Karen Cushman

Karen Cushman

Newbery award-winning children’s book author

Karen Cushman

Pity the Spider and the Novelist

Spider!I have almost finished the final final final revisions for Alchemy and Meggy Swann. The book is scheduled for publication next spring, 2010, so I’d better get it finished and off. I have been having a good time. Revisions are much easier for me than getting down that first draft. I think it’s because I feel in control. When I’m writing a first draft, I feel lost and confused, unsure and hesitant and totally at sea. I don’t know where I’m going or how I’ll get there and it all seems hopeless. My friend Sharon Creech says when she writes it’s like an angel comes and sits on her shoulder and whispers the story in her ear. Boy, not me. Other writers write as if their characters take off and just tell them what to write. Not me. Katherine Paterson has a friend who said the two creatures most to be pitied are the spider and the novelist, their lives hanging by a thread spun out of their own guts. Yes, that’s me! Pulling a story painfully out of my gut strand by strand, often word by word. And I can’t think of another thing I’d rather do. Go figure.

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