my words, it is truly electrifying. I feel dizzy with joy. I want to share that feeling with kids through stories. I figure that's fairer than forcing them to listen to me sing.

What's my writing process and how does it work?

It varies but usually involves a cup of something to sip on, a pencil, a note pad and sometimes very little sleep.

I tend to draft EVERYTHING in long hand before I type one word of it up. (The challenge of not being able to read my own handwriting is exquisite) This method is: a great way of free writing, allows me to write anywhere in any position, helps me avoid obsessive line-editing on what is really the first draft and provides plenty of opportunity to doodle pie charts.

I've developed into a hybrid plotter / pantser. Whilst words may still erupt unplanned, I tend to note it all down a bit more carefully these days; exploring themes, planning plots, interviewing characters, (and making pie charts of course) before tackling the actual narrative.

Perversely I also enjoy self-editing and reworking what I've written which explains why I have so few books out there - I'm a ditherer.

Time to dither no further and handover blogging rites to three of my fellow writerly chums. Visit their blogs to keep the hop alive - forever - or simply hunker down with one of their books. My writing process would simply not exist without reading. That is my penultimate answer. I don't really have the final answer to writing well. It's a process, true but also a state-of-being.

George Ivanoff has written more books for kids than I can count on my fingers and toes combined even when looking in the mirror including the Gamers' Quest series. His latest creation is the interactive You Choose adventure series. George's likes include Doctor Who, soft rind cheeses and getting pied. Visit his site for visual explanation.


Angela Sunde is a champion of Kids Lit, can do marvellous things with a coloured pencil and a dab of paint and has a predilection for French Champagne. Her first novel for children, Pond Magic is a magical combination of teenage skin problems and exotic first crushes. Angela's likes include apples, drawing (lots of things including apples) and connecting readers and writers. Find out how she does it here.


Paula Weston is the author of the four book Rephaim YA series about fallen angels, hellions and demons. Paula has an unnatural obsession for the Foo Fighters and a more acceptable appreciation for paranormal speculative fiction. Her likes include brie and quince paste on ciabatta, greyhounds and book launch parties. She hopes to make it to her next one for the release of  Shimmer (Rephaim # 3) in July. See here for your invitation.




2 comments:

Julie Fison - Author said...

I am glad you did join the blog hop, Dimity. Thanks for sharing, and good luck with your trip to Central Queensland.

DimbutNice said...

Cheers Julie, Just back from CQ. Had a ball. Thanks for rolling on by here. Your books were a great hit with the school kids from Rocky btw. :-D