But what does Bell’s Palsy have to do with writing?
Having Bell's Palsy helped me with my revisions – it was my version of “method acting”. At the beginning of November, when I was still wearing the eye patch, I received feedback from my lovely editor, Frances Gilbert. She liked the idea of my story but suggested that I try and make it even more “pirate-y”. Ironically, that was easier for me than Frances could have ever expected. Since I looked like a pirate, I decide to talk like a pirate. And talking and acting like a pirate helped me create the final version of PIRATE’S LULLABY.
How does my individual writing process work?
PIRATE’S LULLABY started with a line, but a line does not a story make. I had to think about character and plot. My daughter helped with the character portion of the story. To develop the plot, I created a basic outline of what I wanted to happen. And then, the hard work began!
PIRATE’S LULLABY is written in rhyme and I spent the majority of my time working on the meter. One of the best resources for learning how to write in rhyme is Dori Chaconas’ site. I particularly like to use her method of diagramming the stressed and unstressed beats of a line to smooth out the meter.
Once I have a draft, I take it to my critique group and then go through rounds and rounds of revision.
An essential part of my revision process is creating a dummy or storyboard. It’s a great tool to ensure that a story has good pacing. When I dummied the original version of PIRATE’S LULLABY, I realized that I had two characters stuck in a room. There was no movement, no action, no reason for the reader to turn the page. In short, there was very little for the illustrator to illustrate.
And speaking of illustrators…I am THRILLED to announce that the amazingly talented, Tim Bowers, will be illustrating PIRATE’S LULLABY. Also from Ohio (I’m originally from Mansfield), Tim has illustrated over 35 books, including two New York Times bestsellers: Dream Big, Little Pig! by Kristi Yamaguchi and Dinosaur Pet by Neil Sedaka and Marc Sedaka. My manuscript couldn’t be in better hands. I love Tim’s whimsical characters, their depth and texture, their humorous expressions, and the bright, vibrant colors he uses. Here's an example from Dinosaur Pet.