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Posts tagged ‘Walter Dean Myers’

Inspire your manuscript by creating a photo book

As a writing coach, I’ve seen many ways my students approach writing their manuscripts or screenplays. Whether you’re writing a memoir or novel, photos can be an entry into your story world.

One of my memoir clients pulled out a binder he had created with photos of characters in his story that he’d scanned from old photos and newspaper articles, and magazine photos of places he was writing about. He arranged the photos and other images in the order he visualized the scenes taking place in the manuscript.

To write scenes in my own memoir, I scoured photo albums and searched for historical images of the time period when my grandfather would have immigrated to the United States. The images of street scenes inspired descriptions and a sense of the time. Details from the photographs sparked even more concrete images that helped lend authenticity to the scenes that I needed to imagine.

Young adult author Walter Dean Myers creates a photo collage to build out his characters in the pre-writing phase of his work. He finds photos that represent his vision of the character, and his wife creates a collage of them that he hangs on the wall by his computer. As he writes his pages each day, the characters become more real to him. He feels he gains understanding and this helps him build out their personalities.

To learn more about how Myers develops his stories, read How to be a prolific writer like Walter Dean Myers: A three-step process.

For more information about Myers, visit his website.

For another idea to create structure in your story writing process, read Create a chaos board to capture your writing ideas.

What is your process for diving into your writing?


How to be a prolific writer like Walter Dean Myers: A three-step process

The mark of a successful writer is finishing the manuscript. Walter Dean Myers, an award-winning children’s and YA writer, should know. He’s written 110 books.

“People fail as writers not because they write badly,” Myers says. “They fail because they don’t finish the book they started.”

Myers, who is the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, spoke Nov. 2 at the Vegas Valley Book Festival.

Like most writers, Myers is often asked about his process. It never varies, he says. First, he wakes up at 4:30 or 5 a.m., every day.

“I come downstairs with the cat, feed the cat, read newspapers, and start my five pages.”

Depending on what stage he’s at in his current project — whether he’s writing a first draft or rewriting — he works for 2 ½ to 3 hours. On a recent trip to London, he said his routine didn’t change. Except for the cat, which had to stay at home.

“By 9 a.m. my wife wakes up and I can aggravate her for the rest of the day,” Myers says.

Myers has created a process that helps him think through his ideas into successful stories that sell. “I do every book the exact same way in three steps,” he says. Read more