I’m Not Panicking – This is Just My Writing Process!

Little Elfie One by Pamela Jane

Years ago I took a weekend seminar with renowned screenwriting teacher, Bob McKee.  The large auditorium was packed.  Screenwriters, novelists, children’s authors, and editors of all genres had come to hear McKee talk about the art of writing and storytelling.  I could hardly wait for the seminar to start. McKee walked out on stage and stood for a moment, looking out at the audience.  Everyone was silent, waiting for him to begin. “Writing,” he said finally, his intense gaze scanning the audience, “is not about the words.” Yes! I thought, someone finally said it!  I had always felt that words were merely messengers of a deeper truth concealed behind or beneath them. Writing, McKee went on to say, is about characters, meaning, and emotional impact.  Recently I rediscovered the truth of McKee’s statement when I sat down to write Little Elfie One, a Christmas sequel to my rhyming Halloween book Little Goblins Ten, which had been published the year before.  … Read on

The Amazing Things You Could Do – If you Really Wanted To!

My cat, Mittens, is – how can I describe it?  Let’s just say he doesn’t have a lot of personality.  It’s not his fault that he was born with no street-smarts or even house-smarts, and sleeps 23-1/2 hours a day.  He’s also terribly timid and runs away meowing if he even sees an ant.  The most dangerous thing he’s ever attacked is a Starbucks straw.  So imagine my shock and amazement when Mittens recently caught a mouse in our living room!  I’ve seen similar things happen in my own life and in the lives of others.  People who “couldn’t write” became writers, while others who “couldn’t do math” became mathematicians.  Someone may think he or she knows what you can – or can not do. But the truth is no one really knows.  My friend, author Joyce McDonald, was told by a high school counselor that she wasn’t “college material”.  Now she holds Ph.D. in English literature, has been a college professor and is the … Read on

What Happens When You Get Stuck?

When I visit schools, kids (and often teachers and librarians, too) ask me what’s it’s like to be a published author.  Do I ever get stuck?  Do I ever feel frustrated with my writing?  I’ve thought about this a lot, and this post is an answer to that question!  I hope it will help all the kids out there who wonder if we authors ever get stuck and if so, what do we do about it?  I’ll begin with a story. Recently, I started writing Little Elfie One, a Christmas sequel to my Halloween picture book Little Goblins Ten (Harper 2011.) I was thrilled about the new book.  Jane Manning, who illustrated Goblins would be illustrating the sequel too, and I think we make a great writing and illustrating team. Although the manuscript (writing) for Elfie wasn’t due for several months, I sat right down to write a first draft.  This was going to be so much fun!  But after several hours of writing random rhymes, I started … Read on

Just the Words

   We’re proud of the books we write, but at a recent school visit, I discovered that maybe it’s not that impressive a thing after all.  After all, it’s just words. My Power Point slide show was over.  The lights in the school auditorium came back on.   The kids stretched their legs.  I turned off the projector, and glanced at the clock.  It had been only been a half hour but I was still under the spell of the past evoked by my slides – the ballet doll my Aunt Ruth sent me for Christmas that inspired my first children’s book, the farm house in Bucks County where I began to write it, the beautiful cover of Noelle of the Nutcracker.  It was time for questions and answers.  “Does your hand get tired when you color?” asked a little girl in blue leggings sitting in the front row.  “Well, actually I don’t draw the pictures for my books,” said, with a … Read on