Monday, January 13, 2014

Children's Authors 'Dare' One Another to Write Over the Holidays

What a great way to get over writer's block if you are facing it - with a friendly challenge!

Via Publishers Weekly

Five days, 15 authors, 18 writing challenges, and a total of 53,000 words – the equivalent of a novel. These are the stats for a recent series of writing challenges – or “dares,” as the participants called them – orchestrated by members of OneFour KidLit, a collective of middle-grade and YA authors whose debut books are due out in 2014. The authors vied to see who could write the most words in designated 30-minute sessions during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

The OneFour KidLit writing challenges sprang from Rachael Allen’s pre-Christmas post on the group’s Web site. “I asked if anyone was planning on writing a ton over the holiday break,” said Allen, who will publish 17 First Kisses with HarperTeen in June. “I wanted to write, but felt I needed some motivation – kind of like having workout buddies. Several people responded that they’d be interested in writing a lot over that time period, but we didn’t have any idea of how to go about doing that together.”

OneFour KidLit member Rebecca Petruck, whose Steering Toward Normal is a May release from Abrams/Amulet, came up with a solution. She created the hashtag #30mdare on Twitter and announced the joint writing project on the group’s message board. “It was one of those spur-of-the-moment things that ended up being just right,” she said. “People would spontaneously announce that a dare would take place at a certain time, and anyone who participated would report back with their word counts. Whoever wrote the most during the 30-minute sprint got to choose the others’ online profile pictures – most turned out to be good-naturedly bad – which stayed up for 24 hours or until the next dare.”

She added that the freewheeling challenges foster innovation as well as creativity. “The dares are great for turning off that internal editor,” said Petruck. “The challenges encouraged me to try anything with the first draft I’m now writing, and let my muse flow, which is hard for me to do. I might not have let myself try some of the ideas that hit the page during the dares if I’d thought about it too much. And the other authors made me laugh and reminded me that writing really is fun.”

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