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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Guest Blogger: Author Martha Brockenbrough on Writing the Book You Should Be Writing, Part 1

I am thrilled and honored to have a 3-part guest blog from Martha Brockenbrough this week on Writing the Book You Should Be Writing. I called myself a Martha fan long before I met her in person. She has written for Encarta, MSN Movies, and Maybe Means Probably Not on Cozi; penned two hilarious books, It Could Happen to You and Things That Make Us [Sic]; and founded The Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar (SPOGG) and GLOP, Gorgeous Ladies of Publishing. Martha's also quite talented at wrapping her friends in saris (no matter if they're backwards...it just makes them shinier). She is currently at work on a top secret YA novel.

Welcome, Martha!


Writing the book you should be writing

You know what's tough? Spending a year writing a 100,000-word adventure novel only to discover, as you type the magical words "the end," that it was not the book you should have been writing.

It's the sort of thing that would have made me cry and barf when I was just setting out to write fiction. I actually asked one of my favorite writers, Michael Chabon, if he'd ever written a book that just didn't work. I couldn't imagine that the answer would be yes. Apparently, I have a weak imagination.

"Yes," he said. And he gave me a four-star version of sad author eyes. Puppies have nothing on Michael Chabon.

I asked my question during an intimate dinner party/fundraiser in the back room of the now-defunct All For Kids bookstore, which prevented me from shaming myself further by a) accusing him of lying; or b) asking if he would please give me his rejected manuscript.


Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow: So how does a writer sink time into the wrong book?


  1. Fantastic interview, Holly and Martha! Oh, dear, I think I might be in this exact spot right now, wondering if my WIP is actually a WTOTBS (work that ought to be shelved).


  2. LOVE THIS and can't wait for me. See...I think I may have written the wrong book, too.... *cries*

  3. I may be writing a wrong book too... we shall see. Crying and barfing, yes, that's a perfect description.