It is a delight to introduce you to my long-time friend, Lorie Ann Grover. Not only is glam on the outside, she is beautiful on the inside, too. Her compassion for teen readers led her to become one of the co-founders of ReaderGirlz and ReaderTotz. She writes cozy board/picture books and thought-provoking YA. You are going to want to read her newest book, due out on February 11!
Kirby was so kind to ask me to share for a moment about my new release, Firstborn. I actually began the work in 2004. The ten year journey was a long trek with the original text written in verse, like my first three novels. After a few drafts it became apparent the concise verse format was not going to be able to carry the setting of my fantasy. There was not enough room for the description I needed to create a world, from landscape to culture. The verse white space was constricting my story.
With that fact accepted, I needed to learn to write prose. A paragraph. Certainly a paragraph is simple to write, I thought. Ha! And so time passed as I read, wrote revisions, and read more. My patient agent, Elizabeth Harding at Curtis Brown, Ltd., would say, “Show us more of the movie you see in your head, Lorie Ann.” I’d reply, “Really? You still can’t see it? It’s so clear to me.” But I’d start another revision, describing and explaining more, writing paragraphs.
I’ve gathered that some authors write an immense number of words and then hone the work down, like a sculptor working over a piece of marble. Each strike makes the stone smaller and the art emerges. Other authors build word upon word, hardly ever cutting away story. They work like a sculptor building upon an armature, layering tiny piece upon piece. Whether writing in verse or prose, my process is the latter. Each revision is another layer as the entity takes shape, gains clarity, and grows solid.
Emma Dryden, my first editor who now also acts as a social media maven, waited and instructed me as I wrote my early verse novels. Loose Threads began as a picture book. She said, “I think this is a novel, Lorie Ann. Can you write more?” Thirty-two poems were my armature beneath that work. In Firstborn there is an entire verse novel beneath the prose, the bones on which the story stands.
After years of study, thankfully, for my new editor Jacque Alberta, I can write straight into prose without the verse bridge. I see the entire movie in my head and then write what I see. Ultimately, we must know the craft to tell the story. I’m so thankful for Kirkus’ starred review of Firstborn. I learned to write paragraphs!