Thursday, February 10, 2011

Writing Fiction by Deborah Reber

Guest Post by Deborah Reber

Amazon Associate: Buy the book, we get a small percentage

As a writer who’s focused most of her career on writing nonfiction self-help or journalistic fare for teens, the thought of writing fiction was, plainly put, scary. It was something “real” writers did – writers with fantastic imaginations, a great command of language, and the ability to connect a kabillion different dots in the form of plot points and interesting character flaws into one satisfying package.

Truth be told, I have written fiction for young children before – about a dozen Blue’s Clues books to be exact – but that’s not quite the same. Those books had a set of predictable and well-established characters, and the parameters for what they could do and how they could do it were very clearly established before I even got started.

But fiction? As in a real novel? Scareball city. Which is why it took me more than a year and a half to actually sit down and come up with a three-sentence “pitch” for my idea after my editor at Simon Pulse first suggested I might try writing something for their Romantic Comedies line. That’s not to say I didn’t like the idea of writing fiction. It’s something I definitely wanted to break into, especially because I love the idea of writing books that aren’t tied to a trend or a specific issue or that have a hard time finding their way onto the shelves at bookstores the way my nonfiction books do.

So, after months (and months) of doubt and hesitation, I finally emailed my little synopsis to my editor, and I’m thrilled that I took that plunge. After tweaking the synopsis a bit, I was given the green light and I went for it.

I loved the whole process of writing Language of Love, relying on things I could make up on in my head as opposed to carefully researched facts. When I write nonfiction, I always work from a very detailed outline, which stems from a very detailed book proposal. But with my novel, though I did have an outline for the story, there was that feeling of flying by the seat of my pants half the time. I didn’t necessarily know how circumstances were going to unfold or play out, and that was, well, thrilling and fun.

And now? I’ve got the fiction bug. So I guess it’s time to start working on that next idea…


Laurie Thompson said...

Great post, Deb! I'm still living in Scareball City, and haven't yet caught the fiction bug (at least not for novels). Maybe someday: We'll just have to wait and see. I'm having way too much fun with nonfiction and picture books right now! :)

bermudaonion said...

I can't imagine writing fiction, so I can understand why you were scared. I've read good things about your book!

Cafe Fashionista said...

What a fantastic post! Deborah Reber is a wonderful author!! :)

Deborah Reber said...

Thanks for the support everyone :), and thanks to Shooting Stars for letting me be a guest blogger!

XOXO Debbie