And look another teacher! We've had a few teachers, I think you are number three or four, I've lost count. So what is it with teachers and writing or writing and teachers?
With me, its my students are inspiring. They have awesome, break through moments, emotional rollercoasters that break my heart because they feel so much, and I NEVER know what's going to come out of their mouths. They leave me laughing all the time and that leads to great material for me. And as a high school English teacher, I have them work on creative writing and it's a great chance for me to model the behavior for them.
Your review a lot of YA on your blog. Can you share three of your favorites from this year and why you loved them?
I am in love with Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck. I think the cultural aspect and mystical world she is building is so gripping. November can't come fast enough for me. Another one is Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick. I love how snarky Patch is and talk about a cliffhanger at the end of that story! And my last, I read in December, so I am going to count it, Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. I read this before the Mortal Instrument series, and I fell in love with the world she created and, the 1800s in England is one of my favorite time periods. All three of them are must reads if you like paranormal.
I haven't read any of those, so I will definitely add them to my TBR pile. Thanks. Now if we move on to your writing, You recently finished your first manuscript and are now looking for an agent. What made you decide it was finished?
I worked on my manuscript for over a year, before I let anyone read it. It's super personal and I was really nervous whoever read it, wouldn't like it. So I started with a dear friend of mine, who gave me a lot of insight and a lot of positive reinforcement - which is super important in the writing world. After that, I gave it two more people, one a former English teacher of 30 years (plus) and a librarian who does editing on the side. They were great and did a great job editing and catching where I needed to improve. Did I mention they did this twice? After that I started looking for an agent. I got a little bit of nibble the other day so I hope it pans out for me. But my critique partner, just finished reading my manuscript and picked up ona few things - so, I'm working on it...again.
Oh yes, I know that again feeling and again, and again. But moving on, I've asked everyone this question. When you write are you a plotter or pantster?
Total Panster. It's how I start all of my stories. I get this intense scene in my head, typically the climax or the last three pages of the story, and after that I start to piece it together. And always I keep that first scene that I wrote. It's like my foundation and I have never wanted to change it.
I start with scenes too, but unlike you. they are usually so far from what I end up with. So from one Michelle to another, what's your top writing tip?
Get an honest, positive support system. I have a few people I trust to be completely honest with me but not in a mean way. Encouragement will get you through. You want people who are on your side and won't let you submit something that isn't ready or write something (like a scene) that just doesn't fit. The writing world is critical and I think it is better to hear it from someone who cares than a stranger.
I agree with getting a support system, but my critique group were strangers to begin with, who are now pretty invested in helping me improve. If you don't mind Michelle can you share your most valuable writing resource?
I have two. The book, How Not to Write a Novel (it's hilarious) and Nadine, the English teacher of 30 years plus. Both reliable and knowledgeable in all things writing.
I'll have to check out the book, unfortunately I guess we can't share Nadine. Oh well, we're nearing the end now, so finally why did you join the challenge?
I think networking is great for a lot of reasons: support, comic relief - one of my groups is trying to coin the term "art ho", new information, and feedback are some of them. I think it is a place that I will grow and learn and hopefully move me closer to being published.
Good luck with your journey Michelle and thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. If you'd like to find out more about Michelle you can visit her here at her blog. Michelle is also hosting a bloghop with lots of giveaways. If you would like to enter, it's really easy, just go here and follow the links.