Four Questions from a Monster

Would I like to participate in a Blog Hop? This was the question posed to me by Paul Czajak (author of multiple picture books about a monster named Monster). Of course, I answered yes! Here’s a little more about Paul and don’t forget to check out his blog hop entry here:

Paul CzajakPaul Czajak got an ‘F’ with the words “get a tutor” on his college writing paper and after that, never thought he’d become a writer. But after spending twenty years as a chemist, he knew his creativity could no longer be contained. His first picture book, Monster Needs A Costume, illustrated by Wendy Grieb was recently released through Scarletta Kids.  This is the first picture book in the Monster & Me series (all of which will be illustrated by Wendy), with the second, Monster Needs His Sleep due April 2014 and then Monster Needs A Christmas Tree set for September 2014.  He has also recently signed a contract for Seaver the Weaver which will be illustrated by Ben Hilts of The Hilts Brothers and is planned for April 2015.

So let’s get right to the nitty-gritty.

Blog Hop Question #1: What are you working on right now?

Well, I am writing a post on my blog called Four Questions from a Monster. Wow, that was an easy one. Let’s go to question #2.

Blog Hop Question #2: How does it differ from other works in the genre?

What? Wait. I think I might have misunderstood question #1.

Oh, what ‘writing projects’ am I working on? I’m in the middle of lots of stuff, but it all involves picture book manuscripts and rhyming. You see, I have impeccable rhythm and rhyming ability (when I write). Mama Funk will tell you my rhythm outside of writing is (what’s the opposite of impeccable? blemished? I’ll go with that) blemished. Some of it involves alien caterpillars. Others involve megalomaniac grasshoppers. I’m really into insects. Or maybe all of that is a lie.

But how does it differ from other works? Well, first of all, it isn’t published. That’s one difference.

But seriously, what I’d like to say is different from some (not all) works in the genre, is that my writing is intended to entertain both parents and children. If it can’t entertain parents, then who is going to read it to the kids? I want to enjoy the books that my many many offspring bring to me at bed time(s). There are lots of books that entertain kids, and many that entertain me. Some entertain all of us. That’s what I’d like to see more of, so that’s one thing I’m trying to do.

Blog Hop Question #3: Why do you write what you write?

I really should have read through these questions before I started typing. I write what I write because I want children and parents to be entertained (as I said while answering question #2).

But I have other reasons. I think that children’s books should also educate. Picture books should push the boundaries of language and teach kids new words. Not always through definitions and glossaries. And not so that parents will have to stop and explain what a word means. Picture books have pictures, so kids can glean meanings from context, especially if the books are read multiple times. I’m not saying I want my five-year-old to speak like Charles Wallace, but I really don’t want to dumb it down for him.

I also try to be unique. I’m sure many people endeavor toward originality, and along the way, I’m sure agents, publishers, acquisition editors, etc. push to the mainstream.  But I’ve read enough books where a bear needs to learn how to get dressed (if you wrote a book like this, I apologize – I am not thinking of any book in particular).

There are lots of unique books being published today, but again, I want more!

Blog Hop Question #4: What is the hardest part about writing?

So many possible answers … which one do I pick?

  • Coming up with an idea?
  • Hammering out that first full draft?
  • Receiving discouraging critiques?
  • Revising?
  • Writing queries?
  • Submitting?
  • Receiving rejections?
  • Promoting?
  • Travel away from your family?
  • Paparazzi?

(many of those I haven’t yet experienced)

I’m going to go with waiting (I swear I wrote this before reading Paul’s answer to this question – although I’m not surprised we share the same one).

Tom Petty

Whether it’s

  • waiting for critiques
  • waiting for an answer from an agent
  • waiting for an answer from an editor
  • waiting for an answer from an acquisitions team
  • waiting to see your illustrator’s interpretation of your text
  • waiting to see your book in print
  • waiting for your release day
  • waiting for your launch party
  • waiting for your sales numbers
  • waiting for your royalty check
  • or waiting for the whole chain to start again …

(again, I have not experienced most of those)

Waiting is definitely the hardest part about writing. So what do I do while I’m waiting? I write more, of course!

And now, to pass this blog hop on to more willing participants. If you see links below, you know I have writer friends who are interested in sharing their lives with you. So click over to them. And be sure to click backward to Paul Czajak’s as well!

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