Angela Graham

Capturing childhood silliness and adventure


My Writing Process

Posted by on July 17, 2014 at 2:35 PM

I will begin this blog post with a wee confession and apology. As part of the ‘My Writing Process’ blog tour, I was scheduled to post this entry a while back, but life, as it goes, pretty much got the better of me. I was so busy, I often sounded like the White Rabbit in Lewis Carroll's book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland: “I’m late! I’m late! For a very important date! No time to say “Hello”, goodbye. I’m late! I’m late! I’m late!” I thought ‘better late than never’ and here we are.

As part of the ‘My Writing Process’ blog tour, writers and authors answer questions to provide information about their writing process. Please check out a fellow author, Karen Avivi, who blogged her writing process here:

To find out what I’m working on, why and how I do what I do, please read on.

What are you working on?

I am a chronic multi-tasker and continually have several items on the go. I continue to work on promoting my first published book, What is Growing Out of Your Ear? This preschool picture book is a whimsical story of a Grandfather’s playful, good-humoured words to his granddaughter, foreshadowing what happens when she swallows a cherry pit.

My most recently finished book is in the process of being published and is likely on the printing press as I post this blog. This book is a middle grade novel called Escape from Killarney. Told by Toby, the family dog, Escape from Killarney is a gripping and treacherous, action-packed adventure of two children and their dog’s struggle for survival in the Canadian backcountry.

I am also gelling ideas and beginning to plot and plan for my next work.

Photo of my writing space

How does your work differ from others of its genre?

What is Growing Out of Your Ear? has an unexpected and exceptionally ludicrous vision of what happens when you swallow a cherry pit. It’s silly and ideal for those who love pushing at the bounds of their imagination.

Escape from Killarney is a middle grade adventure novel that is unique as the story is told by a dog. Writing and getting into the mindset of the dog, Toby, is incredibly fun. I have had the fortune of growing up always having a family dog and writing through Toby’s eyes lets me explain why dogs do the things they do, what they feel and what they think – or at least how I imagine it. Readers who love dogs and animals, in general, will love this spin to the storytelling.

Why do you write what you do?

Over the past decade, I have written numerous books for family members, primarily my children, as birthday and Christmas gifts. My main motivation is to inspire my own children to read, so I write personalized stories that I think they would love. I have one child at each end of the reading spectrum: one is an avid reader and the other I would describe as having a self-proclaimed allergy to reading. I write stories that I hope will lure them in with elements of humour, some drama, an imaginative story line and in some cases, an element of fright.

How does your writing process work?

The professional in me drives everything I do by a deadline. And since I write my books as gifts for birthdays and Christmas, I am driven to very immovable dates.

Here’s how my process works. I start with the deadline and plan backwards. I first decide what kind of book am I writing, i.e. picture book or novel, and then I calculate backwards how long it will take me to illustrate, edit, write, plan the plot and characters, and solidify the idea. This lets me know when I need to start.

I solidify the idea when I walk my dog (I’ve already mentioned that I am a multi-tasker extraordinaire). I ask myself what the recipient of the book is interested in, what would grab their attention, what’s going on in their life. Then I let my imagination wander.

Once I have an idea about the story and characters, I write an outline - a couple sentence description, by chapter, about the characters, scene and what happens. This helps me determine the pacing, plot development, conflict and climax. As I write, this outline guides me, but often I find myself letting the story write itself and I deviate from the plan as I go. It often works its way back to the planned ending or somewhere close to the planned ending.

I edit and illustrate (if I’m illustrating) for as long as I have time remaining before the birthday or Christmas morning. I often wrap the book as the ink is drying on the pages. Only once did I run out of time to complete what I had to and, the day before Christmas, I quickly turned the two books I was working on into two illustrate-your-own-story books. My children thought this was a fantastic idea.

I have published/am publishing two of our favourite books: What is Growing Out of Your Ear? and Escape from Killarney.

If you are interested in sharing your writing process, tag yourself and link to your blog entry, answering the questions above.

Happy writing.

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