In her first blog article iUniverse author Rebecca Linam gave us huge insights into writing children’s books, now she gets specific by giving us the writing inspiration for her iUniverse Editor’s Choice book, Alex the Great.
Writing iUniverse Alex the Great
“I originally started writing Alex the Great when I was in the ninth grade. We had just moved up to the high school, and I was completely enthralled by Friday pep rallies. Never in my life had we been allowed to be as loud as we wanted to be and throw paper around, i.e. confetti, without getting in trouble. The kids in the older grades were even wilder than we ninth-graders, throwing their classmates up in the air. I remember coming home from school one Friday, grabbing a fresh notebook, and putting down the whole experience on paper so that everyone else could experience the same exhilaration.
The result was one third of a novel about a fifth grader who refuses to conform to the unwritten rules of middle school. Instead, she keeps playing with her toys and doesn’t care one lick that the other students won’t have a thing to do with her. She would rather play with her cat and dog. I wrote eight chapters, much of which contains details of my own middle school experience and one chapter that includes the above-mentioned pep rally. I planned out twice as many chapters, but somehow I moved on to other writing projects and left Alex alone for seventeen or so years.”
“Eons later, after participating in a friend’s wedding, I got to thinking about tomboy Alex and her aversion to fancy dress clothes. I picked up my ninth-grade manuscript, took out the boring parts, and finished the story. Things from my entire middle-school career popped up. In eighth-grade, there was an empty locker next to mine that wouldn’t lock. We used to throw old papers into it. In Alex the Great, it turned into a hiding place for a stray kitten. As for the plot, I also had a beautiful white cat that was the victim of a spiteful neighbor. It became one of the key events in the book.
Writing about life-changing events, such as this one, make the words pour out onto the paper. Once I got to this point in the novel, I couldn’t stop writing. My own memories became so entwined with Alex’s story that I found myself crying right along with her, my own tears blotting away the ink on my notebook. Even after tons of editing, every time I see that one sentence when Alex finds out that her cat has died, I still get a chill and remember my own eighth-grade experience with it.”
In this second blog from Rising Star author Rebecca Linam has outlined her writing inspiration for Alex the Great, now look out for more writing tips coming soon.