Monday, October 28, 2013

Kidlit Blog Tour

The lovely Amy Sonnichsen tagged me in this blog tour and I'm so grateful because I've been at such a loss for blog topics these days! (Anyone else?)

What are you working on right now?
The Oyster Book is a working title. I'm in the very early stages of writing it. 

How does it differ from other works in its genre?
Hmm.  At this point, I'm just trying to understand my main character's story. I'm learning that she sees the world differently than most. She works on an oyster farm. She works mostly with her hands and her heart. And she has very unique abilities. I would like there to be a dream-like quality to the book, a question of what is real and what isn't. 

Why do you write what you do?
What a question. While I'm always trying to understand who I am as a writer and what I'm doing (really, what am I doing?), I write what I write because I believe that the real world and the ordinary lives we live are interesting and beautiful. I believe the smallest moment or the shortest exchange of dialogue holds infinite truths and possibilities, not just in a sentence or a story, but in our lives. 

How does your writing process work?

I've written two novels and rewritten another. Each time it's different. What stays consistent, what I am reluctantly learning to accept, is that I'm a slow writer. I have to do a lot of dreaming before I can even begin. I do a lot of wandering and exploring through a first draft to understand. Then I do a ton of rearranging, expanding, rewriting, researching, and tossing out words through multiple drafts. I send to trusted readers only when I think I've done all I can. Then I consider their words and revise again. 

Any departing words of wisdom for other authors?
I once read this odd little book (the title escapes me) by a real-life musician explaining all he learned from a mythical teacher. There was a small but meaningful section on 'intention'. The author felt that the intention of every note he played on his guitar could be felt by an audience. So if his intention at a particular gig was to get through it, make connections, or earn a paycheck for the night, the audience would feel that. Same if his intention that night was to experiment or be playful or to play a song he loved. 

I always think back to that complex but beautiful idea. So, at the risk of sounding as hippy dippy as possible, whether we write playfully or with conviction, whether we're working with what we love or fear, we should write each word or play each note with the best and truest of intentions, so that it can be felt. 

I hope Meredith Moore and Laurel Garver will continue the grand tradition of the Kidlit Blog Tour because I'm curious what they are working on!  


  1. I loved reading this, Melissa! I was just about to tag you for this same tour, so I'm glad I checked. :)

  2. Ooh, thanks for tagging me--I'll definitely have to blog about this sometime this week! Also, love your description of The Oyster Book--you hooked me with "a question of what is real and what isn't." :) LOVE books like that.

  3. Thanks for tagging me! Yep, I struggle for blog topics at times too. (Though not alliteration. LOL.)

    I hear you on the slow writing. I expect having day jobs is a piece of that for us both. Concentrated time to focus on nothing else enables me to be most productive--something I rarely get.

    Loved the intention reflection. Really something to that, I think.

  4. Hippy dippy, I love it! Write from your soul and edit later. Can't go wrong.

  5. Sometimes I just *think* about my story for days without writing anything. It's like there's a roadblock between my brain and the paper that'll only clear away once I've finally gotten everything into place in my mind. Slow writers unite :)

  6. I'm a slow writer too. I muse over a new idea for weeks or even months before I type a single word. Then I type lots of "notes" (my version of an outline).

    You must be channeling George Carlin with the "hippy-dippy" phrase!

  7. Loved reading this, Melissa. I would pick up a book with this title as it immediately appeals to me.

    I have been 'off blog' for some time, so I missed your comment on my blog when you returned from Wicklow. 'It' is from my new book, is the answer to your question. I won't say more as this is about your post, in which, along with the musician, you pick out what is true to creativity, in that every note and every word counts for something and does, indeed reach out to the reader or listener. I think that that is what is so enticing and compulsive when creating, that nothing is to be lost, to slip away unnoticed.

    Also, it is so encouraging to hear from other writers, out there, in their comments. Somehow, one is not alone .... or slightly odd!!

    Thank you!