Meridith blog photo

Meridith’s art

Hilarious writer/illustrator Meridith Gimbel tagged me in a Blog Hop to discuss “What’s Your Writing Process?” (Check out her fun post here.)

As for my ever-changing habits, here goes:

What am I working on now?

Two projects stay open on my lap top since I cannot seem to work on one without the other tapping me on the shoulder.

The first project is LIFE WITH FESTY (a middle grade fantasy about an adventurous boy stuck with an overbearing boggart as his mystery-solving partner). An intense critique of the first 54 pages from the incredible Eric Elfman (co-author of Telsa’s Attic) left me with loads of changes and ideas on this story such as how to amp up the dialog, increase conflict between characters, and reflect their personalities better.

Second project on the table: DEATH LOVES CHOCOLATE, a novel about a father and daughter’s odd and endearing relationship as they say goodbye.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

My stories show the magic of the everyday world, whether it is a boy who hears whispers in the wind, or a daughter who watches her father spray bare areas of the lawn with florescent green paint while he wears suspenders with no shirt.

Why do I write what I do?

These stories found their way to me. When a funny British boggart invades your psyche with adventures and quirky comments, you’d better write them down or he’ll never shut up. (By the way, he wants his own line of merchandise.) His point of view has made me more aware of nature and how it stirs our imagination and reflects our emotions. Call him a muse maybe, but whatever he is, I owe him for waking me up in many ways.

On the women’s fiction end, the story began as a journal of Dad’s silly antics or sayings, but it morphed into a coping mechanism when we knew he only had a short time left to live. We found that love may be your emotional life raft, but laughter keeps it afloat. (Sometimes in nothing but underwear out on the deck where neighbors can see him–ugh.)

How does my writing process work?

My writing partner

My enthusiastic co-worker

On a typical day, I jot down any idea I wake up with (dialog, a scene, a “I-need-to-change-that” realization). With the idea recorded on my computer (or a cash register receipt, or cable bill), I turn to the more thoughtful process of what I had planned for the day. I also give myself timelines on when I want a next draft to be complete. (Without a goal, cleaning closets or other world saving activities would take over.)

I usually work outside on the patio with my writing partner (okay, dog) who lets me read aloud to her. I used to write as the story came to me until I found the book SAVE THE CAT with descriptions of the beats every story needs. Now to complete timelines of “what needs to happen when” to structure the stories and cut back on extra scenes that weigh down the action. (Insert a bow and a kiss to the comedic Blake Snyder.)

Okay folks, time to tag the next player in the MY WRITING PROCESS Blog Hop. Visit the rich colored world of talented artist and writer Wanda Collins Johnson:

Wandas photo

Meet Wanda Collins Johnson

“I make art. I am one of those people who began painting as a small child and never stopped. My art and poetry are a record of the mystery of life as it unfolds to me, like keeping a diary. In contrast, my work-in-progress novel, a YA mystery, is pure fiction… except for the parts that are not! Like most writers, I do put elements of my real life into my fiction, such as the part about building and living in a cardboard house in the woods when I was an 18-year-old Thoreau wannabe. I’m a member of SCBWI, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. You can see some of my art and writing on my website,”

Photos courtesy of Meridith Gimbel and Wanda Collins Johnson.

Debbie Emory

Making Magic Out of Everyday Moments