The Writing Process Blog Tour has stopped in my neighbourhood.
In the past 9 days I’ve been invited three times to participate in The Writing Process Blog Tour.
The questions are:
What are you currently working on?
- I blog a new poem daily on http://www.shawnbird.com/blog.
- I’m currently finishing a ‘gritty’ Young Adult (YA) novel about date rape and cyber bullying as part of Camp NaNoWriMo. This novel has been in progress about 6 months, and I’m hoping to have it wrapped up by the end of the month.
- I’m presently sorting through 300 odd poems, choosing the best 50 or so in each of 2 themes to submit 2 collections (i.e. 2 books) to a publisher in the next few weeks.
- I am about to come back to the next two books in the Grace Awakening series which have been on hiatus for the last year. They’re written, but now it’s time to come to them with fresh eyes and do the necessary re-writes before submitting them to the publisher who’s asked for them, hopefully that will be done by the time I go to Calgary. (see below)
- I will be presenting 2 workshops at When Words Collide writing conference in Calgary August 8-10, so I’m getting those ready.
- I’m also working on a Master’s degree in Education, and teaching at an innovative high school focused on project based learning (when I’m not on strike or summer vacation) where I teach English (translation: writing & literature), Drama, and am Career coordinator, counsellor, and the school librarian.
How does your work differ from others of its genre?
My current poetry tends to be conversational in style. I make observations that are often snap shots of something seen. Other times they’re commentaries, but always they are short, frequently just 3 or 4 lines, sometimes a page, but rarely longer.
My novels focus on teens who are like my students: full of contradictions, dreams, and barriers. I feature small town Canada (or big city Canada in the case of Grace Awakening Dreams), sometimes mixed with supernatural elements.
Why do you write what you do?
I started writing a daily poem on my blog in response to the feedback I received from readers. It’s been very good discipline, and I believe my skill has improved since I’ve been doing it over the last 14 months or so.
I write YA because I’m a high school teacher and I feel like I can reflect messages and stories that my students relate to.
How does your writing process work?
I might notice something on the way to work, and ponder it a bit, spinning various phrases until a poem emerges. I might record it before I get started at work or during my break, or perhaps it will foment all day, or for a couple of days. Other times, I need to post a poem, and without any plan I open the “new post” form. In the title box I type: ‘poem-‘ and then the next word or phrase that comes to mind. I’ll type whatever comes in response to the title, and if it feels right, I’ll post it right away, or I’ll let it simmer a bit, then come back to tweak it a bit in an hour. (I always feel free to tweak, even poems that have been up for years).
During the school year I don’t settle down to write until 9:00 p.m., or so. I’ll work until midnight during school days, later on the weekends.
In the summer, it’s really hot here during the days, and it remains light until after 9:00, so I don’t tend to start writing until closer to midnight. I write through the night until 3 or 4:00 a.m.
With Grace Awakening Dreams and Power, I ‘quilted’ writing scenes from all over the novel and once I had about 120,000 words, laid it out and figured where everything went, and wrote the filler.
With the next two books in the series, told from Ben’s point of view, since I had the framework already, I just had to expand on what was happening in the mythical Other Realm.
I was introduced to Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat last year. He lays out of a format for plotting a screen play. With my latest project, I prepped all the key events following that model. Now I can just flip through the chapter headings (‘crisis with best friend,’ ‘discover betrayal,’ etc), pick one that appeals, and write it. I’m still writing all over the place, but the structure helps me be efficient with my writing time. I confess, I sometimes miss the adventure of not knowing where I’m going, even though I don’t plan any of the specifics in the pre-plotting.
I invite the following writers to join the tour!