Yesterday was a good day for finding ideas. The first came while watching a taped segment of Saturday Night Live. It’s not really an idea for a story but a way to tell a story that appealed to me. I’ve tucked it away until I think of a way to use it. The second came from reading the newspaper. I think I’ll get a book going based on that one. Earlier in the week I was reading about a subject I’m working on with Charles Ghigna and stumbled across a somewhat related idea that also appeals to me.
I don’t know when I’m going to have time for any of these new thoughts. I still have one that came from kidding around with Jeff last time we were in Florida together. Jane Yolen and I have the beginning of a collaboration waiting for us to both have time to finish. On the flights to and from New York I decided to rewrite my middle grade novel with a desert setting and know how I’m going to do it so I’m eager to get back to that one. I still have a few poems and texts to write for my book with Laura Robb and any day now Mary Jo Fresch and I should hear back from our editor and learn how much tweaking, if any, he’s going to ask us to do.
Over the next few weeks I have a lot of traveling to do so it’s going to be hard to put together a lot of time in useful blocks. Writing on planes is never as practical as sitting here at the keyboard in my pajamas. Sooner or later I’ll get to all these priorities but for now I’m struggling to put them in the best order.
It’s all about timing — and luck of course. Mary Jo Fresch and I have worked for months to finish our manuscript and send it off to our editor for review. If it comes back with tweak requests, we’ll deal with that when the time comes. For now, we can take a break.
At this time I’m working with Laura Robb on our book and we’re about ready with the first three chapters. I hope to read over what we have this weekend or Monday for sure. Once we send those chapters off for review, I’ll work to finish my parts of the next chapter so Laura can develop hers. Etc.
In the meantime I’m doing what I can to peck away at a new poetry collection of my own. In another week or so I hope to have enough to share with my editor for that.
Gotta keep those pie plates up there spinning!
When asked where we find our ideas, writers tend to shrug and say they’re everywhere if you have eyes to see and ears to hear. Mary Jo Fresch and I wrote a book that came out last year called 7 KEYS TO RESEARCH FOR WRITING SUCCESS and in it we provided numerous sources for researching ideas, but ideas themselves are rather like fireflies on the evening lawn. You need to be looking in their direction when they blink for you.
Yesterday I watched two TV programs, “60 Minutes” and “Sunday Morning.” In both cases I spotted ideas for a new book I’m working on. I kept stopping and starting the shows long enough to scribble notes with the pen I always carry, even in my pajamas, and pad that was close by in the living room. I don’t watch a lot of TV but yesterday I was happy I did.
Yesterday I won! The recalcitrant poem finally tired of teasing me and allowed me to steer it to a rather satisfactory conclusion. I borrowed one of Jane Yolen’s happy dances for that!
It was also a good day because Mary Jo Fresch and I concluded our manuscript for the new NCTE book and she clicked the 190-page manuscript on its way. This one began casually with an idea from Mary Jo on August 3, 2017. “I got an idea the other day…a book of nyms. Here is what I thought…I would give the explanation of the nym (antonyms are words that have opposite meaning, blah blah, blah), give examples (hot/cold; fast/slow, etc.), and a suggested lesson. You, of course, would use some in a poem. They are in the standards across the grades. Doable?” I, of course, said yes. This makes our 7th book together. So now, 889 e-mails and a handful of Skype sessions later, we’re ready to see what our editor makes of it. Next step is that the manuscript will be sent out to professionals in the field to gather their responses. We’ve already gone through this process once, in the beginning, before a contract was offered based on an extensive proposal.
And finally, I got a lovely note from a teacher/editor in France about the new book for ESL students. Here’s her message. I don’t think Melanie Herment will mind.
I want to thank you so much for inspiring our students with your poem. I am a teacher and author of textbooks in France, and we have once again used your wonderful ‘”It’s me” poem in a book for ESL students: In Full Swing 2nd (Ed. Didier, as always 😉 I have used your poem in class and the students loved it. We talked about art and the process of inspiration, which is why I asked them to make their own diptych and poem, and to record the poem. You can discover some of their productions here (if you’re interested): https://bit.ly/2JqLKPn ; https://bit.ly/2vDM9Wo and on the Facebook page of our collection: https://www.facebook.com/infullswingeditionsdidier/
Thank you so mcuh 🙂
Good day? I think so! And today we pack and leave this lovely place on the gulf to return home after an absence of twenty-five days. I’ll admit to some goo foffing along the way — and it has all been lovely — but a little work has gotten done as well.