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I met Karen Cushman briefly last summer at the Golden Kite Luncheon at the SCBWI Summer Conference in L.A. I knew everyone at our table apart from Karen and her nephew. She introduced herself, just as congenial as can be, and I think I said something smooth and charming and not all all flustered.
Something like, “Oh! Wow!”
I recovered, and we went on to have a lovely luncheon. Karen was awesome, and I’m honored to offer a little glimpse into her newest book, Alchemy and Meggy Swann, as well as her writing process. Thank you, Karen!
KB: Tell us about Alchemy and Meggy Swann.
KC: Feisty Meggy, sent from her mother’s village to live in London with the father she has never known, struggles with his evident disappointment when they meet. Not only is she is not the son he had expected, she walks with a halting gait–wabbling she calls it, aided by two sticks. Meggy finds the city a horrible place and is angry and frightened. Slowly she explores her new world, makes friends, and begins to help her father, an alchemist. Along the way she learns much about friendship, loyalty, and transformation.
KB: How did writing Alchemy and Meggy Swann differ from your other books?
KC: Differ? I don’t think it did. There were the usual panics and the usual hair-tearing-out when editorial letters came. The most different thing about the book is that Meggy struggles with a physical disability.
KC: I write better in the morning, but first I have to read the newspaper, check emails and writers’ blogs, eat breakfast, shower, do a load of laundry, think about dinner. Then I answer emails, play computer solitaire, and talk baby talk to my cat. Finally I am impatient enough with myself to sit down and work. By that time it is usually not morning anymore so in reality I write in the afternoon.
KB: Do you give yourself a daily word count? Are you an outliner?
KC: I don’t outline or make 3×5 cards or storyboards, but I do have a story pretty well developed in my head before I start to write it. I hate facing the blank page and find writing the first draft by far the hardest part of the job, pulling words out of me like, Katherine Paterson says, a spider spinning a web out of her own guts. I don’t have a word or page count but work as long as I feel productive.
KB: Do you revise as you go, or just get the first draft down?
As I write my first draft, I go back and polish those pages and chapters that came before. Over and over. This is how I start working each day–reading over and polishing what I have already written. It gives me a running start on the day’s work. It’s those early chapters that establish mood and voice and I like to know these as I write on. Is the voice humorous and ironic, like Birdy? Naive but wise like Alyce? Sad and angry like Rodzina? Complaining and confrontational as are Lucy and Matilda?
KB: Do you believe in writer’s block?
KC: I believe there are some times when a writer doesn’t want to write, doesn’t know what comes next, doubts she can do it, thinks she has nothing more to say. But as a diagnosis? Nope. I don’t believe in writers’ block. Or most attempts to turn a process into a thing, for that matter.
KB: How do you stay in touch with the writing community?
KC: I read blogs, email friends, huddle with other writers at conferences, read what’s newly published.
KB: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
KC: Sleep. Read. Putter in the garden. See friends. Watch Inspector Morse.
KB: Any writing and/or revision tips you’d like to share?
Revision is much easier for me than writing a first draft. So with my work in progress, Will Sparrow’s Road, I tried something different. I set up a vague outline of chapters, typed notes and ideas in each chapter, added a few sentences, a character description, an action, some dialogue, whatever occurred to me, until the book was laid out on the computer. Then when I went back, writing that first draft was more like editing and revising, not writing. Much easier.
KB: What have you enjoyed reading recently?
KC: Besides many, many, MANY books as research for one book or another, I enjoyed The Calligrapher’s Daughter, Eugenia Kim; Ice by Sarah Beth Durst; A Reliable Wife, Robert Goolrick; The Wet-Nurse’s Tale, Erica Eisdorfer.
Don’t forget that Karen will be speaking at our last SCBWI Western Washington meeting of the season on May 11th.
If you would like a chance to win a signed copy of Alchemy and Meggy Swann, just share a writing or revision tip in the comments. I’ll pick a winner on Thursday!
October 23, 2009 in Author interview, Books, Illustration, Kid Lit, Me, Middle grade, SCBWI, Seattle, Uncategorized, writers, Writing | Tags: Cybils, Grace Lin, Kjersten Anna Hayes, Liz Szabla, Mars, Martha Brockenbrough, Michael Stearns, SCBWI, Seattle Bookfest | 3 comments
I’m waiting for the rain and wind to let up and my little one to go down for a nap. Then I can go clean up the many chicken feathers that the raccoon left behind when he decreased our chicken population from 3 to 2 last night. I’m still getting used to the idea of our chickens being pets/food-producers, and now they’re pets/food-producers/food. Gah!
That’s right! All glamour, all the time.
Let’s just focus on the future, ok?
While we’re talking about where I’ll be when… I’ll be at the 2010 SCBWI Winter Conference January 29th-31st in New York City. I was there last year, and had a great time (here’s the recap). Registration starts on October 28th!
If you have a something that is submission-ready, you might want to seriously consider signing up for the intensives on the 29th. I’m not sure how the illustrator intensive works, but for writers it’s like a group critique led by a mystery editor or agent. It’s not cheap, but if you have the scratch, it’s probably worth it. You won’t find out who you’re with until you pick up your badge at the registration table. Last year I was fortunate to have Michael Stearns and Liz Szabla lead my tables (!). They each gave fantastic, useful, different feedback. There are many, many publishing success stories that sprung from these intensives (Just ask Jill Alexander or Holly Cupala.)
I eventually scrapped that particular manuscript in June, but I started something new in July and I should be wrapping up my rough draft this week (Wheeee!). Just in time for the revision retreat the first weekend of November and maybe the intensive, too.
Did you nominate books for the Cybils? Nominations are closed now, but there are plenty of recommendations. First round panelists are super busy narrowing the long lists down to short lists. In the middle grade category, that’s where I come in! I’m a second round judge, and in great company. Look!
Panelists (Round I Judges):
Sherry Early, Semicolon
Melissa Fox, Book Nut
Abby Johnson, Abby the Librarian
Kyle Kimmal, The Boy Reader
Becky Laney, Becky’s Book Reviews
Sarah Mulhern, The Reading Zone
Sandra Stiles, Musings of a Book Addict
Round II Judges:
Any predictions for the short lists? Share ’em in the comments!
Lots of good news:
Martha Brockenbrough sold a picture book (This news is a couple weeks old, but still awesome.)!
Author/Illustrator Kjersten Anna Hayes got an honorable mention in the Writer’s Digest Writing Competition for Children’s/Young Adult fiction. Congratulations, Kjersten!
And this morning it was announced that Grace Lin’s wonderful Where the Mountain Meets the Moon was chosen for Al Roker’s Today Show Kid’s Book Club! Yay, Grace! You can see my interview with Grace about her process making Where the Mountain meets the Moon here.
I’ll have more interviews featuring fab middle grade authors soon, when things slow down a little bit.
And in the random news category: Ground Control to Major Tom You? Scientists are looking for a few good people to spend 520 days on a simulated trip to Mars. You get a real trip to Moscow, and after a few days you won’t know if you’re on a real space ship or not.
Ok, it’s time for me to go outside, but first I’m going to watch one of my favorite videos ever. Happy weekend, everybody!
So, I haven’t blogged for a couple of weeks. I asked my friend Laini Taylor for an interview last month about her recently released middle grade novel, Dreamdark: Silksinger, and she graciously obliged. I set the interview aside until her newest book, Lips Touch Three Times was released on October 1st. I’ve had a case of the blogging blahs, due in part to distractions of the draft finishing and SCBWI variety. Long story short, two weeks pass.
And what happened?
Whoop! When I saw the list yesterday you would have thought someone won the lottery by the way I reacted (editor’s note: I can be very animated in real life.). But it’s even better than the lottery, isn’t it? Because lotteries are based on chance, and the National Book Awards are not. They’re based on talent and merit, and Laini and Jim are chock full. They’re sweet, lovely people, too, and I couldn’t be happier for them.
So anyway, I wish I had asked her more questions about Lips Touch! I don’t want to bother her now since I have a feeling her email inbox is a little full, and if I call it might wake sweet little two-month-old Clementine up. Oh, well. Silksinger is equally fantastic. Pick them both up, and I promise you won’t be disappointed.
WT: Tell us about Dreamdark: Silksinger!
LT: Dreamdark: Silksinger is the sequel to my first novel, Dreamdark: Blackbringer, but it can also be read as a stand-alone (of course I recommend reading both!) Both are fantasy-adventure for upper middle grade (ages 8-12), and are sophisticated enough for teen and adult readers too. They’re about faeries, but not dainty flowery faeries. My faeries are tiny but fierce, warriors and devil-hunters with powerful magic.
WT: Your faeries kick ass. What made you want to create this book?
LT: Thank you! I have five books planned out in the Dreamdark series, and I came up with the basic plot of Silksinger when I was about halfway through writing Blackbringer. It changed a lot in the actual writing, but the character of Whisper has stayed true to that initial inspiration — a faerie who can weave silk by singing, and creates flying carpets that way.
WT: How different was your final draft from your first draft? Was the plot consistent? Any surprises?
LT: Since I’m a compulsive perfectionist, I revise as I go, and I never end up with a true “first draft” — not a quick, messy one, anyway. It takes me a long time to get through a “first draft” and each chapter is generally revised many times before I proceed, and I reconceive the plot as I go, then backtrack and even start over. So by the time I get to “the end,” what I have is a draft that is already fairly polished. I’ve tried writing fast, loose first drafts, and it doesn’t really work for me — so far, anyway! Maybe one day!
WT: Huge congratulations on the birth of your lovely daughter, Clementine! How has parenthood impacted your writing?
LT: Thank you! Well, we’re still working all that out Jim and I both work at home, so we have a lot of flexibility with our schedules and can take turns with Clementine. I’m trying to adjust my schedule a little to work at night, which has never been my prime creative time (I get sleepy and dippy late at night). I’ve heard that having kids makes one more efficient, and I’m trying to make that true of myself. Fingers crossed!
WT: You collaborate with your husband, illustrator Jim DiBartolo (recently dubbed Gentle Bad-Ass Bohemian Warrior Daddy by Ben Watson). At what point in the process do you begin working together?
LT: (Love that title, Ben!) In all three of my novels so far that Jim has illustrated, he’s worked from the finished (or almost finished) manuscripts. With the [secret] project we’re working on now, it’s more of a back-and-forth where the text and images are much more closely interrelated and interdependent. We’re having a lot of fun with it!
WT: You have a YA novel, Lips Touch Three Times, released this month. Did you work on Silksinger and Lips Touch simultaneously?
LT: No. I wrote Lips Touch first. I had sent the manuscript of Blackbringer to my editor Timothy Travaglini, and while I was waiting to get my first-ever editorial letter back from him, I began writing short pieces for fun. Three of those pieces were the stories in Lips Touch (I realized I kept writing about kissing, and Jim had the idea that those kissing stories could be a book!). I started writing Silksinger after the major revisions on Blackbringer were done.
WT: You’ve mentioned that you enjoy revising a manuscript. Why?
LT: Ah, revising. First drafts are the hardest part for me: you’re creating something from nothing. What’s harder than that? I love to mess around with language, and my perfectionist brain finds revising very rewarding: taking something that already exists and making it better.
WT: What’s made the biggest impact on your relationship with the writing community? Conferences? Blogging? Why?
LT: Gosh. Both have been hugely important to my writing life. Before I started going to SCBWI conferences and blogging, I felt alone and entirely baffled by the mysteries of publishing. I didn’t have anyone to talk to about writing, and I didn’t know anything about publishing at all. Now, having made so many wonderful friends (not just writers, but also agents, editors, publishers, art directors, etc) both through conferences and online, publishing has been demystified and writing feels like a “real job”. Besides that, the friendships are just so rich, the people are so wonderful, they have made our lives feel larger and more colorful!
WT: What are you working on now? Any more Faeries of Dreamdark?
LT: I absolutely plan to continue the Dreamdark series, but right now I’m at work on several other projects: a YA novel, and something secret that Jim and I are doing together. All I’ll say about that is that it’s for younger kids, and is in a very different style than what we’ve done so far.
WT: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
LT: Well, the answer to this question has completely changed for me. Before I might have said: reading, baking, painting, getting together with writer friends, and traveling. And that’s all still true! But my #1 favorite pastime now is just cuddling Clementine, preferably with Jim too
WT: What have you enjoyed reading recently?
Thanks, Laini! And Congratulations!!
I met Grace Lin last spring when she was a keynote speaker at our spring conference. She’s sweet and sharp, and she always finds a way to create books in her own unique way. Her newest book, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a middle grade novel based on Chinese folk tales with full color illustrations. From the wonderful story, to the beautiful artwork and even the lush feel of the paper, it’s truly a gem.
WT: Tell us about your novel, “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.”
GL: My publisher has dubbed “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon” as an Asian “Wizard of Oz,” which, while I am honored it is compared to a great classic that I love, is not really what I had in mind when I wrote it. The story follows a young girl named Minli who, inspired by her father’s stories, goes on an enchanted adventure to find the Old Man of the Moon to change her family’s fortune. On the way, she hears various stories from all the people/creatures that she meets and the stories slowly weave a lesson (but not in a didactic way!) about the secret of happiness. The book is a mixture of Chinese folktales and my imagination and values; it’s both ancient and modern, Asian and American.
A noteworthy thing about the novel is that there are full color illustrations scattered throughout the book. The whole book was actually printed in full color–great pains were taken with the design and production. I truly hope that everyone who reads it feels that the book is a thing of beauty aesthetically as well as story-wise!
WT: What made you want to create this book?
GL: I grew up in Upstate NY, the only Asian (except for my sisters) in my school. Because of this, my childhood was always tinged with a strange sense of identity. Was I Chinese? Taiwanese? American? Most of the time I simply ignored my race.
But my mother regretted that I knew and had so little interest in our cultural heritage. So, one day she put about half a dozen Chinese folktale and fairytale books on the shelve for me to read. Which (always unable to resist the lure of a new book) I did.
At first disappointed. Used to lush illustrations and descriptions, the Asian books were plainly translated with an occasional simple b/w line drawings and seemed an inadequate comparison. However, slowly I discovered the stories had a magic and I began to imagine details of my own, tinged with Asian-American sensibilities. When I grew older and was able to travel Hong Kong, Taiwan and China–the stories came alive.
And “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon” came into existence. An homage to the folktales and fairy tales I read in my youth, it is a mixture of Asian fairytales and North American classics. Not a traditional retelling of stories from either cultures it is, as I said above, a mix– like me, Asian-American.
WT: The format is so rich and unique. How was developing this book different from your previous novels?
GL: The was very different from my other novels as it was a fantasy, not first person narrative and less episodic than “The Year of the Dog” and “The Year of the Rat.” But I definitely needed to write those first, to gain confidence in my writing ability, before writing “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.”
I tend to write in kind of a haphazard way. I plan the start and end in my head, write the first couple of chapters and then write brief chapter summaries for the rest of the book. For “The Year of…” books, those chapter summaries were pretty much on base. For “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon,” the story just went off on its own tangent.
It was really important for me for all the stories to tie together, because of the red thread theme– was how everything is connected. So, this book was a very consuming process. I was constantly thinking of how to link stories– writing notes on scrap pieces of paper at the gym, post it notes all over my house, notesbook scrawls at lunch. This was the first book that I’ve written where it was impossible to work on anything else at the same time. I’m glad the story found its way back to my ending.
Also, my research for this book was much more lavish! I traveled to China to really soak up the atmosphere and landscape for my setting. I don’t think I will get to do that again.
WT: How different was your final draft from your first draft? Were the themes consistent? Any surprises?
GL: Well, the first draft was about half the length of the final. Many authors have a hard time cutting–seems like most write great volumes and cut down. For me it’s the opposite. I tend to write incredibly spare and have to go back and “thicken” it up.
The biggest change was adding the second story of Minli’s parents and their experience while Minli was away. My first draft was solely Minli’s journey and it was my editor who felt that I should include Ma & Ba’s experiences too. I kind of balked when she first told me that, but then I tried it and realized it made the story much better!
WT: I always love to hear when other writers write sparely and add more as they revise, instead of whittling down. I’m the same way, but so much revision advice starts with cutting down your word count. I felt like I must not be doing it right until I just accepted that my process was different.
You attended the Rhode Island School of Design, but I read that you write the story before creating the art. How important is it for you to combine the two?
GL: It’s been very important for me to have both the pictures and the words work together. To me, both are equally important. The difference is in a picturebook, the pictures are there to help the readers understand the words and in a novel, the words are there to help readers understand the pictures.
WT: Do you feel there is a growing acceptance of illustrations in children’s novels?
GL: I hope so. You see it a lot more nowadays, like in Kate Dicamillo’s novels and Sharon Creech’s “Castle Corona.” I think the illustrations add so much to experience of reading. To me, they are perfect—they give a glimpse of visualization into the world you are reading, but not so much that you aren’t left with anything to imagine. Also, they make the experience of owning and holding a book feel that much more special—turning the page and seeing a full color illustration is almost like discovering a jewel and the book itself feels like a little treasure.
I hope these days, in the age of technology with browsers and kindles, these kind of illustrated books will be even more cherished. With so much doom and gloom about the future of publishing, to create books that are not cheap throw-aways, but are beautiful objects to enjoy is something to consider.
WT: Great point! What are you working on now?
GL: My next book will be “Ling and Ting.” It is an early reader (which is a format I have been wanted to try for a while) about Chinese-American twins. It is almost the reverse theme of the “Year of the Dog;” using twins, I am trying to show how even when people look the same they can be different.
After that I have a picture book on the Moon Festival and a picture book set in Beijing. In the meantime, I have started preliminary drafts for a novel that has the same characters of my past novels “The Year of the Dog” and the “Year of the Rat.”
I have no plans on writing a sequel to “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon,” but I do have ideas for companion. My little dream is to have a trilogy of folktale-inspired fantasies, and then I’ll move on to something else (hopefully).
WT: What do you like to do when you’re not making books?
GL: Well, I lead a pretty boring life. Other than book-related things, I like baking cupcakes, decorating cupcakes and eating cupcakes. Oh, and biking (to burn off the cupcakes).
GL: When I first started blogging, I was going through a lot of emotional turmoil and I really needed outlets. Blogging was one of those outlets. Now that my life is peaceful, I blog almost out of habit. I think blogging was good for my writing, it was practice for expressing myself in words and sometimes it is the only writing I do in a day. I don’t think it takes away from my writing of novels, not yet anyway!
WT: What have you enjoyed reading recently?
GL: I’ve been listening to a lot of audio books lately, as I’ve been painting my new picturebook. I’ve been alternating between old classic and new releases. I just finished Edward Eager’s “Half Magic” and I’ve got “Al Capone Shines My Shoes” by Gennifer Choldenko next. For my eager to read pile, I have “Any Which Wall” by Laurel Snyder (which I heard is an homage to Edward Eager, so I’m all primed and ready) and Sid Fleischman’s “The Dream Stealer.”
WT: Thanks for the suggestions, Grace, and thanks for a great interview!
The winner of the signed copy of The Year the Swallows Came Early selected at random is….
Congrats, Celia! That’s my middle name, but I wasn’t biased at all. The selection process was as random as it can get. I mean, there was a pet involved. Send me your address and I’ll send you Kathryn’s lovely book. If you didn’t win, feel free to run out to your nearest bookstore and pick it up, because it’s lovely. Thanks for commenting, everybody!
Distracting consolation activity:
Stay tuned…tomorrow there will be another author interview!
I’m so excited to present the first in a new series of author interviews. Kathryn Fitzmaurice agreed to answer a few questions, AND she’s graciously offered a signed copy of The Year the Swallows Came Early! Just leave a comment below by September 14 and I’ll pick someone at random to win!
WT: Tell us about your novel, The Year the Swallows Came Early.
KF: The book is about an eleven year old girl named Eleanor “Groovy” Robinson who dreams of attending cooking school one day. Only she discovers that someone close to her has taken away something very important that may keep her from ever going. She has to decide if she can forgive the failings of someone she loves, and accept him for who he is, rather than who she wants him to be. But it’s also about how she keeps working to achieve her dreams despite the obstacles that are put in her way.
WT: How did you get the idea, and how long was it between your first spark and publication?
KF: It took almost exactly three years from when I wrote my first sentence to receiving the offer from HarperCollins. Then it took another 16 months after the offer for the book to be on bookshelves.
The idea for the book had been stirring since the summer I turned 13, when my mother sent me to New York City to visit my grandmother, who was a science fiction author. My grandmother led a very eclectic lifestyle. I remember we never did anything until late afternoon, and then we stayed up until 2 or 3am. Sometimes, we went to dinner as late as 11pm. When we returned, she’d sit down to write until very early in the morning. She told me she did this because the middle of the night was when people said and did things they normally wouldn’t. She had a collection of porcelain owls, because they were creatures of the night. She studied paranormal events. She discussed things like inner motivations and secret desires. She helped me to write my very first story that summer, and stayed up all night typing it so I could have a real story like she had. At thirteen, it was my first real writing lesson.
She worked very hard that summer revising a novel entitled Chrysalis of Death. And one day, we met her literary agent for lunch, and after listening to them discuss how my grandmother could make her characters into whomever she wanted, I decided that someday, I’d like to be a writer, too. So after I told her this, my grandmother proceeded to send me books about writing techniques, books by classic authors, and literary essays for every birthday and Christmas holiday after. In most of these books, she would write inside the cover, “K: Write what you know. “ One of my favorite books she sent to me when I was deep into a teenage poetry writing stage was a volume of poetry by Emily Dickinson. Inside this book she wrote: “Emily Dickinson is a revered poet. Perhaps the same can be said of K.H. someday. Love, Grandma Eleanor. “
When she passed away, she left me a big box with all of her unfinished manuscripts in it, which have been a tremendous inspiration to me.
So because of all of the encouragement she gave me and to honor her, I decided that when I sat down to write my own novel many years later, that I would name my main character after her and give her a grandmother very much like my own. In fact, because I remember her revising Chrysalis of Death the summer I visited, I decided to include it in The Year the Swallows Came Early. So on page 148, my main character and her best friend find this manuscript along with a few of her others stories. I included her book inside my book.
She never got to read even the first draft of my novel. But I did send it to her agent, Phyllis Westberg, four years ago, who is still alive and working in NYC. After reading it, my Ms. Westberg made the comment that she thought my grandmother would have been very happy.
WT: How different was your final draft from your first draft? Were the themes consistent? Any surprises?
KF: As far as themes go, the final draft was very similar to the first draft. But the format, the chapter orders, the way things were laid out; those all changed quite a bit over the course of three years. There was one good surprise. I had changed the title of the book probably twenty times while I was writing it, but Brenda Bowen, who was the editor who bought it, asked if we could change the title to The Year the Swallows Came Early, which was the exact working title I had used while writing it. So even though I had used many different tiles over three years, (mostly because I couldn’t decide on what I wanted) we went back to my first one. I suppose some things are meant to be.
WT: I noticed you were at the SCBWI Summer Conference. What was the highlight for you?
KF: It was either Richard Peck’s speech, or Sherman Alexie’s speech. Both made me tear up and want to be a better writer. And actually, while I was listening to Richard Peck, I was so inspired by him that the idea for my newest title came to me about half way through his talk.
WT: I read that you’re working on a companion book for The Year the Swallows Came Early. Anything you can tell us about it?
KF: Yes, thank you for asking. The companion book is about one of the other characters in Swallows, named Frankie. It’s written from his point of view, which took some getting used to. I had to separate from Eleanor, which was where I’d been for three years, and get into Frankie’s head. I think it took me a good six months before I was able to think about him without thinking of how Eleanor saw the world.
WT: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
KF: I enjoy walking my dog, Holly, and I spend a lot of time on the pool deck watching my two boys play water polo, or at swim meets. I also like to think up first lines as I see things happen around me. And, I’m kind of a neat freak. I like to clean out things. Give me an unorganized pantry or garage, and a trash can, and I’m happy.
WT: How has your teaching experience impacted your writing?
KF: Every day we had twenty minutes of uninterrupted silent reading right after lunch. I think back a lot to the books my students chose to read over and over. They are the same books I love today. Honestly, I hope someday I can write one of those books that kids wait in line to check out from the school library, or use their lunch money to buy at book fairs. That is a well written book.
WT: How do you stay in touch with the writing community (e.g. critique group, SCBWI, social media, etc.)?
KF: I attend many writing conferences each year and am part of a terrific critique group which meets once or twice a month. I also twitter and facebook, like many other writers do. I am also a part of two fantastic author’s networks. The Class of 2k9, and AuthorsNow.
WT: What have you enjoyed reading recently?
WT: Any writing/revision tips you’d like to share?
KF: I am no expert; I have a lot to learn myself. But I suppose I would encourage writers to join a critique group because it’s a very good way to get honest feedback that helps you see what you’re missing. Sometimes I learn more about my writing by critiquing their writing because I can be objective with someone else’s work, and so it helps me to be more open to receive criticism from others. Like everyone else, I enjoy hearing positive comments about my work, but it’s the criticism that helps me grow while I’m writing my first drafts. I can open my book to most any page and see a line that one of my critique group members wrote or revised. I can see whole paragraphs and chapters that were inspired by a question one of them asked. I’m so thankful they cared enough to push me.
Don’t forget to comment for a chance to win a free, signed copy!
Thanks for reading!