Tuesday, May 13, 2014

This post is going to look very different from my usual stories. In fact, one of my friends and fellow writers, Dina Von Lowenkraft (www.dinavonlowenkraft.com), has tagged me in a blog hop. Dina is a YA writer of fantasy and sci-fi. She is the author of Dragon Fire

For the blog hop, I get to answer the following four questions. At the end, you will see the writers I have tagged in return. Please share the love of reading and writing by visiting their blogs as well.

Here are my “behind the scenes” reasons why I do what I do.

1)What am I working on?

I have just completed a Middle Grade novel that grew out of an original story on Good Night, Sleep Tight. While that story is traveling through “query land” looking for an agent, I am skipping and dancing through some PB manuscripts I wrote during Julie Headlund's 12x12 Challenge last year, trying to find the right rhythm and words to create little masterpieces.

My two new character ideas (top secret) for future MG novels are also crawling their way through my mind in search of their plots.

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

I feel my work differs because, as for any writer, my stories can only be written by me thanks to my life experiences, travels, thoughts, and beliefs.

As much as I enjoy bouncy, active picture books, I also appreciate quiet, sweet stories with which to rock my children, nieces, and nephews to sleep. These are the types of stories I still remember my grandmother and my aunt reading to me. And because of these moments, I can still feel their love although they're gone. So I do tend to evoke emotions and softness in my youngest stories because, for me, that is what bedtime reading is all about.

Middle Grade stories do not appear on Good Night, Sleep Tight, but I will mention my latest manuscript for this post. Without giving too much away, the protagonist is a common fictional character who fights against becoming what this type of character is usually after. Not only does she have to figure out what she wants, but also what's best for her family and community. And once she works this out, she must make her decision as to which is more important.... and in the end, what will make her happiest. She lives in a fantasy world intertwined with the real world and its ecological issues.

3) Why do I write what I do?

As mentioned earlier in what makes my picture books unique, I write to create moments: moments of closeness, understanding, discovery, and joy.

In my writing for older listeners and readers, those same moments are important. In them, I want to also sprinkle doses of self-awareness and life-discovery.

Life can be so confusing and frustrating for little ones and older children as they grow. I want to provide an escape though my books. Yet once the story ends, I wish for the reader or listener to know something more than before and to feel encouraged.

4) How does my writing process work?

Very often, I get the idea of a topic I want to explore: family, friendship, loss, … Or, I see a situation in a child's life: a friend moving away, a family vacation, the desire for a pet, ...

From these ideas, I brainstorm what could be funny, frustrating, or satisfying from the particular predicaments with some sort of twist to it. Then, I envision a character to throw into the adventure and see how he or she handles it.

But sometimes, I get the idea of a particular child or of another type of character (animal, toy, etc.) and wonder what would be an interesting but challenging situation for them to encounter.

Being a very visual person, I “see” the story in my head as it comes to me and write it all down. Then, I go back and polish the story with the right speech tags, action words, just enough description, etc. I then revise over and over again until the pacing and the rhythm sound just right.

For my middle grade stories, the character comes to me first and then tells me where he or she wants (or does not want) to go. I find this creative process loads of fun and enjoy going along for the ride.

For more insights from my fellow bloggers and friends, please visit:

Olivia de Vos at Olivia Sadie's Blog (http://www.oliviadevos.wordpress.com/.) She say, “I'm interested in anything and everything except cooking and sewing, so perhaps I should be writing feminist literature. Indeed, I'm trying to find my niche and have dabbled in, well anything and everything, from welding to bricklaying, to pottery. Currently, I read, travel, take photos and write, not necessarily in that order. In between, I work as a teacher to make a living.”

Ramona Siddoway at You Make Me Smile (http://ramonasiddoway.com/tag/ramona-siddoway/). I first met Ramona years ago at a writer's group. She made me smile as soon as I walked in the door, and I'm sure her writing will make you smile as well, if not fall on the ground laughing.

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Dina von Lowenkraft said...

What a lovely post, Michelle - I love how you explain your passion for writing!

I'm so happy to see Olivia tagged for the next round - I look forward to reading her post! And although I don't yet know Ramona, but knowing how much I appreciate both Michelle and Olivia, I'm sure I'll enjoy her post too :-)

cheers to all,

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