Frequently Asked Questions

Posted on Friday, September 11th, 2009 at 4:51 pm

In case you don’t know what this means,  it’s “Frequently Asked Questions.”  When I tell students I’m a writer (aren’t we all!) they ask questions.  So here are some answers.

What is the most important thing I need to do to be a writer?

READ!  The more you read the more you will learn how other people put stories together.  You will probably write something that you like to read, so how will you know what that is….unless you read lots.  There are many story types, these are called genres (you say it like “john-ra.”)  Do you want to write a mystery, a comedy, an action adventure, a sad story, a story about life, or history?  Try them all.    What are you doing now?  YOU”RE READING THIS!  Good luck.

Where do you get your ideas?

Well, mostly from life (and again from reading!).  For my first story I wanted to write something that kids like to read.  Working in a library has its advantages because I noticed that a lot of students took out books on dogs.  But it couldn’t be just any old dog story  So I asked myself, “self, what are you interested in?”    The answer to that was…ANGELS.  So I wrote about a dog who was a guardian angel.

In all my stories I remember things that happened to me growing up.  As part of an answer to the first question I would say the second most important thing in writing is to WRITE!  Keeping a journal is a great idea.  It gets you writing and you can keep all those memories to put in your stories later.

How does a book get published?

A writer sends a copy of the story, which is called a manuscript to a company that publishes books.  If it is a novel you would send the first three chapters, information about yourself, and a list of any books that you used in your research.  If it is a manuscript for a picture book you would send the whole thing.  Unless you are a really good artist you would not send drawings for pictures.  If they decided to make your story into a book to sell they would use one of their illustrators.  Unfortunately there are many many many other people trying to get their stories published so your story would have to be better than a lot of the other stories.  I love to write so much that if they don’t want my story and it comes back, then I reread it  to make sure it doesn’t need any changes, and  I send it out again to a different publishing company.  And so on and so on……. (don’t give up!)

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