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Honoring My Writing Process

I have two big writing projects now: the editing of my next Gold Rush book and the first draft of my Alcan Highway book. The two manuscripts are in totally different stages, and I’m trying to honor the process for each one.

 

Worth Her Weight in Gold is a novella I wrote last year, and the prequel for Fools Gold, so it’s the next book to be released by Prism Book Group. My editor Bev Haynes read it through and wrote editing notes, and I got them on Sunday. I took my time to look them over, then started making the changes she suggested. The most difficult one was dropping the first couple scenes and starting in another place. Deleting the pages was easy, but I wanted to add the pertinent information the reader needed. I had to figure out where and how to do that. Then there were typos to correct, repeated words to fix, that kind of thing, I find that when I’m revising, I do better to make short passes, not try to do everything in one session. If I take the time to look at it more than once, my eyes (or brain?) can see things they didn’t pick up on the last time. So I have to honor my process and let it happen instead of trying to do it all in an all-nighter. I sent Bev my next draft and now the ball’s back in her court–I assume we’ll go through several rounds before the book is ready for primetime.

 

The Alcan book doesn’t have a title yet. It is set in Skagway, AK and parts of Canada where the Americans and Canadians built the Alcan Highway. (It is how we got many supplies to Alaska, which we needed as part of the war effort.) I’m enjoying the 1940s.  My weakness on writing first drafts is trying to fix each word and get it perfect, instead of writing the whole first draft first. If I let myself do that, then I get bogged down at the beginning of the book and it takes forever to finish it. So I am trying to stop that tendency, just let myself write bad pages knowing I’ll go back and fix it later. Once I gave myself permission to do that, I moved much more quickly. I ran it by my SCBWI critique group to see if I’m on the right track, but I’m going to keep moving forward on it. I’m now about a third of the way through the draft, and hope to finish it this spring.

 

As an English teacher, I taught the writing process: prewrite, write, respond, revise, edit. Now I am practicing those things in my own writing, and I have to honor that process. I can’t expect to write a perfect book the first time my fingers hit the keyboard. Thank goodness I have great people on my side–thanks to Bev and my critique partners for their help!!!

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I love to share my passion for Alaska and its history in my writing for young adults and their grown ups.

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