Monday, April 19, 2010

Two Questions for the Writer in Residence

Last week we had two questions for Fredrick McKissack, Jr.

Dear Mr. McKissack: I would like to know how to become an author? How do you write and make covers? - Bethany

For both fiction and non-fiction, it all begins with an idea. With "Shooting Star" I wondered what if a high school students started taking performance-enhancing drugs; with "Black Diamond" the idea originated with the book's editor, Ann Reit, who thought children and young adults would be interested in what baseball was like before Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier. After the idea, I start researching and outlining, and from there, I write a rough draft. That’s just the beginning, because what happens next is what all writers go through: rewriting. That's where the idea really blossoms, because you see plot holes and dead-ends, as well as chances to revamp scenes and either beef up or cut characters. This is where a good editor is great to have. The editor helps the writer focus the story. It's good to have another set of eyes to see and ears to hear. Even with your schoolwork, it's good to get feedback from someone else.

As for covers, the publishing house and editor works with art directors and illustrators who read the book and figure out the most creative way to get a potential reader to pick up the book. It's an art since covers are not just there to protect the pages. The cover has to catch the reader's eyes and communicate what's inside.

Thank you for the question. - Fred

Dear Mr. McKissack: How do you publish your books? - Lindsay


I work with publishing houses that have editors, book designers, booksellers who help turn a story into a book. You'd be surprised at how many people work to make and sell a book. It goes beyond the writer and editor.

Thank you for the question. - Fred

If you would like to know more about how to write and publish books check out these great titles:
Do you have a question for Fred McKissack, Jr.? Send it to me.

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