Since the pandemic hit us, my writing routine hasn’t changed much. If anything, my focus is as strong as when I was a MFAC student, working against packet deadlines.
I write best in the mornings when my brain is fresh. Now that everybody in my house stays up late at night and sleeps late into the morning, the house is quieter and writing is easier. I had always worked best in the mornings, starting around nine a.m. and often writing until five p.m. depending on what I’m trying to accomplish that day. But with the pandemic going on in the outside world, I’ve become absorbed in the world I’m creating in the story I’m writing.
I just finished (for now) a work-for-hire project I’ve been working on with Capstone called the Emma Every Day series. They’re four early chapter books, featuring a girl who is deaf and uses a cochlear implant, expected to be released August 11th this summer. This was a fun and wonderful learning experience. Developing eight-year-old characters and creating the plots was so much fun and I learned a lot about writing for beginning readers.
Now that this writing project is behind me, I’m focusing on my middle grade novel The Hunter with full steam. The Hunter was my creative thesis during fourth semester in the MFAC program. It’s about a deaf-blind boy in middle school who yearns for friendships and adventures. I’ve submitted it to several agents and editors, all who turned it down for one reason or another. Everybody, though, said it’s a story that needs to be shared. One editor was kind enough to write me a long letter. She said she liked many things about the story, but she was looking for something with a stronger voice.
My former faculty advisor arranged for a MFAC alumna who has published middle grade novels herself to read The Hunter and make revision suggestions. The reader has provided me with terrific feedback. I’m working on the revision. I would say, revising is like cleaning up a story. It’s the same story and the same plot, but I’m cutting out characters, scenes, and other details. I’m moving chapters, changing the POV and verb tense, and rewriting scenes.
What I like about writing The Hunter is having the opportunity to show the world what it feels like to be deaf-blind. And to make it as engaging and intriguing as possible so people will want to read the whole book. My goal is to send it to an agent my former advisor recommends. I like writing for younger children, from picture books to chapter and middle grade books.
But recently, I took a break from revising The Hunter and wrote a short story for young adults. It’s a contemporary fairytale based on a bedtime story my grandma used to tell me. I used an omniscient point of view. That’s new for me and I had fun with it. It’s important to have fun with your work. When you enjoy what you’re writing, it’ll show in your work. Another important idea to consider during these days of the pandemic is that as a writer, I feel lucky. I don’t think about going out to get a haircut or go out to eat at restaurants or to do unessential shopping. I’m happy and satisfied staying home, working on my writing project.
Christy L. Reid lives in Minnesota with her husband, two of their sons, and their cats. She earned a MFA In Writing For Children And Young Adults degree at Hamline University. She is the author of the upcoming series, Emma Every Day, published by Capstone, and expected to be released August 1, 2020.