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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Writing goals

I’m an avid reader and my tastes are pretty eclectic. I enjoy reading novels by Rosamunde Pilcher, Maeve Binchy, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Khaled Hosseini, James Patterson, Anne George, Haywood Smith, Robert B. Parker, Nelson Demille, Paul Theroux, and the list could go on. 

I also enjoy reading biographies and autobiographies of all kinds, travel writing, collections of short stories (especially by women British, Scottish and Irish authors for some strange reason), educational blogs, writers’ blogs, interesting articles bounced around through my network of contacts on Twitter, and anything that tickles my curiosity.

Why did I decide to pursue writing more seriously?

I guess that because I love reading so much,  I finally figured that maybe I could possibly be able to write. Sometimes, after relating something that happened to me, people would say that I should write about some of my experiences. I’m not exactly the kind of person who would want to bare her soul to the world. 

Authors like Rosamunde Pilcher and Maeve Binchy who write seemingly simple, everyday life stories which connect with people made me wonder if I could write simple stories with appealing characters and enough of a plot that someone might actually want to read and possibly enjoy.

I didn’t send any of my short stories or articles to magazines after my first course with the Institute of Children's Literature last year. I’m not sure why. I enjoy writing and revising more than I enjoy the idea of selling the goods. I think I knew that what I really wanted to attack was a novel. 

Last winter, I read that by writing around 1600 words a day, you could write a novel in something like 100 days so I started to write about 1600 words a day on days that I sat down to write. What came out of me was not a children’s novel, nor would I classify it as a young adult novel either. The protagonist is well into her 40's. 

I’m hovering around 80 pages or 20 000 words. I decided to aim to write about 500 pages and chop it down to around 300, hopefully removing the most dreadful parts. If I could convince someone to publish it someday when I’ve polished it all up, well, that would be awesome and well worth a feast with my friends.

I started trying to write a kids’ novel in the early 2000’s before I had ever taken a writing class.  That was a couple of imploded laptops ago and I think that all I have left are some notes in a spiral notebook and on 3" by 5" index cards. These notes could be a start or I could start from scratch.

 I’d like to write a humourous, contemporary novel about a bunch of kids and their adventures in a small village with miles and miles of forested hills surrounded by lakes, streams and rivers. I’d like to develop the characters so that different kids could identify with at least one of the cast. I know that I won’t want to write about magic, witchcraft, vampires or fairies. 

If I let myself believe that I could get my act together and really accomplish something, I’d really like to be able to write novels reminiscent of Jeanne Birdsall’s The Penderwicks, Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia, Louis Sachar’s There’s a boy in the girls’ bathroom (never mind ever writing anything like Holes!!!), The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatly Snyder or Michael Morpugo’s Kensuke’s Kingdom or Kaspar, Prince of cats  or a young adult novel like Louise Rennison’s Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, or Brian Doyle's  Easy Street (but set in the present).

Ultimatly, I’d like to write the kind of books that my students would enjoy reading. I enjoy writing in English so I’d have to translate them into French because 99% of my students are francophone.

So here I am blogging again this morning instead of...well you know how it goes if you're reading this. Maybe both you and I should get off the net and work on the books that have been caged in our brains just begging to be set free.

You go on ahead, I'll catch up after my next cup o' coffee.

1 comment:

  1. «I know that I won’t want to write about magic, witchcraft, vampires or fairies. »

    Hé hé ! Il reste les zombies... :-)

    J'ai hâte de voir les descriptions des personnages.