Today is the kick-off for the weekly Tuesday 12 x 12 series, which, each week will feature a pre-published 12 x 12 participating author and/or illustrator. I hope this series will enable you to get to know these hard-working, talented people a bit better, and that you will discover some fabulous blogs to follow along the way.
I am thrilled to welcome Stacy Jensen today for the inaugural post in this series. Stacy was one of my first regular blog followers, and she also hosted me on her blog for my very first guest post. She is generous with her time and talent, and you can find the myriad ways to find and contact her at the end of this post. Without further adieu, here is Stacy.
Write Without Rules
Do you ever get confused about what to write? I do.
I read about writing rules on blogs and in books. I hear, “Oh, you can’t do that” in critique groups. Or, “That’s a tough topic in this market.”
As I’ve been studying the craft of writing picture books, I decided to say “No more” to this chatter when I write. I turn off the rule checklist, stare at a blank piece of paper and go for it.
Last year, I wrote my first intentional picture book manuscript for a Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators’ retreat. As I faced a deadline, I researched the basics of how to write a picture book, but realized I needed to scrap them and just write.
Here’s what I did:
I wrote in rhyme. I’m not very good at it. I should be in rhyming jail, but I did it anyway.
I drew a map of my main character’s neighborhood. I’m not an artist, but the black squiggles helped me visualize where my main character misbehaved in the story.
I studied my ABCs by creating a list of words for my story. It pushed me to not only consider the setting, but also the things, people and places my characters encounter in their world. Plus, I had to find logical items for Q, X, and Z.
I gave myself permission to be a newbie. I signed up for the retreat to learn. I submitted my manuscript to the published author in charge and my small group with no regret.
My drafts are layers in a larger project. Each draft is helping me reach my goal of submitting polished stories to an agent or publisher. I spend non-writing time studying trends, writing tips and word counts. These rules are applied to my story during the revision process.
Just like my son doesn’t like to hear “No” all the time, neither do the stories in my head. They just want to escape and explore the page for a bit before reality reels them in.
So, I’m writing my 12 x 12 in 2012 drafts like there are no rules.
How are rules part of your writing routine? Can you live without them or do you need them?
Stacy S. Jensen worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for two decades. Today, she mothers a toddler at home, one boy in her picture book manuscripts, and a memoir manuscript. She does this with no rules in mind during the draft stage. You can find Stacy on her blog – http://stacysjensen.blogspot.com, Twitter – http://twitter.com/StacySJensen, and Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/StacySJensenCategories: 12 x 12 in 2012, Authors, Guest Blogging, Picture Books, Rhyming, SCBWI, Works in Progress, Writing · Tags: 12 x 12 in 2012, Guest Blog, Julie Hedlund, Picture Books, SCBWI, Stacy Jensen, Tuesday 12 x 12, Writer, Writing