By Cynthia Leitich Smith
Gina Rosati is the first-time author of Auracle (Roaring Brook, 2012). From the promotional copy:
Sixteen-year-old Anna Rogan has a secret she’s only shared with her best friend, Rei; she can astrally project out of her body, allowing her spirit to explore the world and the far reaches of the universe.
When there’s a fatal accident and her classmate Taylor takes over Anna’s body, what was an exhilarating distraction from her repressive home life threatens to become a permanent state.
Faced with a future trapped in another dimension, Anna turns to Rei for help.
Now the two of them must find a way to get Anna back into her body and stop Taylor from accusing an innocent friend of murder. Together Anna and Rei form a plan but it doesn’t take into account the deeper feelings that are beginning to grow between them.
What was the one craft resource book that helped you most during your apprenticeship? Why? How would you book-talk it to another beginning writer in need of help?
Story Engineering by Larry Brooks (Writer’s Digest, 2011).
I wrote Auracle by the seat of my pants, and when I look back on all the suggestions made by my agent and editor, if I had known the information presented in Story Engineering, my first draft would have been cleaner, I could have saved myself a lot of editing time and the publication process would have gone much faster.
The main idea behind Story Engineering is the need to outline, or at the very least, to know your beginning, your end, and your major plot points. He breaks the process of writing a novel down into six core competencies (concept, character, theme, story structure, scene execution and writing voice), and thoroughly describes them in plain English using short examples to illustrate his points.
It’s a no-nonsense guide to writing from someone who has written and had several novels published within the conventional publishing system. It’s definitely the best $17.99 investment I’ve made in my writing.
As a librarian-author, how do your two identities inform one another? What about being a librarian has been a blessing to your writing?
|Photo courtesy of Marc Nozell.|
Years ago, when I worked for a Burger King regional office, we were required to work in a restaurant for a few days so we could appreciate things like why we shouldn’t call the restaurant during lunch rush, the pain of burning fry oil splashing on our arm and understand what was important (the customer!).
It’s the same thing for me working in a library…
I’ve learned to appreciate that there’s no such thing as one size fits all when it comes to the teenage reader. I’ve learned to appreciate the role of a librarian, the limited resources they have to work with and the uncomfortable spots they find themselves in when a book is challenged.
I’ve even learned to appreciate the basic nuts and bolts of book layout – that publishers should never use black paper inside the cover because that’s where we stamp the books and they should always leave a blank space for the Date Due slip to be glued.
In return for a few hours a week spent checking books in and out, processing new books, and re-shelving returns, I get to study the elusive middle grade reader in their natural habitat, see which books they get really excited about (and which books are returned with a bookmark stuck at the halfway point) and gain all kinds of insight from my wonderful librarian friends about the world of middle grade and young adult lit.
One of the biggest thrills I get is when my librarian hands me the current VOYA or School Library Journal and asks what books I recommend she buys for the library. Volunteering in a school library brings the reason I write YA full circle for me.
Find Gina at Twitter, Facebook, and Good Reads. She's a member of the Apocalypsies and the Class of 2k12. See also Gina's blog.