Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What Else Do You Write?

Some of you might know that in addition to trying to write MG novels, from time to time I work on stories for young kids who are learning English.

Writing for kids learning English requires some different writing skills than working on a longer piece or a novel. I enjoy the challenge of trying to fit in a repeated phrase or language structure that readers can learn, while trying to make a very short but interesting story. I also learn little bits about the culture and life in Korea, even though I've never been there, because it affects what I can include in a story (places or sports kids are familiar with, activities they might do, etc).

Whenever I write one of these beginner reader stories, I always write too much and then have to pare it down to it's simplest form. It's a different way to work then when I write novels, which are often too sparse and seem to need to have more detail layered in. (Of course, then I often end up removing it again during revision round #27.)

What kinds of writing do you do? Does one kind of writing help you with another?

12 comments:

  1. How wonderful that you write those stories! I don't write much outside of MG, unless you count grocery lists and location poems/clues for our annual Easter Egg Treasure Hunt Extravaganza :)

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  2. Occasionally I write a funny limerick - but mostly I stick to MG and YA novels.

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  3. I do a lot of writing for my day job -- technical manuals, white papers, engineering specs --- yawn LOL.

    But it does help me write more concisely though.

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  4. Beside MG I also write picture books. Definitely a different technique, one needing lots of details, the other keeping the details to a minimum to let the pictures to the work. My writing is definitely never boring!

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  5. So great you write these stories! My friend, Lisa Theising, writes similar stories also for a Korean market - I wonder if you work for the same company? :)

    I think all kinds of writing end up complementing each other in some way.

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  6. How great! I write MG and nonfiction picture books, also very different. One requires detail, the other needs to be pared down to the essentials to allow an illustrator to fill in the rest. The factual information from the NF finds its way into my novels, though.

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  7. Oh, it's so cool to see all the different kinds of writing you do.

    Jess, I write lists too, but I like the treasure hunt clues (I know that takes special skill).

    Alison, it's neat how the facts from your nonfiction writing weave their way into your novels. As a child, I remember learning so much from the books I read.

    Jennifer, I used to write picture book manuscripts, and it was definitely challenging. I keep thinking I'll go back to it one day.

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  8. Wow, those stories sound like a great writing exercise! I love picture books for the same reason. A plot in less than a thousand words, the fewer the better. I find it's great practice for thinking about story structure. Your post makes me think I should try my hand at another one of these days...

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  9. Anne, you're right about how the word limits really does make you focus on the story structure. It's so hard to tell a meaningful story in only a few words.

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  10. I do regular writing assignments for a devotional magazine. It's like blogging or column writing in that it makes you come up with different things to say on a regular basis about a fairly well defined topic. I also love the challenge of revising a very short story to the lowest word count possible -- so tight it squeaks!

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  11. I think it's so cool that you write for a Korean publisher! It is interesting how different genres really do require different ways of doing things and different sets of skills.

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  12. Christy, there are some basic skills but you do have to think in a somewhat different way. It really does pare the story down to a bare minimum. Definitely a challenge, as Marcia says.

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