Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Monday, February 25, 2008

Just like riding a bicycle

I've been working on Book One of the series and I've realized something: Going back to writing something you haven't written in a loooong time isn't as hard as it seems. In fact, it's just like riding a bicycle!

I'm not new to writing these kinds of stories, for this kind of audience. In fact, I wrote stories just like this when I was a teenager. One of my friends LOVED reading all of them, constantly encouraging me to get them published. Well, I HAD thought of getting them published but never...did anything with them.

I also put together a collection of spooky short stories for the the younger readers. I still have it, somewhere.

The point is, I'm not struggling to write these stories. I just write them and it's coming out quite easily. Something which I am grateful for, given that I'm ALSO writing another book at the same time! One that really isn't aimed at the younger readers, but that shouldn't stop them from TRYING to read it! :)

One thing: Just because writing for middle grade readers is coming easily for me, that doesn't mean I shouldn't brush up on how to write for them. After all, it's been YEARS since I've done it. So I need a refresher on how to do it. For this reason, I've been reading EVERYTHING I can get my hands on that has to do with writing for middle grade readers. Some good articles I've uncovered in my search:

Writing the Middle-Grade Novel by Kristi Holl

You Can Write a Middle Grade Novel http://www.squidoo.com/middlegradenovels

The Difference Between Middle Grade & Young Adult

Middle Grade Novel Guidelines

Also here's some blog posts of interest:




Interesting stuff. I'm also going to see what books are out there on writing for the MG readers.

I only hope this ease of writing the stories continues. And if not? I'll keep writing them, anyway! And I'm not stopping until I finish Book Twelve!!

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

On a mission

Believe or not, I was novel-less for a while there. After I FINISHED the editing/revisions of a novel manuscript, I was suddenly left with NO NOVEL in the works.

Meanwhile, I'm working on TWO nonfiction books! Writing one and editing the other.

But, still! I wanted a novel in there somewhere. I guess some kind of fictional world I could escape to.

So I set about trying to pick a new novel to write. I AM writing two novels this year, so I thought maybe I should just pick one of the two I have planned. I couldn't pick EITHER of them, though. They just didn't come in clear enough. The characters were too unknown to me. I couldn't get the story to fall into place. AND I wasn't picking up on any dialogue, either. Nothing. It was all dead!

Even when I DID finally pick one, nothing came to life. I struggled to get my MC into action. To get her to connect with me somehow. But NOTHING! HAPPENED!

So I figured, 'OK, I'll just give it some time.' And meanwhile went to work on my NF books.

Then, one morning, I LITERALLY woke up with a BRAND NEW story to write in mind!! Well, not THAT brand new. Actually, I've had an idea for a YA series for a looong time, but I never started it because there was a missing piece I just couldn't figure out. Until recently. The other day, I FINALLY realized what would make those stories work. Then, not soon after, I woke up with the characters ALIVE AND WELL in my head, feeding me their stories! Yay!!

So I guess NOW I'll have a novel to write. Actually, 12 novels. And ALL of them for the YA market.

BUUUT...in order to make this work, in order to get these books published, I am going to HAVE to get an agent. I HAVE to do it! I just can't put it off any longer. I HAVE TO DO IT!

I need to get an agent. There is absolutely NO OTHER WAY these books will get published and promoted.

I have been able to avoid needing an agent up until now. I didn't want to get one because I just CAN'T write in one genre. I CAN'T! I write suspense, horror, sci-fi, fantasy, chick-lit and mainstream. I'm a multi-genre novelist! And can you imagine how hard it is to find an agent who represents a writer who writes ALL THAT?? It is NOT easy!

But I figure...since I have no choice NOW...since I HAVE to get an agent now...I will try to find one who represents as many of those genres as possible. And just write in those genres for now.

Wish me luck!


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Pausing the Pauses

Martha Jette and I have been hard at work on the "Haunted Houses" book. For this reason, I've had to put a hold on fixing up my Parenting Pauses book (the essay collection on deaf parenting). It's all good, though. Maybe this time not working on it will help me find a publisher for it!

The "Haunted Houses" book is really coming along well. I'm keeping my fingers crossed I'll be able to score interviews with Patrick Burns, Hans Holzer and the guys from TAPS. (Or, at least, one of them.)

I'll be getting back to work on the Pauses book once this project gets wrapped up.

And let me just add that the "Totally Scared" part of the book's title is VERY appropriate. Some of the stories in this book make the hair on the back of my neck stand up. EEEEK!!!


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Deaf character?

This morning, I woke up from my dream with one thought: 'That would make a good story!'

This kinda thing is NOT unusual. I dreamed the details of November's Child (right along with the title! LOL) and also dreamed a few short stories I've written, as well as a couple of children's books (one of which I am trying to fix. AGAIN!).

But as I thought on that story some more, grappling with the areas of it that didn't make sense, a thought struck: How could a woman's child be kidnapped right when her back is turned?

Then it hit me: She's deaf. Deaf, like me!

Yes, I realize this kinda thing CAN happen to a hearing person. They turn their backs while at a public place and their child is taken away. But this happened in the woman's HOME. In her kitchen, in fact... She could've heard the footsteps, right? Nevertheless, I knew right away the woman in that dream was deaf. She didn't use sign language but deaf people CAN lipread! It was just something I KNEW was a part of this character.

I have NEVER written a story with a deaf character before. Of course, I have deaf friends who have encouraged me to do so, but the "right" story for a deaf character just never came along yet. Now I think I REALLY have the story. The perfect story for a deaf character.

My excuse for not having any stories with deaf characters is simple: The stories develop all on their own, and there's usually not a single person in there who is deaf. (Heh, yeah, what a cop-out. LOL) And even though I COULD have consciously decided a character would be deaf, I just didn't fit that into the story.

Have to wonder, though, how that would work to have a story with a deaf character. Even one where the character doesn't play too big of a role. I once read a YA novel in which the character loses her hearing. I could relate because I was just like that character: A teen girl who lost her hearing. But I didn't like the story and didn't finish the book. The reason why I didn't like it is because the deaf character was portrayed poorly. It was like she was a ditz, or something! Not very smart and there was this HUGE novelty attached to being deaf and all things involved in the life of a deaf person (hearing aids, TTYs, etc.). I realize that only explored how SOME deaf people are not very intelligent, not very capable of perfect speech and how something like a hearing aid and a TTY would have a sense of "newness" which a teenager would make a big deal about. But it was still a big turn-off.

All the same, I didn't want any of MY stories with a deaf character to fall short in portraying a deaf person realistically. I know, i know; I AM a deaf person, so who better to write from the POV of a deaf person, right?? Even a deaf mom.... But there was always that hesitation. What if I just got it wrong? What if ONE THING I have my character do incites a furious response from the deaf community? What if people don't LIKE this character?? What if the whole "character who is deaf" is lauded in the media as my attempt to write a book that will FINALLY be noticed? Or even if the media decides this book will be "different" because my character is deaf..... and it's handled all differently in the reviews? What if it's not taken as a form of entertainment but more of an example of what life for the deaf is like? "Oh, look. There is a DEAF woman in this story. Let's see how they live!"

These are the main reasons why I never wrote a story with a deaf character in it. You would think that I, a DEAF writer, would write stories with deaf characters in them because it would be easier. Right? Well...so far, I've managed okay with stories involving hearing characters (although I HAVE had to ask people things like "what does this sound like?," "what kind of sound does that make?" and "would someone be able to hear a person scream from that far?"). Perhaps I'm wrong in thinking that will result if I write a story with a deaf character. Or even a novel with a deaf main character. I would like to think that I am. I would like to think that if I DO write such a novel, the book will be able to survive on its own merits, and not for the fact that the main character is deaf.

I suppose we'll have to wait and see what WILL happen when such a book that I write does come out....

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