April 24th, 2012

Refreshed, Revitalized, Ready to Revise

After I've been out in the garden on a stupid-sweltering SoCal Saturday, gasping behind the lawn mower or uncreaking my back after weeding too long, a cold drink and a muscle-soothing shower are so refreshing that I almost (almost) want to head back outside.

That's exactly how I feel about my writing, with a Schmooze and a conference behind me, another Schmooze to look forward to tonight, ALA looming on the horizon, and revisions cutting deep and healing smoothly in my MG fantasy manuscript.

At the aforementioned conference, a comment from one of the speakers jogged something loose in my brain, exposing a dilly of an idea that I can't believe hadn't occurred to me before. And so I've been on a major chapter book jag, reading some excellent books, some very high quality series books, and some not-so-great books--all of them educational in their own ways.

Naturally (since my elevator pitch describes my book as Junie B. Jones meets the Brothers Grimm in a coming-of-age fractured fairy tale), I had to spend some quality time with Junie B. If you're struggling with voice, I suggest you do the same. I wouldn't dare to suggest that this kid is fictional--she's waaaaaaaay too real for that! And her real-life friend, Barbara Park, is probably a certifiable genius. Case in point: in one of Junie's adventures, she explains that she can't eat because her stomach feels "squeezy." I admired the adjective then--you've had that exact feeling, haven't you?--but when I went through the book again to study it (rather than just enjoy reading it), it occurred to me--not only is "squeezy" perfect on its own account... but it's also exactly how a kindergartner like Junie B. might pronounce "queasy." Genius.

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