Stretching waaaay outside of my comfort zone here.
Cannot believe I'm taking on TWO books: co-authoring a middle-grade tale and going solo writing my first fiction for grown-ups.
I’m up for this challenge after taking time to grieve the loss of my parents and rightsize to a new space after two decades in our cherished home.
It's exciting and scary just thinking about penning two different genres at the same. But it feels right, so here I go!
WIP 1 : Fiction for Grown Ups
Fifteen years ago:
my writing workshop classmates told me
I had to develop the short story I submitted for our class project
into a full novel.
My first reaction?
Without expanding my draft,
I submitted it to a writing contest.
It scored an honorable mention.
Still not ready to take on a novel.
The content, disguised as fiction, was too tender and personal to write more then.
But times change.
What once felt too raw is now okay to explore.
Fast forward to 2019:
I submitted the old draft from workshop days
to my critique group.
And they liked it!
The novel takes place in a southern town (no surprise as penned by this North Carolina gal). It explores challenges between newcomers and the old South as characters come together (or not!) to save the town’s annual community choir presentation of Handel’s Messiah. (We write what we know: Guess whose 100-person member community choir has performed an annual "Messiah" concert every December for more than 40 years -:D.)
My book is more than a Christmas-time tale. There's love and hope, but it's not a true romance. Kind of like a cozy without a murder mystery. No violence or dysfunction. For now, I’m tagging it as general adult fiction with a touch of women's and southern fiction.
Honestly, my story might be the type the Hallmark Channel might select for a TV movie .....and I'd be over the moon if they did!....but I haven’t decided yet if every character will get a happily ever after. Stay tuned!
WIP 2 : Co-Writing a Middle-Grade Tale
Meanwhile, back in children’s book land……
friend and awesome picture book author/illustrator,
and I are co-writing a middle-grade adventure
for kids ages 8-12 featuring an 11-year-old girl who loves horses.
We didn’t set out to co-author a book,
but our ideas for this story
have been percolating for both of us since 2015.
Four years ago almost to this day!
We started when I uploaded a writing prompt to my author Facebook page and invited people to post a brief back story. Rosie jumped on it!
Months later, Rosie developed the prompt into a story and shared her draft with me. I loved it! However, the tale waited until my life settled after rightsizing and becoming an adult orphan.
Co-authoring a book is a huge learning challenge, but I'm lucky. Rosie Russell is the perfect co-write partner: enthusiastic, imaginative, hard-working and talented.
We connected through social media in 2014 and have been supporting each other’s writing journey ever since.
Even met in person once in 2017 … a marjorly rare treat for cyberpals! … when her family vacationed nearby my North Carolina home (in the US south).
Since Rosie lives more than 1,000 m/1.6 km away from me in Missouri (midwest US), we’re swapping ideas like mad via i-messages, emails and phone.
We started by organizing and agreeing on story development. We explore characters and plot by uploading inspiration photos and concepts to a shared drive.
There’s technical, headachy-to-me stuff to determine, too, like who/how to formate and distribute our book.
And we're figuring out how to pay Uncle Sam his taxes for book sales earned by two authors in two different states. No accountants here -:D.
Once we pull these pieces together, we’ll flesh out chapters and decide who’s authoring and editing what. Most important, we want to make sure our writing styles synch up to give young readers an exciting, flowing narrative. Plus, both my books will retain the same family-friendly vibes and focus on Small Town USA life that are found in my Sweet T Tales.
I'll be looking for ideas about titles, book covers, character struggles and more, and I'd be over the moon to have your company and feedback on this next stretch of my writing journey.
You'll find updates on my writing here on Cat's Corner (sign up below to send this blog to your email or newsfeed). You can also be first to know the latest by joining my tribe of readers and receiving occasional newsflashes in What’s Up (Join HERE or in the link below).
Thanks a ton!
What have you tackled that felt beyond your comfort zone? What helped you succeed? And if you successfully co-authored a book, let us know what you learned from the experience in the comment section.
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