What are we up to? Kathryn and Susan will be returning from two weeks on Grandma's farm. They said it was quiet there when the rest of our family left. We thought it was quiet here without them. I wonder where the noise went. They learned lots of wonderful things during their stay, like quilting and kitten taming. (The kitten was unusually tame already this year, but they were ready.) I love giving them this time with Grandma Ruth, because I have so many great memories from the time I spent with my own grandmother.
On the writing front, I am studying Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul. It's a great book recommended by Kristi Holl, and was fortunately available through our inter-library loan system though it was just released this year. My brain just thinks like a picture book, so I can't abandon the genre even though it's a tough area. But while I'm picking up some pointers there, I'm working on an upper middle grade novel. Although my writing group knows about it, it's a secret so I won't give you any hints about it just yet except that it is historical fiction from World War II. I began it during the Nanowrimo (write a novel in the month of November), but decided to go back to it now after more research.
Lately I reread Richard Peck's Fair Weather, since I like many of his books. Tucked away at the back is an interview with him that was very helpful. Peck says that before he writes a book, he first decides on the journey and then on which character would learn the most from that journey. Ever since I've been thinking about my Nanowrimo attempt. Since it was just a write-like-crazy-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of event with the only goal of a word count of 50,000 words in a month, it didn't call for much planning at the time. But it has value in that after you purge yourself in that way you have something to go back over and work with.
Ah the writing life. Not the easiest profession, but satisfying.