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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How do your writing habits and your writing change during the summer?

During the rest of the year, I get up at 4:30 a.m. so I have two unbroken hours to write until 6:30, when my son gets up. After I take him to school, I have another seven hours to write or work at my freelance copyediting job.

In the summer, all that changes. I still get up at 4:30 a.m., but now I write frantically until 6:30, when a seven-year-old boy starts chasing the cat through the house with a Nerf gun. For the rest of the day, I write in fits and starts. I may come up with a few brilliant pages while I’m in the shower. I might scribble several paragraphs on a napkin while we’re at the BMX track. I may pay my son fifty cents to be quiet and read Stuart Little for an hour while I compose a chapter of eye-hurting brilliance. ("Mom, is there a Stuart Little 2? He never finds his friend Margalo and the book seems unfinished." He will be an editor yet. He will give the likes of E. B. White the what-for.)

And honestly, I kind of prefer a wacky schedule. My writing process is controlled chaos anyway. I write some of the first chapter, some of the last chapter, and some of the middle of a novel, in that order. I never know what part will come to me on a certain day. It seems fitting that I write the whole of a novel during the whole of my daily life.

Of course, at some point I have to sit down and concentrate and read through the whole thing, in order, to see if it all makes sense.

That will be when my son goes to swim camp.

As for the writing itself, I think there are definitely differences between novels I write in the summer and novels I write at other times of year. Novels I write in the summer contain a seven-year-old-son-type character. For instance, last summer I wrote The Ex Games, which will be published on October 6. The heroine of that novel has a little brother who follows her around, making up rap lyrics about her. He also succeeds in slipping a whoopee cushion under her while her ex-boyfriend is nearby. In other words, when my son is around, my romantic comedies degrade into fart noises.


Danielle Joseph said...

First off I can not believe that you get up at 4:30 every day--I am impressed! Second, we need to get our 7 yr olds together:)! And if your son hasn't read the Wimpy kid books yet, you should have him read them this summer. My son is tearing through them without the 50 cents;)!

Jennifer Echols said...

Yes, he went through the Wimpy Kids books in a few days!