Writing quote

Sure, it's simple writing for kids...Just as simple as raising them.
— Ursula K. LeGuin

Monday, May 26, 2014


Hello, Everyone! I can't believe half the year has just about gone already and my last post was back in January. Yikes! I'm so glad my SCBWI friend Erin Dealey (Deck the Walls, Goldilocks has Chicken Pox) asked me to join the Writing Blog Tour because, obviously, I needed someone to light the fire under my butt to get me to my blog again. Not that I don't LOVE blogging. It's just that when life gets busy, it's one of those things that gets shoved to the bottom of my to-do list. 

I was just at a play performance yesterday where my play "Playing with Knives" was part of a short plays festival. It was a co-winner for audience favorite! I was on the playwright Q & A panel where we talked about the process of coming up with the idea and writing the plays - an always fascinating inside look at each writer's creative process and how ideas are formed and come to fruition.

So, welcome to:


Check out Erin Dealey's writing process here.

What Am I Working On?

Currently, I'm working on a humorous, multicultural contemporary middle-grade novel with supernatural elements, ie. a guardian angel. I also have a young adult project that's sitting on the back burner, and another middle-grade idea that's threatening to distract me from the project I'm working on, so I'm trying very hard to not look at those notes until I'm done with my book. I'm a bit of an Attention Deficit writer so keeping to one project at a time is a real challenge for me. I also have a completed picture book manuscript that my agent is sending around. So, keep your fingers crossed for me that it'll find a home!

How Does My Work Differ From Others of it's Genre?

This is a difficult one to answer. As a writer, you'd like to think that your work is truly original, but then I've heard it said that there are very few truly original ideas out there. Oftentimes, it's how a writer handles the idea/plot/twists that makes it original. The bad news for writers: you really have to find that twist or angle that will turn your story from run-of-the-mill to sparklingly brilliant. The good news: there are TONS of ideas to steal from—Shakespeare (apparently, his ideas weren't original either), Grimm's fairy tales, Mother Goose, and even more contemporary writers (Stephanie Meyers, JK Rowling), although the market is over-saturated with vampire romances so you might want to give that a break for a little while. 

My last three books (and ALL my works/ideas in progress) are multicultural.

According to the Cooperative Childrens' Book Center of the University of Wisconsin-Madison (CCBC), out of the approximately 5,000 books that were published in 2013 and 3,200 books that came into the CCBC, only 90 were written by Asian Pacific Americans and only 69 were about Asian Pacific Americans. That's about 2.8% of the books at the CCBC written by Asian authors and 2.16% about Asian characters. So, hopefully my current multicultural works will fill a significant void in children's literature.

Why Do I Write the Types of Books I Write?

I've always loved kids. And I've always loved creating stories (ever since I was about 11). Writing for children was one way to combine these two. At one point, I thought I might try my hand at writing an adult novel, but I have since discovered that I have absolutely NO interest in writing for adults. When adults read a book, they might recommend it to a friend or family member if they really enjoyed it. When children connect with a book or story they read, you can see it in their entire being: the wonder and awe and joy they feel is so apparent in the way they touch the book, or ask for the story to be read over and over again, or ask questions I had never even considered, or want to talk endlessly about the details of the book or the characters. As a writer, this is when I really get the sense my book has touched someone. And when I can connect with those kids in person at a school visit, that's when being a children's author is really special!

How Does My Writing Process Work?

It tends to vary project by project. Sometimes, it starts with a vague idea of a plot, sometimes with character, sometimes with a situation. For picture books, I usually dive right into the writing after I get the idea and somewhere along the way, it'll assume a fuzzy shape. But this shape is far from perfect, so after I have a very messy first draft, I'll try to sharpen the focus by storyboarding it or dummying it to make sure there is enough illustrative potential on each page, tension, character development and all the necessary story elements. Then it goes to my writer's group and sometimes a few select beta readers. The revision process takes a long time because I tend to be a perfectionist so even picture books can take 10 - 15 drafts before I have something I'm comfortable sending out. I haven't had a novel published yet, but I find it helpful with my current longer projects to have a general outline to go by. A chapter-by-chapter outline is a good road map. I don't always stick to it and I change things around constantly, but if I forget where I'm going, I can always have it to look at and help me get back on track.

I was supposed to tag three other writers for this blog tour, but out of all the writers I asked, only one could participate.

So, I'd like you to meet...

Terena Scott:

Terena and I met when our ten minute plays were both part of a ten minute play festival. We later collaborated on a play together for the Ukiah Player's Theatre 24-hour play festival. Terena and I are now members of the Underground Writer's Guild of Ukiah. She is also the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher at Medusa's Muse Press, an indy publishing company specializing in non-fiction and memoir. She is a playwright, essayist, and she writes books for young readers. Terena also teaches workshops on publishing books. Her book, Be A Pro: The Start up Guide for Publishers, will be available in E-book June, 2014.  

Terena will be posting on the Writing Process Blog Tour next Monday, June 2. Check out her blog here!