Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Answers to Writing/Story Questions

Welcome to the question and answer session that will reveal my long time obsession with The Lord of the Rings series, among other things. So without further ado, I give you my answers to your writing and story questions.

Sharon K Mayhew asked, "Have you been to any of the Highlights workshops?"

I would LOVE to attend a Highlights workshop, in fact, I'd love to attend more than one, but even the plane ticket to get across the country is out of my budget right now. If, however, any of you live near Pennsylvania or have a healthy savings account, they offer a variety of wonderful workshops throughout the year. One of these days …

Shelley (storyqueen) asked, "And, favorite thing you've ever written."

"The Letter O" - the second poem I sold to Highlights is still my favorite.

Jackee said, "And I want a list of books written and poems published. Yeah, WIPs and publications."

The only novel I've ever finished a draft of (three actually) is Star Swans and Sarki. But I don't think I've ever mentioned the picture books I've tried submitting to publishers. They would count as books written. I've written others I didn't consider finished enough to submit. Hopefully, I'll get them there eventually.

Picture Books 
Bubbles Popping Everywhere
Monty's Piggyback Ride
We Paint the Night
Skunk on a Skateboard
Emma's Underwear 
The Baby Who Loves to Wear Shoes

Poems Published (all by Highlights High Five)
The Letter S                    (September 2007)
The Letter O                   (January 2008)
My Umbrella                  (March 2009)
A Place on My Bed        (June 2010)

You may have noticed the same pattern I have. As I've already had a poem published this year, I'm guessing Worm School won't come out until the beginning of next year. Though, I'll certainly let you know when I know for sure. :o)

You totally made me pull out my record book, Jackee, not that that's a bad thing.

Holly Ruggiero asked, "Do you have any work published online? What's your favorite part beginning, middle, or end?"

I don't. And my favorite part varies with the project, but usually it's the middle.

Susan Fields asked, "Question for you: What's your favorite movie, old or new?"

This is such a hard question. I'd have to agree that The Lord of the Rings movies are brilliant, but I've only seen them a couple of times because I don't want the actors and actresses to replace the character
s I've been carrying around in my head for so long. My favorite movie was Better Off Dead for years,k but I'm going with Second Hand Lions. The best movie I've seen this year is How to Train Your Dragon.

Julie Dao asked, "What books do you not have in your library that you would really like to get?"

At the moment, I'd really like copies of Kiersten White's Paranormalcy and Robin McKinley's Pegasus. I'd also like to own the Anne of Green Gables series and all of Jane Austen's books, except for Emma. The only one I have is Northanger Abbey. Oh, and while I have an unlimited budget, I'd like the rest of Mo Willems' Elephant and Piggy series, and Shelley Moore Thomas' Good Knight books. :o)

Beth Revis asked, "If you could make any character in any book come to real life, which would it be and why?"

Harold, I'd love to go on an adventure with him and that purple crayon of his. Do you think he'd let me borrow it? ;o)

Weronika Janczuk asked, "Favorite secondary character ever is . . . ?

  . . . Sam Gamgee, from The Lord of the Rings. However, if you feel that all members of the fellowship are main characters, I also love Eowyn. Most of my (few) gripes with the movies are Sam related. In the first book, Sam saves Frodo by slashing at the (tentacle of the Watcher) that grabs him and pulling him out of reach. Who saves Frodo in the movie? And in The Return of the King (the movie), they actually had Sam leave Frodo on the stairs going into Mordor. Yeah, right. Eowyn though, Eowyn was perfect.

Lacey asked, "Have you always wanted to be a writer or did someone or something inspire you?"

I've always liked making up stories and poems, and I had teachers who encouraged me. There are other occupations I've been interested in, but writing compliments any subject or occupation.

and "Do you ever fictionalize people you know?"

I did for a short story I wrote in college, but when my professor encouraged me to try submitting to literary magazines, the thought of selling it made me nervous. Since then, I've never intentionally fictionalized a real person, but I borrow character traits and experiences. Most of my characters have more of me in them than anyone else I know, even my antagonists. Most characters take on a life of their own, as soon as they start having conversations and interacting with other characters. And reading back over that short story from college, even those characters had bits of me in them. I doubt the people I fictionalized would recognize themselves.

Thanks for your questions! I hope you found something interesting in the answers.


  1. I love that Harold too. I would love to have a magical purple crayon.

  2. I really liked reading your answers to readers' questions. So interesting!


  3. Sam is a fantastic character, isn't he? Definitely one of the best helper heroes ever written.

    Thanks for these answers, Myrna. They were fun to read. Have you sold "Worm School," or is the contract still in the works?

  4. This was great fun. I love LOTR! (Though Eowyn and Pippin were always my favorites :)
    And Anne of Green Gables; with your imaginary unlimited budget you should get Easton Press's leathorbound set--most amazing present I ever received.
    And on Highlights workshops...my husband attended the week-long workshop in Chautauqua last month, and it was incredible. Worth any airfare you can scrounge up. Also, they do offer financial aid for ALL their workshops, though they don't widely advertise this. But they're all about helping all writers develop their skill, even if you're not as rich as J. K. Rowling yet. ;)

  5. He's great, isn't he, Holly? My favorite Harold adventure is Harold's Trip to the Sky.

    Thanks, Sue!

    You're welcome, Krista! I sold Worm School in December.

    Faith, I loved Pippin too. I used to read the series every December, during Christmas break. Now, unfortunately, Christmas break is the most hectic time of the year.

    And Highlights has sent me e-mails, encouraging me to take advantage of their financial aid. Ben didn't even know they offered workshops until Sharon asked her question, and now that we've talked about it, he wants me to go. And airlines offer great deals every now and then. :o)

  6. Loved reading your answers to all the writing questions. And the random questions too. :)

  7. Haha!

    I'll see what I can do.....


  8. Thanks, Rorie!

    Shelley, you'll see what you can do about what?

  9. Skunk on a Skateboard sounds like a winner :)

  10. Myrna, can you teach me how to write? You're awesome!!

  11. I love reading your answers! I loved How to Train Your Dragon, also. I watched the LOTR movies a dozen times (I tend to rewatch the same movies over and over when I'm folding laundry since I'm not really paying attention), but I've never read the books.

  12. Wonderful answers, Myrna! Thanks so much for dragging out your work list just for me. You made my day. I can't wait to see the ones not published published someday.

    And once again, I think we have so much in common that we just might have been twins in our past lives! :o)

  13. P.S. "I want my two dollars!"


  14. Great post! Myrna, there's an award for you over on my blog.

  15. I'm rather fond of Harold, too! And I didn't realize you had so many picture books under your belt - awesome!

  16. I thought so, Sarah. Maybe I should write a new story to go with the title.

    Thanks, Vicki!

    I bet you'd love the books, Susan.

    You're welcome, Jackee!

    Thanks, Catherine!

    Susan, none of them are published, but thanks!

  17. I enjoyed reading your answers. I especially respond to the movie answers. I LOVE the movie Secondhand Lions. And Anne of Green Gables is wonderful. I read all the Anne books way back in the fifties when I was a teenager. Every once in a while I want to read them again from my "older" viewpoint. It is very strange when you get older to read/see what you did when you were very young.

    And congrats on your published poems. I'd love to read them. I submitted a few stories to Highlights many, many years ago. It's one of the few best magazines for children.