q & a

I like Q & A posts, so I’m thrilled that after a little over a month I have a handful of questions from the comments for fodder. Thanks for asking. Also, I updated Writing Love with quotes people have left saying something like, “This reminded me of you…”

How do you make the images or play with your pictures?
I use Photoshop Elements 9.0. Many years ago my parents gave me PSE 5.0 for my birthday. It quit working last year and they gave me the new version. I love this program. Although I use it for little things on my blog like frames around a photo or changing photos to black & white, as well as making toppers for my kids’ school snack, I use it primarily for digital scrapbooking. I learned how to use the program by taking an online class offered by Jessica Sprague called Up and Running with Photoshop. I highly recommend this class to anyone new to Photoshop.

What are you working on?
I have a few answers to this question. First, I’m in the middle of a draft for a new professional book called Celebrating Writers that I’m writing with Christi Overman. We hope to have the manuscript complete before school starts on August 15.

I just sent queries to agents about my completed contemporary YA novel called Strength.

I’m beginning to get to know characters for another YA novel.

I have a goal to scrapbook at least one page/week about my family. I’m also creating an album for our babysitter who is a senior in high school. I’m making 4 pages/month for her.

 Is this character in the same YA work in progress as the character whose hand map you just did?
Yes they are for the same project. I’ve been playing with characters since April and feel pretty confident these are going to be the two main characters.

Do you write in a journal or do you use the computer? Lately, I have been jotting down snippets of ideas for writing I want to do but I don’t get to the writing part. I know I just need to get out my journal and write for 10 or 20 minutes but wondered about opening a word document and doing the same. Any thoughts? 

When I’m getting to know the characters, then most of my work is done in my writer’s notebook. As I thought about your question, I realize I use the same rule of thumb that I teach students. When the work is for me, the writer, I use my notebook. I make maps and sketches, lists and webs, and I quick write snippets of scenes that help me get a sense of my characters and the setting. When the story becomes for the reader, I draft outside of my notebook. Typically I draft on my computer. As I was revising the ending to Strength, I drafted a lot in a notebook (not my writer’s notebook, just a regular, spiral college ruled notebook) for some reason I “clammed up” when I opened my computer. However, this was the exception, not the norm.

For my professional work I do most of it on the computer. Even when I’m planning, I make the list in the word document. I think this is because most of my “notebook thinking” is via blog posts, so when I’m ready to draft, I usually just have to jot a few notes in order to get my ideas in order. Then I draft. It’s a little faster process than the fiction work I do.

As far as your question, I’d say try them both and see which one is the most effective for you. I think it’s good to have a few avenues to draft. This way when the mood strikes to type, you’ve got a place for it and when you don’t have access to your computer, but you want to write, then you have have a place for it.
What is Sophia’s favorite song? And, what does that say about who she is? Thanks for the mention above! I’m glad the idea roused a memory and furthered your character study…
I don’t know Sophia’s favorite song yet. However, I do know this is a driving force for me as a writer. Someday (soon I hope) I plan to post the play list for Strength.
I didn’t know you took inspiration from rodents!


I know this isn’t a question, but I need to make it clear: I do not take inspiration from rodents. The inspiration was for fellow writing group member, Tam. Rodents and I are not on good terms. Ever.


Hi Ruth, Great post! Supports my idea that writing many things at once is a possibility. What is your new YA project?
said Brandi on when do you write?

It’s still in that really fuzzy stage. I know bits about the characters, but not enough to be able to talk about it concisely. I do know it’s going to be a story about learning to trust others enough to let them get to know you.

Forgot to tell you that I loved the peek into your notebook, & to ask how you did that. It’;s intriguing.

It’s a gadget in Blogger. If you go into Layout and ADD A GADGET you’ll see it labeled Slideshow. In WordPress it’s a widget. Just add the Slideshow widget.

1 Comment »

  1. All the answers are interesting, Ruth. And thanks for answering mine. I know about the widgets, but never thought about the slideshow for what you did. Terrific!