As you all know, I enjoy discussing my writing process because I’m still discovering so many interesting things about it. So I was thrilled when Laurie Morrison invited me to take part in #MyWritingProcess blog tour. Other people blogging this week: Ellar Cooper and Laura Sibson.
Laurie Morrison has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts and primarily writes contemporary YA fiction. She lives in Philadelphia, where she teaches middle school English, and she loves to read and bake. She is represented by Sara Crowe at Harvey Klinger, Inc. She blogs at lauriemorrison.wordpress.com.
So here I go:
1) What are you working on?
I’m currently working on two major projects.
The first is a YA novel based on the teen years of Canadian author, L.M. Montgomery, best known for the Anne of Green Gables and Emily series. Covering Maud’s years in Cavendish, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and Park Corner, the novel follows her life from age 14 to 17, including her time as a student in Cavendish, PEI, and her year living in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. This will be published under the Razorbill Imprint in 2015.
The second project is revising a contemporary YA novel called, It’s All Ancient History; Or, Oy! A Family Drama. Jewish folklore meets punk folk music and Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night in this “comedy of errors” grief narrative. A year after her father’s death, Hannah would rather stay home and write music for her high school production of Twelfth Night with her best friend Laurel–who has a crazy scheme of getting their favourite punk band to play for them–than be a bride’s maid at her aunt’s wedding. However, Hannah has been so obsessed by a piece of music her father left behind, that she cannot write anything new. Anyway, her mother would never consider allowing her daughter to stay home, for what would people say? When one of Hannah’s aunts is kicked out the wedding, she must decide what kind of person she wishes to be–someone that stands by or someone who takes action.
Taking place over the course of one evening, with the help of some unlikely troubadours, Hannah uncovers the truth about her family’s history, how to make peace in her home, and find a way through music to say goodbye to her father.
2) How does your work differ from others of its genre?
I write in multiple genres so I think that could be considered different than some other authors who may stick to one area of expertise. I studied history, so I do gravitate to historical fiction or stories with an historical element. Also, except for the Maud novel, most of my work tends to take place within the same fictional universe.
Another thing that perhaps differs is while there is a languid, poetic feel to my work, there is also a subtle humour. My characters can be quite cynical, and often find themselves in uncomfortable but hilarious situations.
3) Why do you write what you do?
I think that even when I was a teenager I knew that I would write for teens. While I know we have moments of clarity as children about who we are and who we want to be, as I consider my own experience, it is my teen years where I began to truly question things deeply, write poetry, studied music, really stepped into myself.
I hope that the stories that I write will help teens with these questions, or at least make them feel less alone about things.
4) How does your writing process work?
I try to write every day. Sometimes fiction, sometimes in my journal, sometimes free writing. For years I would write on the bus on my way to my day job. When I had time to writing at home, I’ll spend hours in the afternoons. During this last draft, I had given myself a word count per day to get to my target.
I prefer to start off writing by hand because I feel more connected to the heart of who I’m writing about. Once I get a general feel for things, then I’ll do a general outline or spec work of the characters, the story’s arc, with the provision that I’m open to how my story will inevitably change. I will then start writing by hand. At some point, I’ll type what I’ve written into my computer.
When I’m writing historical fiction, however, I will do some of the research beforehand to see where the story lives and then build the outline based on that. I will simultaneously write and continue to research when necessary, always staying close to my character and what he or she wants.
It is important for me, that when I have a full draft, to print everything out and revise by hand, then typing everything into the computer. This last novel, I also used Scrivener which was amazing in helping to organize the novel’s structure and keep notes on what I hoped to put in place even when the whole scene hadn’t formulated yet.
I’m still discovering things about my process.
Jen Bailey is a writer of novels, short stories, and picture books with a passion for rhythm and sound. Once her story is out of her head and onto the page she plays with it like it’s a puzzle, looking for combinations and arrangements that will evoke emotion in her readers. She taught grades 4-8 before deciding to pursue an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Jen is ow a professor of creative writing and editing in the Professional Writing program at Algonquin College in Ottawa and enjoys mentoring writers of all ages. Follow her on Twitter @JLynn_Bailey and on her blog www.writefiercely.wordpress.com.
Jessica Denhart received her MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts, along with the rest of her Dystropian cohorts, in January of 2013. She writes YA and middle grade fiction, contemporary with a magical-realism twist. She is also a member of the SCBWI. Jessica’s other joys in life include her wonderful husband Byron, her lovely puppy, Rosina, and her various artistic pursuits, such as pottery and crocheting. Jessica spent a part of her childhood living on the tropical island of Guam, of which she has many fond memories and still considers home. She currently lives in the Midwest, with longings for the taste of the salt-air, the sound of the ocean waves and the feel of sand between her toes
Natalie Garside will tell you she is a retired fan fiction maven but occasionally finds herself irresistibly drawn back to many a fandom. She writes YA fiction in the following genres: Fantasy (with romance), Sci-fi (with romance) and Contemporary (also with romance). She holds a BFA in Film & Screenwriting from York University, at least three secret undeclared minors and recently completed a writer’s workshop course at Ryerson. She’s a member of the SCBWI, currently works at Indigo in Kids & Teen books and resides in a little burb dream house outside Toronto with her husband and two tiny budgies. When she isn’t baking romance into her writing she can often be found baking actual edibles or tapping away at the piano.