As part of the 2014 Contemporary Scavenger Hunt I am so excited to welcome author Jenny Hubbard to my blog. I was a big fan of William C. Morris Debut Award Finalist book, PAPER COVERS ROCK and Jenny's new book, AND WE STAY sounds equally delicious. I've got it on the top of my books to purchase list!
Jenny has written a thoughtful and useful guest post about how she writes!
Jenny Hubbard: How I Write
Every writer’s process is different. There is no one path to follow that leads to a complete novel. But here are a few things that I do that help me get the job done.
I don’t try to write every day of the week. That’s either too much pressure or, given my non-writing life, too unrealistic. I write five days a week. When I first started, I treated it like physical exercise: an hour or two in a single sitting.
At the end of a writing session, I leave off in the middle of a chapter, the middle of a paragraph, the middle of a sentence, even. That way, it’s much easier to dive right in the next time I sit down at the computer. If I leave off at the end of a chapter, I’ve found that it’s harder to get started again, with all that blank space staring me in the face.
Before I reread what I’ve written, I produce at least 25 pages, and preferably 50. I’ve learned the hard way not to edit myself too soon. And I’ve learned to give myself permission for the first draft to be messy, weak, and flawed.
I’m often asked how to combat writer’s block. I have now three sure-fire weapons in my arsenal.
1) I go for a walk with my dog Oliver to clear my head, where the story is jumbled, and, if I’m lucky, a thread will unravel itself so that by the time Oliver and I get back home, I’m able to sit back down and weave it neatly into the narrative.
2) Because I also write poetry and plays, I simply switch genres. Working on an entirely different piece for a little while recharges me.
3) This is the one that works every single time: I take ten pages of the book I’m working on and start over from a different point of view: same story, but a different character telling it. The voice in both of my published novels arose as a result of this process. (In fact, I wrote the entire books over using different point of view, but if that seems too daunting, try ten pages.) Finding the right voice, the right perspective, for your particular story is probably the most essential part of novel-writing.
And what do I do once a finish a complete draft? I set it aside for a week, and when I return to it, the real craft/work/fun begins. The art of writing is in the rewriting. Rinse, lather, repeat, over and over again, and you might very well have a novel in your hands.
If you'd like a chance to win an audio book of And We Stay, please comment below. (US only)
When high school senior Paul Wagoner walks into his school library with a stolen gun, he threatens his girlfriend, Emily Beam, and then takes his own life. Soon after, angry and guilt-ridden Emily is sent to boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts, where two quirky fellow students and the spirit of Emily Dickinson offer helping hands. But it is up to Emily Beam to heal her own damaged self, to find the good behind the bad, hope inside the despair, and springtime under the snow.
A former high-school and college English teacher for 17 happy years, Jenny now practices what she preached: the discipline of rewriting, which, in her humble opinion, is the key to a writer’s success.
Thanks so much to Jenny for a wonderful post!!
If you live in the US and would love to win a copy of Jenny's Audio Book, please comment below. One winner will be randomly drawn from comments on October 31 at midnight.