Today, I’m joined by my friend, Dannie Morin. We met a number of years ago at the SCBWI Carolinas conference, and I’m so excited to have the chance to sit down and talk with Dannie about her writing journey. Enjoy!
1. When did you start writing?
When I was in Kindergarten I won the grade-level prize for my epic ten sentence story, “How the Dog Got His Tail.” There were killer illustrations of tailless dogs involved.
I got serious about publishing in college and made my first attempt during my graduate program. It was not nearly as well-received as the tailless dog story. But I honestly don’t remember a time in my life when I haven’t been writing or revising something.
2. Are you a pantser or a planner?
I am a planner, but I’m also a woman, so I reserve the right to change my mind. 🙂
3. Can you give us an idea of your writing process?
I’m doing something totally different with my new WIP, but it’s really working for me so far. I started out with a “what if” question (my books always start that way: what if X character was put in Y predicament), expanded it to a twitter pitch, then a query-length synopsis, then a full five page synopsis. I always write my first and last chapters first and then I write everything else out of order depending on what inspires me at the moment. Sometimes a character will frustrate me and I need to get him out of my head for a little while, or I’ll have a quirky conversation between two characters pop into my head and I need to write that scene before I lose it. So I let my first draft come about organically. That gets very little editing before it goes to my most trusted beta readers, because after I revise I tend to become married to certain story elements that might not work for anyone but me. My first draft is also usually significantly shorter than the final product (around 50K). From there my revision process has varied dramatically. Sometimes I scrap a story altogether, sometimes I’ll revise it ten times before I get more feedback on it. I’m still learning how to be a good revisionist.
4. Which authors have influenced your work?
Harper Lee, because she is a master of character architecture and world-building in a realistic setting, J.K. Rowling because she reignited my love of reading at a time when I really needed to be inspired, Simone Elkeles because she pushes the envelope in ways that made me believe the scandalous things I write might actually be publishable, and Megan Miranda because she liked my first chapter of IMPERFECTLY FINE way more than I did and because I want to be her when I grow up.
5. What are you plans/future projects/new releases that we should be aware of?
Lots of blog contest stuff at the moment: I’m co-hosting Trick or Treat with an Agent in October and I’m a mentor for PitchWars in November, so stay tuned to my blog for further info in the coming weeks.
6. Any tips for new writers?
7. Any tips for old writers?
Dannie Morin is an addictions therapist with a writing problem. By day, she’s a counselor for teens and learned her trade working with young people with cystic fibrosis. By night, she writes, edits, and critiques like a boss. Dannie is a hyperactive participant in the Carolinas Region of SCBWI, a vociferous member of the Scribophile online writing community, a reviewer of YA and NA fiction, and a freelance editor. She is a contributing blogger at YA Stands and pens upper young adult and new adult fiction. She can be found in your interwebz via her Blog, Twitter, GoodReads, and Facebook accounts.
Dannie is represented by Thao Le of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.