Thursday, January 31, 2013

Red Nectar Has Come To Fruition

After working on my first Young Adult novel, I finally finished writing it yesterday. It is now up and listed on-line, ready to be purchased and read and enjoyed.

Spending a year on one project, with the long hours, re-writes, and intensity of the learning process, well, what can I say about it but I am glad for the time spent and grateful it is over.  I hadn't really known until now how the process works. There was so much information in my head to keep straight. Did I follow up on the old woman from the first chapter? Did I tell the audience that Mr. Loup had hairy fingers? Did Emily take care of her back pack--and just what was in that pack?

Then there was the setting, mood, timing, word phrasing.  Did I let the reader know where they were in the story without bogging down the story with details? How much do teen readers want to know as opposed to adult readers? Was my writing flashy or silly or trying to hard? Do people care about the characters and what happens to them as much as I do? Did they cry when they learned that Andrew's little brother--oops, won't tell you that one, but I cried.  Will readers want to purchase and read the next book? I sure hope so, because I am already writing it and have it half completed in my mind.

I spent many hours working on 'Hey Little Baby' and 'Toddler Season' and other picture books that are yet to be published. But the novel genre is a whole different ballgame. A lot more to remember and so many characters and details!

The lovely thing is that writing for children allows me to have a multitude of genres to choose from. Fits my variety loving brain.

Heather Leigh

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Research Stresses

Now that I am inspired by the toddler muse I saw walking at the mall, I've had been doing my research for Toddler Season.  It is intense, timely and demands concentration and tremendous effort.

Yesterday, at the home of a member of my critique group, we got on the floor and went through the processes that lead to a child first walking.  We rolled from our bellies, kicked our legs, rocked our bodies while on hands and knees, pulled ourselves up on the coffee table, grabbed for everything we could reach, and then, finally, ventured out into walking for the first time.

And then, after dinner, my family and I watched you tube videos of babies learning to sit-up and stay up!  It's a big deal--all that balancing.  And a bit of a shock to suddenly see the world, on your own, from higher than when then lay on the ground level.

Those babies sure are cute.

So it's been rough, all this baby movement study.  But it will all be worth it when Toddler Season comes out and parents can share the joy of the achievements their child is going through.

Heather Leigh

P.S.  Don't let anyone else know that writing for children is actually really fun.  Then everyone will want to do it!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Goddess of Toddler Season

The companion book to 'Hey Little Baby' has been revised, rewritten, edited, reformatted, and worked at diligently for over two years. Each time I get what I think is a great sequel, turns out it is not.  How can writing less then 200 words be so challenging? Shouldn't it just be a game of playing with words?

What I want to know is this: where are the angels, whispering in my ear the exact words to make the story perfect? Why has The Universe not 'downloaded' the information into my brain?  Why has the million dollar idea of what to write not come to me in a dream, or while sipping tea, or playing at the beach?  Is there a goddess I could sacrifice to in exchange for the exact words that will make a NY Times best seller?  I'm willing to sacrifice a tofu meatloaf.

Last week, I was inspired with the feeling of what the book should consist of. Watching a toddler run down the mall, I thought about her new ability to move where she wanted to move--not where the stroller took her.  Awe, that bliss of freedom, of movement.  The unlimited choices of where to go, what to do, what to see.  What a joyful thing to be able to make your own choices.

Oh, guess what?  Some ideas came forth. Ideas that I've now written down and am playing with to form the words that will make the NY Times best selling children's picture book.

Which goddess should I thank?

Heather Leigh