Sandy Asher and I are planning a new episode in the series of nuts and bolts writers’ chats we call WRITERS AT WORK. This time we want to talk about research, or, more specifically, the things writers do to prepare for their work. Granted, some writing takes less preparation than others but most of us at one time or another have gone to considerable trouble to gain the experience we feel we need in order to convey a sense of time and place to our readers.
Sandy, who always has her antennae up, spotted a charming paragraph in a recent interview with Debbie Dadey. Here’s her response to a question about how she has prepared for some of her wildly successful stories among her 160 published books.http://www.debbiedadey.com
“For Mrs. Jeepers in Outer Space I went to Space Camp and for Wolfmen Don’t Hula Dance I went to Hawaii. For Hercules Doesn’t Pull Teeth I went to the dentist and for Mummies Don’t Coach Softball I got to go to Egypt. For Whistler’s Hollow, I drove eight hours so I could sit on a coal train. I took notes so I could write one paragraph about what it felt like. It must have worked because when that book came out, the publisher of Bloomsbury USA said, “It felt like I was really on that train.” I also slid into a shark tank for Danger in the Deep Blue Sea. Probably the craziest thing I have done for writing was to fall out of a plane! I wrote a story, that I’ve never sold, where a grandmother wanted to go sky-diving. So, I figured to be able to write about it I should experience it. Big mistake!!”
It is our pleasure to tell you that Debbie is joining us in the new episode, tentatively named, “In Pursuit of Authenticity.” She has already filed her essay so now it’s up to Sandy and me to get ourselves in gear to do our sections. I’ll take one, Sandy will take one, and we hope to use the fourth installment to relate stories from you.
So this is an invitation to all you published children’s authors to tell us about the lengths you’ve gone to for the sake of making your own work more authentic.
Please send your anecdotes to me personally via e-mail so we don’t spoil your stories before it’s time to include them in WRITERS AT WORK. My e-mail address is DavidLHarrison1@att.net. Thanks!