Today I get to pick your brain

When my head was in the sand last week, apparently it was Delurking Week. Having you been lurking here, but hesitated to speak up?

Well, introduce yourself! Please! Who are you? Why are you here? Add a comment – stay anonymous if you want, but give me a couple hints about why you stroll down this forest path.

Why am I asking you to pull aside your invisibility cloak? I spent most of yesterday putting together a list of updates and changes I want to make on my website. This got me thinking about the blog and why I write here. A big part of why I write this blog is participate in a community of like-minded people. But I think I need to be clear about what is on your mind.

What do you want me to write about on this blog? What should I never, ever mention again? Want more pictures? Of what? Do you want more stuff about the writing process, or should I never use the word “deadline” again in a sentence?

And on a much more significant note, he never had a blog, but Dr. King knew the power of the word.

161 Replies to “Today I get to pick your brain”

      1. Re: I followed a link from SDN’s lj

        I’ve enjoyed everything, but I have to say, if I had to choose one kind of post and one kind only, I’d opt for the sort in which you are tackling a new project. Very instructive and inspiring.

  1. I’m a writer, I’ve read Fever, Speak, and Catalyst, and I read your blog because you’re an intriguing person. I’m Laura, 17, and from Massachusetts.

  2. I love reading the blogs of other YA writers! It’s a great way for readers to feel connected to their favorite novelists (and vice versa)…

    PS: pictures are cool…

  3. I’m Runa, I’m 15, and I’ve read all your books. Speak is the greatest thing I’ve ever read in my life, and it had a huge impact on me. Thank you so much for writing, whether you know it or not, your books have helped people find their voices.
    Anyways, I love the blog as it is, I think it’s just great that you find the time to interact with your readers. Keep up the amazing work!

  4. I’m a middle school language arts teacher … I’m here mostly because I love YA lit (obsessive reader of anything, really), partly because I like to think sometimes about writing myself, and partly because I’m curious (my husband would say “nosy”). 🙂

    Also, I see my students read your books and be touched by them. Anything or anyone that can create a reader where there was not one before is worth knowing. 🙂

      1. re: your first comment: I blush. Thank you.
        re: your second comment: I’ve enjoyed that, too. There will be more music discussions coming up because I want to develop playlists for all of my novels. Maybe your students could offer their suggestions….

  5. I’ve been blogging since July, and slowly finding and reading other writer’s blogs. And I’ve learned it’s more fun to read someone’s blog when you’ve read that person’s books (I think I’ve read all of yours, as have my children). CATALYST is my favorite; they prefer SPEAK.

    Since you asked, I like reading about writing: the process — the ups and downs and sideways of it — and I also enjoy hearing about new books that I can’t wait to go check out at the library or the bookstore.

    Best wishes,
    Jennifer J. Stewart
    (former lurker)

    1. Yay for CATALYST! I’m really glad you said that.

      I really need to post some draft pages someplace so you guys can see the changes I make/made.

  6. Occasionally I’ve popped in here with a comment and probably seemed like a weird, random person for doing so… Anyway, I’ve been reading your blog for awhile, but started reading your books back when I was in middle school (I’m now almost done with college, eep!). I probably found the link through sdn’s journal.

    I love reading authors’ blogs, especially the ones that give insight into both their writing and personal lives, if that doesn’t make me sound too stalker-ish! I love hearing about how your WiPs are coming, so certainly keep up with those posts! I also like the aforementioned idea of writing prompts. That sounds very cool.

    Also: over the holiday break I picked up the platinum edition of SPEAK for my plane ride. I think that they are coming out with special editions of books (especially perennial favorites like SPEAK) is the awesomest thing, quite possibly ever.

  7. Hi, Laurie! My name is Jenny Han, I’m a middle grade author. So, of course, I really enjoy reading about your writing process and your books. Love the blog! (And the books!)

  8. ’tis me!

    I’ve read Speak and Catalyst multiple times. I picked them up because when I was substitute teaching, i was impressed at how the kids came in, grabbed a copy of Speak and sat down to read. No questions or anything, even the boys and we all know how much reading the typical 9th grade boy does. So I grabbed a copy to see what all the fuss was about. Impressed me enough to pick up Catalyst as well.

    I really enjoy your writing style and the life that you breath into your characters. I lurk around here because I like reading about the writing process and learning snipettes of info about someone who can capture a reader the way you do.

    Sarah, 26, MD

  9. I’m an English teacher and a wannabe writer, and what I like best about your blog is its intimacy and casualness. It lets me pretend I’m friends with a Real Live Writer. (: I like best your posts about your day-to-day life, your writing, and your family, and I mine them for insights to share with my students; I get least excited about the posts that erode the fantasy a little by alluding to the role of the blog as a marketing tool. To be completely honest.

    1. Yeah, this is a tough fence to walk. On the one hand, I really like blogging in general. If I were unpublished, or someone not interested in writing as a profession (very hard to imagine) I think I would put in a lot more personal stuff. But I am public, in a small way, and that makes my family more public than average, and I am very sensitive to protecting them. If they want to blog about their lives, I figure that is their job, not mine.

      And then to marketing. This is a part of the larger art vs. business discussion. It sometimes feels crass to bring in things like book sales, marketing, etc into the arena of art and craft. But the truth of the matter is that if I don’t sell enough books I shall have to go back to working for a paycheck and will be able to write maybe one book a decade instead of one a year. (On the other hand, I might get health insurance if I did that…. a tasty thought indeed.)

      And on the fifth hand….. you can see my muddle. I am trying to strike the balance between personal and private and public, craft and marketplace, community and self. That’s sort of what today’s query is for, to give me a wee bit of direction.

      I really appreciate your honesty with this. Thank you.

      1. Which is not to suggest that you were being insufficiently personal or even that you ought to mention less of the marketing stuff. It’s true that I love some posts better than others, but the blog upgraded me from Casual Speak Liker to Fan-Club Member — I get to imagine that I like YOU and not just your novels — and that’s good for me and for my students and also for you, and I’m comfortable with that. (:

        And your replying to our comments here? Totally the biggest thrill. (Don’t tell Neil Gaiman, or he’ll start doing it too.)

  10. I’m an English teacher, and I read Speak a few years ago (before I became a teacher) and loved it. I think I found your blog through Sarah Dessen’s and I’ve been reading both of yours for a while. I just like to hear about writing and when you answer questions about your books, etc.

  11. I’m a teen librarian at the San Antonio Public Library.

    When asked about my favorite YA books, or even my favorite books of all time, Speak is always near the top of the list.

    1. That makes me feel really good. Thanks.

      I think they are sending me to Texas on booktour in March. Stay tuned to see if I’ll be in your part of the state. Texas is so big, I could do the entire tour there!

  12. Not a lurker

    I am not a lurker. I do reply to some of your entries.
    As a teacher I use your journal to help my students. When you offer or discuss your writing process I share that with my classes when we are writing papers. So please don’t stop sharing about your writing process.
    I also read your journal as a source for information. You share web sites, links, or ideas when you come across them and I thank you for that.
    Your journal is a way that I unwind from school everyday or so. I come home and read your journal along with a couple of other YA writers to relax.

    1. Re: Not a lurker

      Excellent! Thank you for sharing that… I will think of you chilling out after a long day in the classroom now. 🙂

      (Tell your students I said hi.)

  13. I’m a public librarian, and I heard you read at the Kalamazoo Teen Lit conference a couple of years ago and thoroughly enjoyed your talk and getting to meet you briefly. I like the mix of your blog, getting to read about everything from your writing process to stray cows in your yard! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Kalamazoo is one of my favorite place-names ever, and was also one of my top-five conferences.

      We never did find out what happened to the wandering bulls. I like to think they escaped to Canada.

  14. hi, i’m abby. i’m 18, and not a teacher…which seems to be the theme, haha. Speak and Prom are my favorite of your books. I’ve read speak a billion times, i just love it.
    i read your blog because i find it interesting, and as far as any improvements…i don’t know about anyone else, but i’d love to see more updates about how new books are going, etc.

    1. I always worry that if I post every day about what I am writing, I will bore you to death, because most of the time I want to post “I hate my writing, hate it, hate it” until I finally get to the last magical draft when I really fall in love with it.

      Will ponder this.

  15. I’m Caitlin. I’m a reader who wishes she could write. I’ve read all of your (published) YA books, which I love. I’m a college student who loves reading, music, and theatre.

      1. I can write like I can sing: I have the ability to do it in general, but can’t do it well. Also, I have started probably 10 books but can only write a chapter or two before running out of ideas or getting bored.

  16. I’m Heather, now 21 and in college majoring in English and Elementary Education. I wrote you a letter when I was in high school because I loved Speak so much, and somewhere in the middle of those years decided I’d like to try writing YA novels, too. I appreciate anything on the writing process so I know what to expect.

    1. Expect a low income and high degree of satisfaction. Expect to make great friends and expect to read a lot. Expect to want to fling yourself off a bridge from time to time. Expect you will resist the temptation. Expect joy and it will find you.

  17. I’ve been a lurker for a few months. I love getting glimpses into your writing life (I’m an aspiring YA author). In one comment, you mentioned posting draft pages — that would be awesome! Thanks for taking the time to blog. 🙂

  18. well, I guess I could be considered a lurker. I read your blog (which I found on your website) because I have read two of your books, and absolutely loved them. I thought it was great that you had a blog because most writers just seem very elusive. It’s interesting to see that you’re just a normal person and I also like to see how you go about writing and even procrastinating! 🙂

    1. “Normal person”…. you should run into me at the grocery store some day when I’ve just come from the gym but I was too lazy to wash my hair and I am in danger of consuming the entire bakery case.

      1. Yah, but that’s normal. I mean, you should see me after I’ve finished a day of classes, I have to drive an hour to teach and then come back for a play practice. By the end of my day, I’d be up for attacking a bakery case too! 🙂

  19. Delurking. I’m Colleen, a writer trying to sell my first middle grade novel. I came to your blog after discussing your works (SPEAK, PROM) in my writers group.

    I enjoy reading about your writing processes and author visits. Favorite blogs: when teenaged readers ask questions. You answer with consideration and respect for their opinions.

    Thanks!
    Colleen Cook

  20. I do comment occasionally, so I’m not quite a lurker.

    But I guess never really introduced myself. I hope random people commenting doesn’t creep you out :/

    I’m Sarah, and I’m 17. I love all of your books, but Speak and Catalyst are my favorites. I want to be an author some day, so you’re a big inspiration to me. Pictures and stuff about the writing process are what I enjoy most in your blogs, but I like anything really 🙂

  21. I suppose I should officially de-lurk myself as well. My name is Michelle, and I’m 23 years old. I graduated last May from UNC Wilmington, and I am also a writer, but to pay the bills I work at a little independant bookstore. I first read Speak when I was in high school, and it holds up to this day as one of my favorite books.

    Thanks for your blog. I love the writing process bits the best, but it’s all great. And it’s always nice to see you reference Millersville and Lancaster, PA, because I grew up in York, just across the Susquehanna.

    Again, thanks for writing!

  22. I’m Little Willow. I’m a bookseller by day, as well as an actress, singer, and dancer, in addition to my freelance PR/webdesign and book reviewing work.

    I posted my Speak playlist at my book blog, Bildungsroman, this weekend.

  23. Sure, I’ll delurk 😉 But I haven’t been lurking particularly long…

    I’m Anne, I’m a 25 year old undergrad/English major at UC Davis. I’m here because last quarter I took a Children’s Lit class at school which was absolutely brilliant! The last book we read at the end of the course was SPEAK, and to risk sounding cheesy, it really spoke to me. lol. Reading it was an incredible experience for me – I had a hard time even putting it down. I wanted to read it in one sitting because I was so hooked, but it wasn’t possible. The book left such a strong impression on me though – I went out and rented the movie pretty quickly after reading it, and I just couldn’t get it out of my head. I saw in the back segments that you had a livejournal, and soon after discovered that one of my close friends was following your journal as well, so I decided to check it out.

    I personally AM very interested in reading about the writing process or anything related. I’m focusing on writing in my degree and my favorite genre to write is YA.

    I haven’t been here very long, but I love reading your LJ! Thanks for being out there and being accessible to people who are interested in what you do!

    Oh, and PS – Speak is to date the only thing I’ve read of yours, but I’m looking forward to going through the rest of your work!

  24. Identification

    Hi Laurie.
    My name is Bridgette, I’m 14 years old, and live in Minnesota. I’ve never commented before, but I’ve been reading and enjoying your blog for about a year now. Mainly, I like the stories and pictures about your life and the writing process, as they allow me to gain insight on the amount of time and effort that goes into creating some of my favorite books. In addition, the stories and pictures about your life make me feel like I know you as a person, as opposed to a writer who just supplies me with good books. Anyway, I appreciate all the time and effort you put into writing your books and blog, it shows! I wish you all the best.

  25. Kerry Madden, Gentle’s Holler

    Laurie,
    I heard you give an amazing speech at SCBWI in 2004 – I think it was 2003, I believe…It was so good – and you had to speak in the afternoon after a long of speeches, and you rocked…and you listed these rules that went something like this:
    Find the stories hiding in your heart and write them down
    Write and polish them with the tools of our craft
    Submit them intelligently
    Lather, rinse, repeat…

    I submitted GENTLE’S HOLLER that Monday to Melanie Cecka at Viking and they bought it five months later. (Melanie was the morning speaker – it was at Claremont near Pasadena)

    I know I’m saying the rules wrong, but I have it written them down correctly, and I quote you all the time in my writing workshops for adults and for kids…

    You were also very sweet to me when I brought my daughters to your signing at Vroman’s in 2005…Gentle’s Holler was just about to come out and you wished me great luck and gave me a hug. I love your generous spirit and the way you treat kids. My two daughters so enjoyed meeting you too…and my daughter, Lucy, who isn’t that hot on reading, or wasn’t, read SPEAK in 2003 and came home from school and said, “I felt like reading this book at lunchtime? What is up with that?” You hooked her!

    Love
    Kerry

    1. Re: Kerry Madden, Gentle’s Holler

      Well hello and many, many congrats!!!! I am so pleased that you remember the speech! Wow. I’m sure our paths will cross again one of these days – please be sure to bring me up to date on everything. My best to your girls!

      1. Re: Kerry Madden, Gentle’s Holler

        Thanks, Laurie…it really was such a great speech – it was a hard time in general, writing-wise for me, and you gave back such joy with your words. And it’s hard to talk after lunch – that was I thinking before you spoke, and then you spoke…and you spoke from the heart.

        I’ve been very fortunate…Gentle’s Holler is a PEN USA finalist and received a Mark Twain Nomination from Missouri. I love do the writing workshops with the kids. The companion novel, Louisiana’s Song, comes out in May, so I’ll gear up for more Appalachian workshops…I get the kids to write about their favorite secret places.

        I’m working on Jessie’s Mountain and that comes out in 2008 – it’s a huge, plotless mess, but that’s kind of how I do it…

        Anyway, Happy New Year! My best to your family and thank you! I’ll tell Lucy and Norah you said hello. Hope our paths cross too.

  26. De-lurking

    I’m a teen who has read (and loved) all of your YA novels. I read your blog a couple times a week for up-dates about WIPs and to pick up writing tips. Please keep up the good work!

  27. I’m a semi-lurker… I think I replied to maybe two or three of your previous posts but I’m always reading your journal!

    I’m Amy, I draw a graphic novel called “Sorcerers & Secretaries”. We were both in Rochester for the Teen Book Fair at Fairport high school last year, and that’s how I was introduced to your amazing work. At a time when I was feeling creatively low, Speak really inspired me and reminded me of the importance of what we do as authors.

    And more recently, you posted about your woes as a writer trying to untie a plot knot. I was going through the same thing at the time, so it was great to hear about it from someone working in a different medium. It just reaffirmed my feelings that it’s all about the story, no matter what the medium (even video games!), and I was excited to tackle my own plot knot again. So you have a great blog! You can blog about whatever you’d like, I think even the posts about the everyday things help.

  28. I started reading your blog just a few days ago. I looked up your website after I finished CATALYST last week. I read SPEAK a while ago and really loved it. It’s one of my favorite books. And, like many others here have mentioned, I’m an aspiring writer, so I love to read about successful writers’ experiences in publishing. SO, I would love to hear more about the writing process. Thanks for asking!

  29. hello. i’m amanda i’m 19 and from oswego. i hadn`t read your books until afew years ago when i was talking to a woman who worked with me at rudys. she told me that she was your sister and that i should check out your books. after i finished speak i read all of your other novels and i love them all. you are really an inspiration to me because since i was little i wanted to be a writer.

  30. Delurking

    I guess I’ll delurk, too! I’m Olivia, and I’ve been reading your blog since early 2006, before the Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival, at which you spoke! I was on the planning committee for that, and escorted Brent Hartinger around for the weekend. I didn’t really get to talk to you at all then, but I’m on the 2007 TBF planning committee, and I know it will be another wonderful experience!

    I enjoy reading your blog for the day-to-day stuff and the writing. I am always looking forward to your next novel!

    1. Re: Delurking

      Hi Olivia – please come back and tell us how the TBF goes this year. I had such a blast there – thanks for your help in making a great day.

  31. I have had an LJ blog for about two years now. I picked up a copy of your book Speak (after watching and falling in love with the movie) and in the back of the book, it mentioned that you also had a livejournal. I was interested to learn more about you, why you wrote the book, how you put together the most beautifully constructed sentences, etc.

    I’m glad you linked Dr. King in this entry. I admit, I first became interested in who he was when I was younger because we share the same birthday (January 15), but I have a lot of respect for this man and what he has done.

  32. Guilty of lurking… English teacher, working in a special education school in Queens, NY. Barely have time to breathe, let alone respond to anything. I try to read as much worthwhile writing as possible- your blog qualifies. I of course love Speak, putting you and Francesca Lia Block at the top of my YA author list. Love reading about your writing process and, most of all, your musings. Enjoy anything random- I am a sucker for random tidbits of information.

    1. I am stoked to be in the same sentence as Francesca Lia Block – she is one of my heros.

      Random fact of the moment – i think i am getting a cold/bug/stomach something. Ack.

      1. 6 books I can honestly say changed my life, in no particular order, generally chosen due to the effect they have had on my own personal writing style and view of the world:

        1) The Unbearable Lightness of Being (Kundera)
        2) Dangerous Angels (Block’s Weetzie Bat Books)
        3) Speak
        4) The Passion (Jeanette Winterson)
        5) The Bell Jar
        6) A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (Eggers)

        So yes, you are among gods.

        The most pleasing thing about your blog: you appear human. Evidenced by the fact that you are responding to the numerous comments by lurkers 😉 Much appreciated.

  33. Hi,we’ve “talked” before.I am a Substitute Teacher and a Writer. My daughter met you at a book signing .She read few of your books, and I saw a movie or two.Keep up the good work! But if my”lurking”and occasional comments bothers you ,please take me off your “Friends “list.For more info check my profile.

  34. My name is Deborah and I’m a middle school teacher. I love your books because they are wonderful and because they have helped teachers like me break through the “cannon” barrier and teach books that kids actually enjoy reading.

    Write about the process, write about your opinions, write about anything. I really enjoy reading your blog as it exists now. A blog serves its purpose as long as it entertains and enlightens, which your blog does, so thank you!

      1. Oops. . . I suppose one of the side effects of not wanting to teach the canon is not being able to spell the word “canon.” 🙂

        Or is it the other way around? In any case, the end result is the same and I will never have to muddle through The Crucible with 8th graders again! Ha ha ha!

        p.s: I think it’s so cool that you’re responding to all of these posts. Thanks for your wonderful work.

  35. i’m steve, 21. i followed babymowgli’s lj. she introduced me to speak. i love your blog. it makes you seem more real… it reminds me that “celebs” are “real people.” your writing in your blog is humorous and insightful. i enjoy reading it tremendously.

    1. It is so weird that anyone who ever call me a celeb. But I am really glad you are hanging out here. I will do everything in my power to convince you I am not a celeb.

  36. My name is Dennis, 19, and I am a college freshman. I read Speak and Catalyst during junior year of high school for fun. Around the same time i came across your website, and eventually your blog, while searching out more information on you as an author and as a person.

    I reply to an entry here and there so I guess that doesn’t make me a lurker in the true sense of the word.

  37. Hey, I’m Alison and am a fourteen-year-old writer from Virginia. I’m here because I’m a huge of your work and your blogs interest me a whole bunch. I think more pictures would be amazing. =)

    Ali.

  38. Song, blog, and King

    Man, you already made the list. That makes me sad because today my friend and I traded her DS for our other friend’s iPod so that we could find emo songs for your playlist. You may not need them anymore, but here they are (they may not fit because it’s kinda hard to match songs to a book you’ve never read, but we tried to match it with the description):
    “X Amount of Words” – Blue October
    “Ugly” – The Exies
    “Knife Called Lust” – Hollywood Undead
    “Through Glass” – Stone Sour
    Those Fray songs might be good and you can’t really do emo without Hawthorn Heights, but we got bored with emo and ditched the list after a while.

    Who am I? Why am I here?
    Well, I started reading your blog because you are my favorite author. I used to want to be an author until last year when I realized that I didn’t really have enough discipline to do it. I mean, I probably could if I really tried, but I’ve found something else that I think will suit me better. I continue to write though and I continue to read this because you’re still my favorite author and I just think you’re interesting.

    I like how your blogs keep us up to date in the reading/writing world (like the Oklahoma libraries separating YA books with sex in them). I also like when you talk about music because that’s another thing I love. You really don’t talk about music a whole lot, but when you do it makes me smile. I like the random blogs too; they’re funny.

    We had to read King’s “I have a dream…” speech this summer for AP Language, and it gave me shivers.

    1. Re: Song, blog, and King

      Not to worry! I’ll be adding to it, plus publishing an extended list on the website. Thanks for the suggestions.

      King is/was one of the greatest Americans. Ever. He is the kind of man who makes me proud to put my hand on my heart when I sing the National Anthem.

      1. Re: Song, blog, and King

        After re-reading my blog, I realized that I did not introduce myself. So I am Leah, 16 (17 in less than a month), from Arkansas. I also didn’t specify that King’s speech gave me shivers in a good way.

  39. hi….

    i’m always reading your posts, even if I don’t leave a comment, so yes I guess i have been lurking. I just made a LJ account, so all of my past comments and a few questions were under anonymous. I have read all of your YA books (I won that Speak DVD contest you had a while back) and my favourite is Speak. I can’t wait until March when Twisted comes out. I live in Canada and have a German Shepherd / Border Collie mix. I’m in grade 10 and I am dreading the fact that exams are very soon. I like reading about your writing process and think it would be really interesting if you gave background information on your books. Such as why you choose certain names for your characters, basically the stories behind the details in the books. (Hope that makes sense.?) Anyway, I read your journal because I find it insightful, funny, and because you understand what teenagers go through. Thanks.

  40. i suppose i shall “delurk” as well…

    I have read your books Speak and Catalyst. They are both very high on my list of favorite books however Speak is my favorite of the two. I really enjoyed the movie too. I live near Syracuse, NY and found the site through your neice April and her ex-boyfriend Ryan’s site (I go to school with Ryan and have talked with April a couple times). I haven’t really been reading this blog long though… just a couple weeks.

    Oh, I suppose I forgot to introduce myself. I’m Hilary, and I am 17 years old. =]

      1. Re: i suppose i shall “delurk” as well…

        Aww, I think it’s so cool how you reply to everyone. It shows that you care about your readers and fans!! You seem so sweet! =]

  41. I suppose I’m a semi-lurker. I’ve made a couple comments and I think vaguely introduced myself at one point, but since I can’t remember if actually did or not…

    I’m a YA novelist currently working on my first novels (I have four in various stages of incompleteness) and my MFA at Hollins University in Roanoke, VA. I live in Christiansburg, which is the town next to the Virginia Tech campus (Blacksburg).

    I visit this blog and others to feel a little closer to the writing community and because I like to read about how even published authors still need to deal with things like plot knots and distractions. Also, I love to see information on revision, editing, proofs, deadlines, etc. because I honestly find all that interesting (I’m a big writing dork).

    I can’t remember exactly how I found your blog, but I remember being very excited (Laurie Halse Anderson! She wrote Speak!). Thanks for all the updates, happy writing!

  42. I’m just a crazy relative halfway across the country reading this to stay connected, but I stop by every day just like a cat follows the same terrain on its daily jaunt. Your random musings inspire me. I printed out “Salt Potatoes” yesterday so I could read it to my husband and talk about the joys of upstate New York.

    I think showing us the process of writing is fascinating and important, but please don’t leave out the random musings. They are part of your genius. Reading them fires me up and inspires me to write and respect my own inner thoughts.

    Hugs! Aunt B

  43. Hi Laurie!

    My name is Melanie and I’m 22 years old. I’m a recent grad of SUNY Oswego and work in Billing.

    I’m here b/c one of my friends from school told me about your blog. We’ve had discussions over your book Speak, particularly during our Take Back the Night events we hosted with our Women’s Center.

    As others have said about Speak, it really did change my life. I really learned how to find my voice after the abuse I suffered when I was a young teen. Your writing is so moving that I almost felt like I was Melinda at times. I think more people need to read it and I’m glad my high school started recommending it more. I found Speak after being recommended it by a helpful librarian when I was working on a book report.

    I’d like to see more of your writing (if possible). Maybe bounce some ideas off of us like you’ve been doing lately? Pictures are always nice. 🙂 I also like to hear about the different events you attend, particularly school visits.

    Ok I’ve rambled on enough. I have now been delurked.

  44. Delurking

    My name is Diana and I’m a junior in high school. I have read Speak, Prom, Catalyst (must re-read, it’s good for seniors and juniors especially), and Fever 1793 (was that the year? It’s been a while). I can’t remember how i found your blog. But on the 2nd visit or so, i bookmarked it under “inspirational”. i read your entries to relax because your entries are interesting no matter what. they make me remember that superstars, writers, actors, etc, are normal. they also make me want to eat salt potatoes because i’ve never had them and i love potatoes. mmm.

    I would like you to write about whatever you want without feeling self-concious about your readers.
    Thank you 🙂

  45. hi laurie! this is holly. we met briefly up in bellingham, washington when you came to WWU’s Children’s Lit. Convention. I just wanted to introduce myself again and tell you that I love your blog and you should definitely keep posting about the writing process. I am working at Barnes and Noble in seattle, wa. and have a few WIP’s myself going on. I can’t wait until Twisted comes out, I am excited that it will be from a boy’s point of view.

  46. *waves*

    i’m pretty sure you already know that i read this and that i’ve commented from time to time. sara ryan, coincidentally also planning website updating & upgrading at the moment… 🙂

      1. You just made me laugh tea on my keyboard. There are a couple of other guys here. They are the coolest guys around. You’re in the club, too.

    1. “Also, it’s my only chance to see snow.”

      Hehe, ditto that. It’s actually freezing down here in Austin and I slipped outside because there was ice. We’re not used to such things.

  47. Hi,

    Wells, my name is Rebecca. I am here because I love your books and I love to write, so I like to keep up with what other writers are doing. I like hearing about the writing process and the publishing process and all the other processes in between. I’ve been reading your blog for several months now, and it’s awesome. 😀

  48. Well, let’s see… Back in the dark ages (1999), I was on Amazon.com, looking at the books that had come out that year for my annual Hanukkah list. I came across Speak, and I was instantly struck by the book cover. I looked at the description and I INSTANTLY knew this book wanted me (oh, books choose me, not the other way around). My grandmother got it for me. It turned out to be one of the last gifts she got me, as she died the next March.

    I remember DEVOURING the book. It was December and we were having issues with our power and I remember screaming when the lights went out as I was in the middle of reading.

    I know this is going to sound cliched, but your style of writing very much had an influence on me. And I thought it was the BEST representation of how High School had felt to me. I didn’t go through what Melinda did, but the feelings… were just so real. Speak immediately became a favorite of mine, and I still re-read it often. This is why I love reading your journal! I think you’re great!

    Also, I have been an aspiring writer since birth–okay, 3rd grade. Whatever. 😉 And I enjoy hearing about your process and the events you go to and participate in. Plus, I have a degree in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing. It is my JOB to keep up on writers! 😉

  49. de-lurking…

    My name’s Sarah, and I’m a university student in Canada (Kingston). I have yet to read your books, but they are at the top of my list for when I have spare time! I read your blog because it makes me feel less alone, somehow, when I am sitting in my room at school. I like reading about your running because I am a runner too, I like reading about your writing process because I wanted to be an author for most of my childhood, and I like it when you answer questions/comments from readers. But most of all, I like that you take a bit of time in your day to share your thoughts with us! Thank you.

      1. Re: de-lurking…

        ::waves back::

        There’s usually a Kingston/Limestone half marathon that also has a 5k run at the end of April/beginning of May. As well, there is a Wolfe Island 5k/10k run in July, I think? (Wolfe Island is a 20 min ferry ride from downtown Kingston – it’s beautiful).

        Right now though, it’s loosely packed snow for us, as the challenges of winter running begin!

  50. I am an academic librarian, from very close to your neck of the woods. I also work pt at a bookstore. I was recommending books for a friends daughter, and was looking into yours and came across your blog, and started reading. I enjoyed reading it, so I stayed.

    Besides, you have a Xena icon. Who doesn’t like Xena?

  51. I’ve been reading here forever. Speak is one of my all-time faves, and reading your day-to-day life as a writer is endlessly inspiring. Thanks for sharing it all with us! Dawn (avengingsybil.typepad.com)

  52. I’m Heather…found your LJ from Sarah Dessen’s, I believe. I knew of you because a friend recommended Speak to me a few years back. I mostly read your blog to find out things about your upcoming work, as well as things related to your past books. 🙂

  53. I’m Jenny, I’m 14 and I live in Stratford! I read Speak when my Dad brought it for me, it’s strange though, you wouldn’t think my dad would be good at choosing books!

    I love reading your journal, I think my favourite entries are when you write about writing. And the really random snippets of things that happened in your day!

    I have commented a bit before; it’s kind of cool to see how many people don’t post comments, because most of the journals/communities I read, I never post on. 😀

  54. I’m Jess. 16. From Cincinnati Ohio. I come here because I love you and your books and they way you treat and respect and yearn to understand teens. Your blog is fun and inspiring and something enjoyable to read each day or every few days.

    I want you to write about whatever you damn well feel like writing about. It’s YOUR blog. There is nothing you should never mention again because I enjoy it all. And, lastly, as an aspiring writer, I love hearing about the writing process. In fact more write more about it.

    Oh, and do post more pictures. Maybe of your kids? Or hubby? Whatever you like.

  55. Hi! I just wandered here, because I came home from Hodge Podge Books, and a wonderful visit with Frank.
    Were your ears burning? We were talking about you! Singing your praises.. gushing over your talent!
    We chatted about conferences, past and future! I am sorry that you and I haven’t met, I was in the audience at Rutgers, soaking up inspiration and then again at Frank’s!

    I think you should write whatever you want! I just wandered over to read about the life and times of a fabulous writer! No pressure or anything.
    Laura

  56. I would love to know more about Twisted, your writing process and how your books evolve. Also, different drafts of your books. Plus, tell us about your new works in progress.

    I am a first grade teacher in St. George, Utah. I have taught fifth grade and seventh grade as well. I am a writer, too. I think your stories and books are amazing!

      1. No, I don’t. But, I guess I could be your second favorite first grade teacher! HAHA. Your website is awesome along with your books!

  57. Lurker

    Okay, I admit it I am a lurker and don’t even know how to do the nifty icons and fancy stuff. You did a workshop at my school ages ago (in PA) and I have read your books since then. (I loved Yellow Fever and Speak, among others!). I also like reading about the process…I teach kids writing so it helps have a “real live” author’s point of view.

    Thanks for being so honest and sharing SO much!

      1. Re: Lurker

        Merion E.S. You shared Turkey Pox with the kids. I still share when you showed the kids the story copy the editor had edited. They think just because they put their pencil down, their story is finished. 🙂 If only…

  58. I’m a little slow to comment as our internet connection was down for awhile.

    I’m Christi, the YA librarian at the Woburn Public Library in MA. (I’m also LibraryChristi on MySpace) I’ve commented a few times, so I’m not sure if I’m a true lurker, or just a semi-lurker 😉

    Love hearing about your writing process and your research – they’re both good reminders that great books don’t just magically appear. So, thanks!

      1. Unfortunately, no 🙁 I made it to mid-winter when it was in Boston, but haven’t been able to go to any conferences outside the area yet. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that next year I can make it.

  59. I missed your actual delurking day, and guess I’m not technically a lurker…I’ve posted once or twice before.

    Anyway, I’m an English teacher and writer with a soft spot for YA lit. I loved Speak and Catalyst, but haven’t picked up any of your other books yet. I live in Buffalo.

    Like many of the other posters, I enjoy reading your posts about writing. 🙂

  60. My name is William, I am a twenty seven year old graduate student. I started coming here after reading Speak last year. By day, I am a substitute teacher. My students were reading Speak and I got curious about the book because I had heard of it before. By the end of the day I had read a lot of it and went out that evening to buy it so I could finish. Over the holiday I also read Catalyst and Prom.

    I am an avid blogger so it was nice to find out you had a blog too. You even have your own category on mine –> http://www.wpwend.com/?cat=67

  61. a little slow on the uptake

    I have only recently begun to read your journal, so I haven’t been “lurking” long, but I tend to lurk, and I would love to take the opportunity to introduce myself since you have welcomed it…

    I’m an Secondary English Education undergrad in southeastern Va. I recently read “Speak”; I loved it. I’m really drawn to books about women, by women… not on purpose, but maybe by design? is that the same thing? it just happens this way.

    I enjoy reading about your writing process; I like to read about writing, and I also like to write about writing, although I’m not really a writer, but just a student. I also just like to read journals; sometimes I feel guilty about spying on so many lives, especially on people I have never met and never will, but I can’t help it.

    I always wanted to be a writer, though, since I was very young. Then I wanted to be a journalist, and I was fascinated by John Stossel on “20/20” in fifth grade. Now I’m not so sure I will ever be a writer, I have no idea what I would ever write about.

    but I enjoy reading your journal. Thanks for writing in it. I read it because it is interesting.

  62. guilty of not lurking for a while

    yup that’s what i’m guilty of i just started getting so busy with school honors this AP that. you know that sort of thing. It’s regents week though and i just took my english regents i feel i did really really well i’m so excited to get my scores back so i have the week off until thursday so i’m back to lurk once more.
    oh and remember that i told you i pitched the idea for a school literary magazine well i’m officially in charge of the lit section of the school paper for the spring edition

  63. Why I ‘Lurk’

    Yikes, I am a lurker, aren’t I? And totally late in replying to this post. I read your blog because:
    1.) I’m a children’s writer (or a writer who perfers ‘childrens’ to ‘adults’ lit, however you want to look at it) and once upon a time I got the idea to search out other (and more established) kids. lit. folk here on LJ.
    2.) You post frequently and have interesting things to say.
    3.) When I was a teen, I used to write my favorite kid’s lit. authors and recieve letters back from them, which was a total thrill. Reading an author’s blog is similar to that.

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