Friday, May 9

Blog Hop: My Writing Process

I got tagged by my good friend Mary Uhles to write about my writing process. (Check out her post here.)

So for the curious, here we go:

What am I working on now?

This is always the big battle for me. I have a notebook of at least 50 picture book and middle grade ideas right now. I feel very passionate about maybe 30 of them. But I'm trying to resist the temptation to start 30 projects, so right now I'm focusing on two picture book manuscripts with their dummies. Interestingly both these picture books have a historical context. I'm a sucker for history and anthropology, and I love odd-looking clothing from different eras. I super enjoy research, but I get caught up in the details and it makes the process a little slow. Fun, but slow. I think it's also very telling that these books are about children and adults behaving very badly. What can I say? I'm the mommy of two barbaric toddlers.

How does my work differ from others in it's genre?

I like to embrace absurdity and I love subversive humor. (Monsters with toupees and penguins in space? Yes, please.) I think that kids are much more clever and much more strange than we give them credit. I think we should write to them as our peers, which they are. Just smaller.

Why do I write what I do?

Me and books were always chums. Thick as thieves. When I was a kid I loved visiting those faraway places and reading about awkward kids like me triumphing over bullies, thugs, and know-it-alls. I love giggling and sniffling with books. I still get addicted to a good book or series and ignore all sorts of importing things like eating, sleeping, and the less necessary customs of hygiene in order to see what happens next. (No deodorant for me thanks, we're wasting valuable time here!!)

Basically I write because I want to share all the stories that are crammed in my skull. And because if I don't it will explode, which would be messy. But also I hope that my stories and pictures can be something that children can connect to and identify with.

How does my writing process work?

 Usually what happens is I hear or see something wacky, strange, or interesting and I jot it down. My kids are a great source for the absurd. (Hooray for posterity!) So in a specific notebook I like to list all my story ideas or potential titles. I can also get ideas from the sketches I do. Maybe I sketch a person or animal that I would like to know more about. Let's just say I have a lot of notebooks.

So after I've chosen the manuscript I want to write, I research. Yay! I try to understand the themes of my story, the historical period, the tone that I'm trying to achieve, and I try to find any book or movie that's related to that. (Did I mention that I love research? :)

After I feel like I understand the context well enough, I go through many drafts of the story. I try to allow myself to write the garbage along with the good stuff. I'm always editing, and I have a fantastic group of friends and talented peers that critique my work and I feel like as long as I have a good thick skin for articulate critiques and a healthy sense of where I want my story to go, that my manuscript can reach it's full potential.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

I'd like to introduce you to a talented friend that I'm tagging for the next blog hop. Check out Debbie Emory's post to see her writing process:

Debbie Emory writes middle grade fantasy, and funny women's fiction. In her spare time, she ventures into the wild (okay, parks or recreational areas) to photograph landscapes (more often, her dog). As a certified dog trainer, she trains young people how to work with dogs using positive reinforcement (treats!). She also serves on the Executive Council of Elephant Aid International ( which is currently changing the culture of elephant care in Asia from chains to chain-free corrals. Visit her blog at


Vanessa Brantley Newton said...

What a great peek into you Meridth! Everyone has their own processes, but I love that you showed your sketches as well. Great post! Hugs!

Meridth Gimbel said...

Thanks Vanessa! I agree with you, I'm always interested to know other people's processes. It's interesting to see how minds work. :) Virtual hugs back at you!!!