I have recently had the pleasure of being tagged by the wonderful poet and author, Lorraine Marwood; a lady whose friendship I treasure and whose poetry makes me gasp in awe and pleasure. Please check out her website at http://www.lorrainemarwood.com and the answers to her blog-tag questions at lorrainemarwoodwordsintowriting.blogspot.com.au
Lorraine has kindly asked me to answer 4 questions for you:
Q: What are you currently working on?
A: In the last couple of months I’ve done a lot of writing, but also a lot of re-writing. Some of that work was directed towards story submissions for anthologies. Some was for picture books for a particular publisher and two new picture books were sent to my agent. I’ve just finished 17 new poems about creatures in rock-pools and the sea, for a companion picture-poetry to Silly Galah!, which will be called Silly Squid!
So, having finished that title just days ago, I have taken a breath and am now collecting ideas for a new picture book – for the very young. I’m excited about that!
Q: How does your work differ from others in your genre?
A: I think it comes simply from being who you are and what your passions are. I think then your voice and your background and concerns and style become the essence of what makes your work different from others. Often you are not aware of it all because you might consider that’s just your natural way of writing. It sometimes takes another reader or writer to point out the differences.
Q: Why do you write what you write?
A: I really do love words. So that’s the barest bones for me. I love putting them together in pleasing ways, either to form poems that resonate; picture books which need careful handling so I’m creating ideas that give space to the illustrator; short stories that
must grab the nub of character and action in a concise way; information books where words are selected and sharpened to give accuracy as well as enjoyment and finally, giving rein to words
when writing novels, allowing them to ride further and deeper.
I write what I write to release unknown ideas, thoughts and images that are inside of me and, because I have a key, with writing, I have a wonderful chance to let them out, even though the process is mostly not as simple as a key turning in a lock.
Although I have written short stories and poems for adults, my work is always primarily for children. I think that’s because I really like sharing that world. I am a noticer of small things, like children, and I live life through my senses. I love that children are my readers and my audience.
Q: How does your writing process work?
A: I wish I knew!
If there’s a magic process that fits all occasions, then it’s elusive. I come at each new poem, or story in a way that seems different each time; but I guess there are some elements that are similar.
I do write down interesting conversations, images, character traits and so on, in notebooks, and I do trawl through them from time to time. Often I’m astounded at the number of things that have caught my attention, but it’s usually only a relative few that will impact deeply enough to one day evolve in some writing form.
The rest becomes practice. It’s training to be observant. It’s staring surreptitiously at people and assuring my family that it’s research!
From that point on, if something needles me long enough, I start thinking about where it might fit: does it contain imagery or concentrated emotions that could be worked into a poem, or possibly used as a trigger or underlying idea for a picture book?
For longer stories I jot down ideas, and do a lot of brainstorming and planning.
Mostly my initial work will be with pen and paper and only when I start to feel a sense of satisfaction, a stirring in my stomach (!!) will I attempt to begin – even a couple of words – onto the computer. From there I switch back and forth for a while, computer, pen and paper, and back to computer again. Eventually, I work completely on computer and print out drafts to read and re-work from.
It’s rare that a fully-formed idea announces itself – but I have found some poems and stories materialise easier than others.
Nothing like it!
Now, who’s next on the blog-tag trail?
Introducing a wonderful friend and outstanding author, Rosanne Hawke. Watch out for her blog next week, Monday 31st March, on rosannehawke.com. She’s sure to have some fascinating information for you.
Rosanne Hawke has written over twenty books for young people, including Zenna Dare, Marrying Ameera, Mountain Wolf, Shahana: Through My Eyes and The Messenger Bird, winner of 2013 Cornish Holyer an Gof Publishers Award for YA Literature. Taj and the Great Camel Trek won the 2012 Adelaide Festival Award for Children’s Literature. Her new book for young readers in June is Kelsey and the Quest of the Porcelain Doll. Rosanne was an aid worker in Pakistan for seven years. She now writes in the underground room of an old Cornish farmhouse near Kapunda and teaches Creative Writing at Tabor Adelaide.