This probably comes as no shock to anyone but I'm a word person. I think in words and I process and communicate in words--the written kind, not so much the spoken. It's quite the departure for me to focus on images in this message.
I wanted to give you a behind-the-scenes peek into the process of bringing a book likeShucked into the world, and while I could do that with words (lots of them), I thought it would be more fun to show you.
So, how did I make this beautiful book? Let's go on a journey starting with the finished product and rounding out with my whiteboard, circa two years ago.
[Image Description: paperback copy of Shucked in the garden with an untrustworthy gnome]
Before we got anywhere close to pretty paperbacks, I read through the book so many times. There were ten editorial passes on this book (and there will still be tiny typos that persevere through all that scrutiny because that is the rule of books), and after each big set of the process, I'd print it out, make revisions, and add to my running list of Things to Make Better.
Yes, that's a technical term.
[Image Description: stack of 900-ish pages of Shucked with a highlighted list of problems]
Every chapter gets a small Post-It note and those notes live in a translucent folder. When the chapter is finished, I move it (or forcefully slap it, depending on how hard that chapter made me work) to the Finished Things portion of my whiteboard.
[Image Description: Column of post-it notes representing each chapter of Shucked]
Getting a Post-It on the whiteboard requires me to actually write the book and I had the luxury of writing it twice--once by hand, as my brain greatly prefers--and then again when it was time to type the whole damn thing up.
[Image Description: Pages from my notebook of Shucked]
Before each chapter can get a small Post-It Note, I have to break my monstrously messy and logical-only-to-me outline into chapters with big Post-It Notes. I promise, the use of Post-Its is essential. Same with pink highlighter.
[Image Description: pages of Post-It Notes representing the outline of each chapter.
Often, I have to plan out semi-irrelevant information before I can start writing or continue past a certain point. In this book, it was the yearlong calendar of events for the town of Friendship. Some of these events will sound familiar from In a Jam. Many of these are inspired by real Rhode Island festivals.
[Image Description: handwritten calendar of Friendship's festivals.]
The beginning is always a stream of consciousness list of moments. Many of these things change along the way. One of the core elements I'd planned for this book died along the way because it didn't make sense when I got to know these characters and the way they interacted.
[Image Description: handwritten ideas from the early brainstorms of Shucked]
And here's the text message from November 9, 2021 when the idea started taking shape in my mind. Full disclosure, I did chop off the rest of that text thread because it was loaded with spoilers.
[Image Description: text message reading “I was thinking about a series based on a family of clammers who own an oyster bar and call it Shucked”]
That is the journey from inkling to Post-It Note to arriving on Tuesday. Process is unbelievable long, it is messy, and it's a lot of fun--just like Shucked. This is a bananapants (or, as Beck would say, bananas in pajamas) story and I can't wait for you to read it.
I'll be back next week for release day! And I'll have some character inspiration and mood board images to get you into a Shucked state of mind.
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