Had an awesome time with Julie Flanders at the Bookfest at Icefest this weekend! Met some cool new authors and even sold a few books. Two funny stories. One - everyone thought I was so professional because of my banner, ha! And second, I had some plastic toy horns to give away to kids, and one little guy ran over and grabbed one, but Dad said no and put it back. This guy was determined, he kept grabbing it and hugging it. Later Julie kept cracking up about it - "You'll have to pry it from my cold, dead hand!" she said. So funny it was!
I'd love to hear about any conferences near you and meet you there if I can. Let's do this!
To add to my pretty fantastic weekend, my sons had great basketball games for me to watch - edge of my seat exciting!
And lastly, I'm happy to present the versatile C. Lee McKenzie. She's releasing another intense YA (already!) and brings us some insight on her writing process. So glad she stopped by!
Why I write what I do
I write contemporary, realistic YA because when I was a teen I could never finds characters in books that I could relate to. While young characters often floundered around, trying to sort out who they were and where they were going, they weren’t the main characters; they were not the ones driving the story. If they were, the stories were outdated. Little Women comes to mind. Those kids didn’t deal with the same issues I was dealing with and they didn’t talk like I did.
As for writing middle grade, I love to write fantasy adventure stories for that age. And these give me a break from my young adult topics of suicide, loss and abuse. I treat my middle grade stories as my sorbet.
How my writing process works
I get ideas from music, or a news articles or conversations. I often tuck these at the back of my head until I hear a character. They pretty much come full born, kind of like Venus from the froth. I see them, their voices are clear, and they can be downright bossy unless I start writing their story.
The most I do as far as planning is concerned is to write a sentence summary—never more than two sentences. That summary I put in the header, so it appears on each page. I tweak it as I go, or I tweak the story so it stays true to that summary. Then I write as long as the words come. When they stop, I take a break or print out and go outside to read what I’ve put down on the page. I don’t always do that right away. I often leave the day’s work alone until the next day.
One thing I’ve found helpful for starting again is to write a sentence or two that describes where I think the story should go next. Sometimes I even list things I want in the next scene or chapter. When I come back to the story, I have a place to start.
Short vs. Long
My shortest stuff is poetry, but I’m rather lousy at writing it, so I keep it private, unless it’s limericks or some doggerel for fun.
I love/hate writing short stories. They’re interesting challenges, and when I start one I’m always convinced I won’t be able to finish it.
I was kind of surprised when I checked out my list of books at Amazon [ http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0042M1KYW] see just how many I’d actually completed for anthologies. And I just had another one accepted by Leap Books for their new collection, Down the Rabbit Hole. It will celebrate Alice In Wonderland’s 150th Birthday.
Writing for teens, I stay at around 60,000 words for a novel. That seems to be about right for my stories and for the teen market. Haven’t heard otherwise.
|KINDLE PRINT EVERNIGHT TEEN|
SUDDEN SECRETS by C. Lee McKenzie
Cleo has struggled to heal after her baby sister’s death, but the flashbacks to the accident won’t go away. With the move, she vows to keep her tragedy a secret and avoid pitying looks.
Something’s strange about the abandoned house across the street—flashes of light late at night and small flickers of movement that only someone looking for them would see.
Everyone says the house is deserted, but Cleo is sure it isn’t, and she’s sure whoever is inside is watching her.
In one night, Belleza’s life changes forever. So famous, her only choice is to hide her secret from the world so she can silence small town bigotry.
Then Cleo happens.