Christmas Memories & Revision Tip #18

Sometimes people forget that I wrote PROM because it is not exactly a depressing book. In fact, it’s pretty funny, if I do say so myself. (If I had dread, depression and death in all of my books, I would not be a healthy person!)

So it is with great joy that I announce that PROM has been nominated to the 2010 Popular Paperbacks List, in the "Change Your World or Live to Regret It" category!!

School Library Journal has posted their annual collection of Christmas Memories written by children’s authors and illustrators. This year’s essays were written by me, my buddy Deb Heiligman, Barbara McClintock, Lauren Myracle, and our National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Jon Scieszka. Enjoy!

Revision Tip #18

Are you stuck?

Have you tried all my plotting tips and dialog wisdom and adverb scorn and still you are stuck?

Try this.

1. Make yourself some comfort food.

2. Put on music that relaxes you.

3. Snuggle up in a warm, cozy place with a pen and a pad of paper.

4. Write a letter to your main character. Tell her everything that is worrying you about the story in general.

5. Pause to eat a bit. Make some tea or hot chocolate.

6. Pick up pen and paper again. Tell your character why you are specifically worried about her. Ask her what is going on in her life, in her relationships that you don’t understand. Ask her advice about how to help her move forward.

7. Write down what she tells you.

8. If you can’t hear her voice, then it is time to put that manuscript away for a while and work on a different story. But I am pretty sure you will hear the voice, so be chill and write.

9 Replies to “Christmas Memories & Revision Tip #18”

  1. I teach Young Adult literature to graduate students, teachers and librarians, and I always use Prom in the unit on Humor. Most of them are delighted, but nearly all of them are surprised.
    I love that book, Laurie, for its honesty and its kindness and its characters and for the fact that most of my students find it just side-splittingly funny. I certainly do.
    Will it amuse you to know that some other books in that unit are How Angel Peterson Got His Name by Gary Paulsen and Terry Prachett’s Wee Free Men ?

  2. congrats on Prom, Laurie! :]

    and great revision tip. i’ve been taking notes of all the tips you share; they’re incredibly helpful. thank you!

  3. I have really enjoyed all of your tips, but this one is my favorite so far. The combination of creating a comfort zone and speaking directly to your character is perfect, and most definitely necessary if you’re having trouble going forward. Maybe even if you’re not. 😉

  4. My daughter…

    I wonder if you speak to teens? My daughter would love to speak to you. Your genre and writing style so appeals to teens. My daughter scared the crap out of me at age 12. It opened my eyes to an entire world if you would sub-culture out there.
    We live about 20 minutes from you. I know her English teacher would love for you to come in. Is this something that you do?

  5. Congratulations!

    i read prom this summer and loved it, congratulations on making the list, you totally deserve it.

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