Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Blog Tour--What, Why and How I'm Writing

I met Stephanie Kelley at WIFYR last summer, when we were both part of an amazing workshop with Martine Leavitt.

She's been kind enough to let me join her blog tour. For some great photos and details about her work in progress: http://stephik.blogspot.com/.

Yes, I admit I didn't follow directions. I eat dessert first and run with scissors, too. Yesterday I answered question 3 of the list she gave us, "Why do you write what you do?"

Here are the rest of the questions.

1. What are you presently working on?

My "Lawnmower" book. I have a child with Asperger's Syndrome, and wanted to write something from the point of view of a boy with those kinds of limitations.

My MC's lawnmower isn't quite this elaborate, but it's a great picture, isn't it? Love that helmet.*

#2, How does your book differ from other books in this genre?
Several years ago, I had the idea for a story about a boy who converts garbage into mower fuel, then takes his riding mower on a long-distance adventure. That story never made it past the first chapter, but I liked the lawnmower idea.

After I wrote my first draft, I read other books with characters on the spectrum, including MOCKINGBIRD, ARTURO IN THE REAL WORLD, and THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF A BOY AND A DOG.

As for my story, I never wanted a "problem novel" about ASD. What I've striven for is a story about normal things like fear, friendship, and not fitting in, with a dash of getting chased by cops and thieves. From the MC's unique perspective,even ordinary events can be terrifying. So, why would a boy who hates leaving his house decide to drive 300 miles on a riding mower?

I hope sometime you'll have the chance to read the book and find out.

#4, What is your writing process? This is something that's evolved over my 14+ years of writing. I used to be a pantser [writing by the seat of my pants], but learned that as fun as that can be, it's not the best approach for someone like me who doesn't enjoy editing. Now I outline, and re-outline. And even though my outlines tend to be long-winded exercises where I ask myself, "Where is this going?", it's worth doing.

I've also begun making story maps with details of each scene. This helps me make sure I have the right elements in each, and that my scenes have their own mini-story arc.

Incidentally, these approaches have helped me hate editing a little less, because I have a specific focus. Speaking of which, I've suddenly spent a lot of time blogging when I should be editing. Maybe this is a better procrastination method than online shopping, but it's time to get back to work.

* photo, http://www.forkparty.com/21852/23-tricked-out-lawnmowers-pics/11-39


Stephanie Kelley said...

What an interesting idea. I have an ASD son also--and so does Lee Ann!

Becca said...

Are you serious? I need to get advice from you both!

Amy White said...

Love hearing more about your projects! Keep it all coming :) Never give uP!