Straying From the Script: Surprises Await!
|Are you a planner. . . (by DanielyMoyle Flickr)|
But recently, I was invited to speak in Hannibal, MO at the Missouri Association for Family & Community Education Conference about being a children's author. The very nice lady who hired me said that she wanted me to talk about what it was like to write for children. I assumed (as we know this is something you SHOULD NOT DO) this was because the people in the audience were interested in writing for children. So, I prepared my Power Point presentation, filled it with tips for people who are starting out writing for children, packed up my just released book: a middle-grade novel Finding My Place, and drove for almost two hours to the talk.
When I started my speech, I asked the audience how many people wanted to write for children--NO ONE (out of about 50 or so people) raised their hand! When I asked how many people liked to write or wrote on a regular basis, one person raised her hand.
|or a pantser? (by Andie712b Flickr)|
Best of all--I sold over 20 books and had several nice comments, including one woman who didn't want her $1.00 change back and said, "I want you to keep that--not your publisher." (Part of my talk was about how little royalties we make on a book. . .) I had to stray from my script for this presentation, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well it all turned out.
The same thing has happened to me before--while working on a contemporary middle-grade mystery novel, while leading a writing workshop for children, while creating notes for online classes. Sometimes, you have to go with the flow, with what your audience wants, with where your characters are taking you.
I will never stop planning--it's not in my nature, and I like to have a plan. I feel better. But I will look for those opportunities to stray from the script and hope that pleasant surprises always await. How about you?
Margo L. Dill is the author of Finding My Place: One Girl's Strength at Vicksburg, a middle-grade, historical fiction novel set during the U. S. Civil War. For more information or to purchase a copy, please visit: http://margodill.com/blog/finding-my-place/.