Tuesday, June 2, 2009

SRS: Smackdown Spotlight with Robin Mellom

Each Tuesday, Holly and I will both spotlight a Smackdowner. Be sure to head over to Holly’s (if you haven’t already) to see the Smackdown Spotlight on Realm Lovejoy.

But here at Cuppa Jolie, please welcome Robin Mellom.

Welcome, Robin! I am also a writer who is very behind on laundry (see her blog header)! Will you share a bit about yourself?

Hmmm…well, I write middle grade novels but I’m branching out to write young adult. I got started writing for kids when I was a middle school teacher, but then got serious about it when I had my son and found time to write during nap time. To learn the craft (and make friends!) I joined SCBWI, attended weekly critique groups, started a blog with my friends Eve and Jay (The DiscoMermaids) and read many, many books. Now I have an agent, Jill Corcoran, and she’s started submitting my middle grade novel THE HAPPINESS PROJECT. So now we wait!

Tell me a little about your current revision project.

I am writing the first draft of a young adult novel. Nothing too dark and serious—just a light-hearted romance. My hope is to spend the first couple of weeks writing as far into the first draft as possible, then I’ll spend the last couple of weeks revising the first three chapters and getting them completely polished so my agent can take a look and give me feedback. I don’t want to get too far and then find out she hates it and it makes her queasy. Queasy would be the worst. But then again, maybe she’ll love it!

Usually I give myself a daily page count when I’m trying to make a self-imposed deadline. But I’ve never been able to sustain that. I often torture myself by thinking, “If I just write five pages a day, I’ll have a whole book done in 40 days!” It’s like a diet…I do great the first three days, then I immediately go back to scarfing Lay’s sour cream & onion potato chips. (And Reese’s.)

So for this revision smackdown (love the title btw), I’m going to challenge myself to write for one hour every day. I know that’s not a lot, but with my life (part-time work, a kid no longer in school, and a dog that sheds non-stop) I think one hour a day is manageable. Then I won’t have to judge myself on how much I get done, I just have to put in the time! I’m curious to see if this technique works better for me. So thanks for putting together this challenge, Jolie & Holly!

You are most welcome. We’ll look forward to your weekly report—to see if that one hour is holding strong.

Do you have a revision tip you can share with the rest of our whipper smackers?

I don’t really have a “tip” but here’s what works for me…(I think)

In my first draft, I focus on getting down the bones of the story, and I write in little notes to myself like, “Make this part funny,” or “Figure this part out.” In my second draft, I work on voice and getting the tone “just right.”
Then I provide myself with salty snacks, close my office door, and stay off Facebook.

Thanks, Robin!
Tomorrow, don't miss the Whip Tip! There will be two posted, one here and one at Holly's, both feature special guests.


Kirby Larson said...

Love Robin's honesty about page counts -- I can so relate! I feel so self-righteous the first day or two and then I'm back to my slovenly habits.

holly cupala said...

Thank you, Robin! Best wishes with your MG and YA projects - it's great to have a chance to learn more about you.

Vivian Mahoney said...

I don't feel so bad--I'm glad other people are behind in laundry.

I love Robin's manageable goal--one hour of writing a day. I'm sure it will blossom into more.

Best of luck, Robin!

Robin Mellom said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one behind in laundry. (When will it ever stop!!??)

And I'm feeling good because I met my goal yesterday and today. Woohoo!

Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

Hey, this was great!
hoping you get great news, Robin!