Editor Cheryl Klein has a collection of wisdom and inspiration available on her site. Knowing how thoughtful and generous she is with her brain, I’m excited about her upcoming craft book, Second Sight: An Editors Talks on Writing, Revising, and Publishing Books for Children and Young Adults – looks like it’s chocked full of tips.
Last week on her blog she posted an interview with author Franscisco X Stork and included a link to her behind the book process of edited this award winning (as well as poignant and compelling) YA novel Marcelo in the Real World.
The idea that struck me was this:
“…I decided to try something I’d never done with an author before, and I asked Francisco to write me a letter about the book, how it started for him and what he wanted it to explore and to say. He responded with a three-page essay that showed both his ambition, in articulating a hero’s journey for Marcelo, and his compassion, in identifying the thematic ends that journey would serve…”
This is something writers can do for themselves as well, at different stages of the writing process. Write a letter when you’ve just started a new project – fill it up with the questions and thoughts that have you excited about diving in. Use this as a reminder as to what you hope to accomplish and answer.
Then, as you make your way, you may find that you are not actually writing the story you thought you were. Time for another letter. A re-visioning letter to accommodate your new insights.
And/or you could write yourself a letter for revision. Again, find that spark – that heart of the story – what really matters to you in writing this story. Use the letter as your guide as you cut and re-create. These letters could be your “headlights”…
“Writing is like driving in the dark in fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” – E. L. Doctorow
Sarah Wones Tomp
WRITING ON THE SIDEWALK