Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Writing Styles

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I teach a class at the University of Toronto, School of Continuing Studies called Writing for Children: Introduction ( I’ve been doing it for the past five years and it’s something I love. It forces me to think about the process of writing and to articulate it. The class is part didactic; I give a one hour lecture on some aspect of writing (i.e. character, setting, plot), and part workshop; the students bring in samples of their work and we as a group critique the writing.

Last week I talked with the students about my personal writing style and the process that works for me. I have discovered that I am a linear thinker. I like to develop a brief outline of my story and then a full chapter by chapter break-down. I need to know where a book is going even before I write the first page. Now before you think of me as inflexible, please be aware that this break-down is a blueprint only and can and does change as the writing goes on. I’m not rigid about it, but it really helps me stay focused.

I know not everyone thinks and writes this way. I attended a workshop last year where I heard author Susan Juby talk about her writing style. She said that she wrote in episodes; she would actually plaster her office with these written scenes. She then constructed a book by figuring out the arrangement of these incidents into a sequence. The way one scene unfolded dictated the next one, etc.

At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter what your individual writing style is. It does help to have one though!

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Kathy Kacer

Kathy Kacer is an award-winning children's author whose focus is historical fiction and true stories about the Holocaust. Her many books include The Secret of Gabi's Dresser, Clara's War, The Underground Reporters, Hiding Edith and The Diary of Laura's Twin.

Go to Kathy Kacer’s Author Page