Writing Process Blog Hop

I was tagged to the Writing Process Blog Hop by Telaina Muir who shared her writing process last Monday. Thank you for tagging me, Telaina! 

1. What am I working on right now?
Mainly I'm focused on maintaining my sanity until summer comes to an end and the kids go back to school. Oh, you mean what am I writing?

My three best picture book manuscripts are in the freezer right now after significant revisions in July.
I'm working on a nonfiction biography picture book, but I keep finding new research that is throwing off my story. Ugh, the risks of research!

I have two PBs I want to try as Easy Readers. I have a feeling they may spark in that format, it's just a matter of trying something new.

I'm indulging my dark YA side with a story about a particularly wicked water witch. I was planning to submit this to Spellbound for their Elementals theme, but I just read they are closing. Bummers. 

My back log of critiques-received-not-yet-edited pieces needs to be addressed...but I have a few new ideas which are drawing my attention away. No sense fighting the muse, so I'm starting two new projects this month.

I'm going to a Gotham Writers Workshop Children's Books Intensive in two weeks using a Christmas gift certificate. Christmas in August!

2. How does my work differ from others in the genre?
I'm trying to create a few boy-friendly characters in a pink-saturated market. (Even though my mom keeps saying, "you should write something like Pinkalicious!" Yes, thank you, Mom.)

3. Why do I write what I do?
(a) I'm a concise writer from years of business writing, so the picture book format is comfortable.
(b) My little gremlins tend to inspire age-appropriate stories.
(c) I must be a tad lazy, because once I figured out I could have an amazing intellectual experience and my heart warmed in 500 words, it does seem unnecessary to write more than that.
(d) I suspect my brain is not quite wired correctly giving me a bizarre sense of humor which is best displayed in picture books.

4. How does my writing process work?
I wouldn't mind being stuck
in a creme egg instead of
(image by chidsey via freeimages)
I make a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, both literally and figuratively. Most of my ideas come together like that: My kids do something ridiculous which provides a relatable situation. Someone says a funny thing which gives me a refrain or character. I have a deep adult thought which provides the emotional current. Then I mash them together with a poop joke. Delicious!

My process is 10% writing, 90% revising. It has occurred to me it would be much more efficient to write better first drafts, but ideas just don't come out that way. I spend a lot of time being stuck, which happens when you are dealing with so much jelly and poo
. When I'm stuck I:
(a) Storyboard on the back of a door
(b) Draw plot arcs with a rainbow of colors
(c) Write the action on index cards and move them around
(d) Highlight manuscripts in various ways- dialog of a character, passive verbs, each action to check for build, etc.
(e) Field trip to nature or other appropriate setting.
(f) Stick it in the freezer.
(g) Ship it off to my critique group to help.
(h) Read or reread a writing book until the problem becomes clear.
(h) Play with my kids so my muse can think without all the pressure.

At some point (around revision 14) the story starts to get polished.

I’m tagging Shar Mohr. We are both members of the Yellow Brick Road Critique Group. Check out Shar's Writing Process  on August 18th.  Then hop over to another YBR member Joy Moore's site on August 25th. Thank you both for hopping and for being such helpful critique partners. 


  1. I was a little worried when I saw your PB&J and Poop. As a mom I related, but I was wondering what it had to do with writing. Very clever and witty, and inspiring, Lauri! Thank you for being "it." I have never tried putting a manuscript in the freezer. Is it a bit like a time out? Do they behave better after the manuscript's frigid decent? I love what you do when you get stuck.

    1. Thanks again for the tag. It was interesting to have to put your process (or lack there of!) into words. Yes, freezer manuscripts are very well behaved - their naughty areas are more obvious but you look on them with more kindness after the separation.

  2. Not that long ago someone asked to tag me on this type thing, but my blogs aren't up and you know---I don't think I actually have a process really. I'd have to try to remember how I created all my PBs, and my novels are basically simmering, not yet truly focused on. THIS was very enjoyable to read about YOU though, Lauri :)

    And YAY! for the Intensive!!! Lucky you :D :D :D Smart gift-giving!

    1. ahh - I know have good gift givers - one week until I drive into the big city for a day of focus on children's writing. Squee!

  3. I want to read that NF PB bio when it's ready!

    1. Be careful what you ask for! I'll be sending you my conflicting resources and asking for help!

  4. Lauri, I enjoyed learning more about you and your writing process. P.S. I love your bizarre sense of humor. :)

    1. I really need to just embrace my bizarre humor - I think that's when I'll have my break :0

  5. Enjoyed learning a bit more about you and your writing process. Thanks for tagging me in the Writing Process Blog Hop, too!

    1. I can't wait to hear about your process. Your blog is very fun, and your poetry is great.

  6. It's so nice to read about what you are up to these days, especially since I haven't heard from you in a while. Crazy summer, I see. I too, am writing a nonfiction picture book. It is exciting trying something new. You should check out Kristen Fulton's nonfiction picture book writing class. i am taking it now and it's FAB!

    1. Well to keep the metaphor going, I'm feeling like a constipated writer right now! the kids go back to school in 3 weeks, then I can become more "regular" again. But right now I'm just pushing and pushing andnot getting anything accomplished. *ack* I think I took the metaphor one step too far :)


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