Writing update

I know, I am still working on the final edits of Kristallnacht. I have a couple areas that are bugging me. Nothing huge, time consuming or structural. Just nit-picky stuff now that the story (or this part of it) is out of my brain and on virtual paper. I keep rereading it while fixing the silly typos my copy editor caught. And btw thank G-d for copy editors! Maybe someday I will be able to afford one for my blog and my (in my own head) pithy and humorous status updates. Anyway, I have noticed a few patches I don’t love. e.g. In the Prologue set circa 1989, which is the only part of Kristallnacht not set on November 10, 1938. There is a lot of dialog with Alex Kagan. But even for an extremely precocious 4 (almost 5) year old, intentionally written wise beyond her years, she just didn’t sound enough like a four year old. As I happen to have an extremely precocious 4 year old (5 next month), also wise beyond his years, I started really listening to him. Let me rephrase that as I always listen to him.  I spent some time studying his sentences and was blown away by how far I missed the mark. She sounded too much like an adult. This is more than a little embarrassing to realize as someone with a background in child development, teaching, a writer with a children’s series with a 5 year old protagonist, and a father of a child the same age. So that obviously needs some tweaking.

I tried but couldn’t get in the mind space to tackle it today. I did, however, make some progress on my new children’s series which is my collaborative project with my kids. I really love where this is going, but I have to admit the collaborative part while often fun, rewarding, and completely amazing, is just as often frustrating as hell. I am a fairly quick writer. I loved working on Egret. I’m not by any means finished, but with only 2 published and another 6 to 8 more books still waiting in the wings, its not a priority. But I knocked out the first 8-10 books (depending how I split them) in a very short period of time, often writing for hours on end. It is the same way for my, heavy on the Kabbalah, Urban Fantasy series. The bulk of the Sexton and the Reaper and Kristallnacht were done in a couple major writing sessions. But with this new series, most likely titled Bobby and Samara, Wizard Apprentices, to keep it collaborative I can’t write like that.

At less than a month short of 5 and (OMG) 4 days short of 7, Elijah and Joshua just don’t have that kind of attention span. It is totally understandable but frustrating since I have already mapped out several books in my head and I see this series having solid commercial potential in the 5-11 age range. But I can’t lose sight of the fact I started this as a learning opportunity, based on Elijah’s request. So I need to get better at 1. Slowing down and letting them be part of the ride. 2. Remembering that at *almost* 5 and 7, I can’t push them beyond what they can handle or it will lose its value as a learning tool and could likely turn them off to the entire process. 3. It is okay to take this one slower, after all I still have the Kagan series to fill my hyper focused writing sessions.

So on a bit of a tangent, I am not sure which will come out first. This new series, or the book in the Egret series where we meet her best friend, also named Samara. Samara is the name planned for both Joshua and Elijah until we counted to eleven on their sonograms. I am curious (if any has bothered reading this far), since the series are so different with one Samara being an elephant and the other a 7 1/2 year old girl… Egret targeted at pre-school/early elementary and the other solidly elementary with only advanced readers, on the younger end, likely to be able to read it on their own… Does anyone see an issue with my using the name Samara in both series? I mean other than the obvious psychological one that child number 3 (this time a daughter) is not in my cards.

Posted from Potomac, Maryland, United States.


  1. says

    I read your blog. I follow you on Facebook, cause you know that… As a fellow children’s writer I can understand the view points you struggle with. I have been working on book number two which is more of a chapter book versus my first which was was an easy reader; Small Hangers was a blast to write, I am struggling with the constant corrections aka over fixing also known as tweeking… I wish you the best on your adventure, good luck.

  2. karen mattonen says

    Amy a friend of mine who is an author gave me the best advice. If it is over 75% finished then quit tweaking, or you will tweak forever and never get it done..

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