Ahhh -- that's the sound a writer makes when she gets to spend the afternoon at home WRITING.
This week, I get to concentrate on teaching and writing -- and I get to reflect on Montreal's Blue Metropolis Literary Festival, which ended yesterday. Besides participating, I went to 10 talks and readings, so I have lots to reflect about.
Yesterday, I went to a panel discussion on writing about childhood. During the Q&A period, I asked all three authors whether they could share any tricks for "accessing" the world of childhood. (Of course, if you're a young person reading this, you don't need tricks -- lucky you, you are IN the world of childhood and you'd better write about it NOW!!)
Montreal author Ann Charney said solitude -- alone time at the computer -- helps her access the childhood world. Montreal author and Blue Metropolis founder and director Linda Leith said she uses memory to return to childhood. "I recreate memory by focusing on details," Leith explained. And Patrick McCloskey, author of the non-fiction book The Street Stops Here, talked a little about how he got young people (the subjects of his book) to open up. McCloskey said his tricks were: "being there and patience." All three writers' words have stayed with me... especially since so much of my writing life requires me to step back into the world of childhood.
I have finished the final draft of Junkyard Dog. Am taking a short break to meet up with a friend -- then I'll start the final revision of The Middle of Everywhere (both these books will be out next fall with Orca Book Publishers). Soon, I'll have marking to do, too... then after that's done, I'll start a new manuscript. The prospect makes me a little nervous, but also VERY HAPPY. Talk to you later this week!
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Hi Monique its great that you finished the draft of junkyard dog. My mom asked me to tell you some questions like how do you feel if the company doesnt buy the draft also i will be looking out for your books at my nearest book store. Keep happy and keep writing! From : Amber
Hi Ben, Now I'm curious -- are you one of the students I spoke to last week? If so, what school do you go to? I saw so many students last week, I was unable to keep track of them all!
Hi Amber! Are you feeling better this week? (You were under the weather last week.) Tell your mom that now that I've published a bunch of books, my publisher buys the rights even before I finish the first draft. Much better than in my early writing days when I had to keep my fingers perpetually crossed. My experience is that the hardest part is breaking into publishing; once you demonstrate that you are reliable, can meet your deadlines and do careful revisions, a writer is more likely to get more contracts! Have a good week! Say hi to your mum for me!!