Monday, March 17, 2014

A Joke

My six-year-old came home from Tae Kwon Do and said "Mommy, I have something to tell you."

I looked at him.

"Knock knock," he said.

"Who's there?"


"Irish who?"

"Irish you a happy St. Patrick's Day!" he finished triumphantly.

Happy St. Patrick's Day indeed.

He's wearing a green belt here, so he can't be pinched. In case you wanted to know.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Writing Process

I finished my third book last week! Don't get me wrong: it's the most problematic of all my books, largely because I tried this new process for it (a sort of hey-I-like-Roald-Dahl-and-Maniac-Magee-maybe-I'll-try-to-write-like-them-even-though-they're-crazy-different-and-I-don't-have-a-plot kind of process), and...well, it didn't work very well. But at least my draft is done (and I have a killer concept for my fourth book!).

Anyway. This got me thinking about process, and all the ways writers can write. Some writers love making soundtracks for their books, others (me!) can't listen to music while writing at all. Some writers are meticulous planners, and others wing it all the way (I think I'm a mixture of both, although I'm still figuring that one out). Some writes can include a deft political agenda (like Barbara Kingsolver) while others (me again) need to focus solely on character and story or their book turns out problematic (see my third book, above). So here are some facts, because they're interesting, about various famous writers and their quirks:

E.B. White couldn't listen to music while writing, although he could listen to ordinary family noise.

Joan Didion would write, then go over her pages that evening with a drink. The next day she'd edit what she did the day before based on her evening notes.

Ernest Hemingway wrote in the morning.

Kurt Vonnegut also wrote in the morning, did teaching work in the afternoon, and slipped push ups, sit ups, and a swim into his daily routine.

Rick Riordan claims in this interview with Jonathan Stroud that he has a loose outline when he starts writing, that he spends a couple months researching the start of each book, and that he spends four to five hours daily with broken-up writing.

Jonathan Stroud also spends time planning out scenes before he starts a first draft. He aims for about 25 pages a week (even if he claims he often misses that mark).

Maya Angelou would write in the morning and early afternoon, then edit what she'd written in the later afternoon. Oh, and I love how she said "Easy reading is damn hard writing," because it is true.

Barbara Kingsolver became a mother and a writer on the same day. She says that it takes her hundreds of pages to find her first page.

I want to find more, but my sister is now on my phone. Let me know if you have any favorite writerly processes (yours or famous writers'), and have a lovely Tuesday!

Books! That are produced by writers with processes! I love writers...