Chatting with Linda Sue Park about writing yesterday was just what I needed. I don’t know about you but I do love hearing how successful authors struggle with insecurities. I don’t wish pain and suffering on anyone but it does make me feel a bit better to hear well-known authors talk about floundering at different stages of creation. Linda Sue shared some of her thoughts on the importance of structure (which she feels is the must-have first thing for her which got me rethinking an original idea for structure I had for my project a long time ago) which led to her making the comment that there were two universal themes for stories: hero goes on a journey  and stranger comes to town. 

I admit to hearing that before but I hadn’t stopped to think about that in regard to Plant Kid’s book. So last night when I was in that in-between falling asleep time I gave it some more thought.

First thought: “That SO totally doesn’t work for me.” 

Second thought: “You must not be a real writer then because, come on, Linda Sue Park, HELLO?”

Third thought: “Well it’s not like I have a real plot yet. MAYBE it could work for me.”

Fourth thought: “HELLO?Linda Sue Park, remember.”

Fifth thought: “Well B isn’t going anywhere for real and I don’t think he is going anywhere emotionally so that journey thing is totally out.”

Sixth thought: “You’re not trying. Remember what Linda Sue said, if you want easy, bake a cake.”

Seventh thought: “But no one new comes to town. Everyone already lives there. See, it totally doesn’t work for me.”

Eight thought: “You’re really dense sometimes. Remember what else she said? Remember how she said she wrote three different endings to Kite Fighters? You have to try them all out.”

Ninth thought: “What if M wasn’t someone who already lived there? What if M is the stranger who came to town? What if he came to town because . . .”

The last thought I remember having before falling asleep was about birds which suddenly had the potential to matter in the book which made perfect sense NOW but which I hadn’t even considered before.

Thanks, Linda Sue!

So what about your story? Do you think it fits into one of the two universal themes? 

Did you turn in your best interview question yet for the contest to win an autographed copy of Jim Averbeck’s stunning picture book, In a Blue Room?