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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

SRS Smackdown Spotlight #2: Stacey Goldblatt

A huge welcome to Stacey Goldblatt, my Smackdown Spotlight for this second week of whipping our manuscripts into shape! (And don't forget to check out HipWriterMama Vivian, Jolie's Smackdown Spotlight over at CuppaJolie.)

Stacey is not only the author of STRAY, a funny and honest YA novel about a girl with a sixth sense for dogs - and her chance for freedom - but her second novel, GIRL TO THE CORE, will release next month. You can visit Stacey at her website and blog!

Stacey is here to whip her third novel manuscript into shape and "get to the root of what 'happens' in the story." Stacey says, "Typically, my first draft allows me to find my who, my 'what' my who wants, my where, my why. I don't outline and I never know what's going to happen. I'm constantly going back, but it's in that going back and brush stroking character and plot that allows me momentum to move forward."

Here are Stacey's must-haves for revision:

Bulletin Board: "For GIRL TO THE CORE my bulletin board was rife with Van Morrison lyrics, Irish pub imagery, breathtaking images of Ireland, W.B. Yeats poetry. That helped remind me of my main character's Irish roots and her day-to-day life with her Irish family and the family's pub. My neighbor lent me a statue of the Virgin Mary because I needed to be reminded of the icons my character faced when she walked into her house each day."

Post-Its: "I wrote out chapter by chapter quick synopses of the novel--each chapter fit on a post-it note--and had that on display. I also figured out with my editor the three main plot points of the novel and had that on the bulletin board as well. All of this in one location created a true sense of the novel when I wrote."

Playlist: "Music is important to me and my characters. That said, I need songs that "fit" the novel I'm working on as I write. To date, I have a playlist for each novel."

Binder: "While I'm reading through the draft, I can add comments/story/dialogue by inserting notebook paper in the needed spot. This helps me "grow" the current draft and allows me some longhand time."

Journal: "I journal about the novel I'm revising while I'm revising. What I'm struggling with. Ideas I have. The journal is akin to a support group. I can go to it and let it all sag. It allows me to vent and problem solve."

Readin' Time: "Reading inspires me. The escape permits me to get out of my head and into someone else's story/voice.It refreshes me so I'm ready to move forward when I sit down with my own draft."

Thank you, Stacey, for your whip-lashing inspiration! Smackdowners, what are the must-haves in your revision arsenal? For me, it's my Excel spreadsheet and a cup of tea. And as much thinking time as I can get!

Tomorrow: WHIP TIPS from Brent Hartinger and Darcy Pattison!


  1. Love these idea's and I'm going out to buy myself a binder! (And STRAY)
    I love her idea of visuals and post-its. For me, it is reading and coffee. Lots of coffee. And lots of time to think and plot. Can't wait for tomorrow. These tips are soooo helpful. Thank you Holly and Jolie-

  2. It's me-Shelley S.

  3. I love the journal idea! I just put a little notebook in my purse so no matter where I am when a thought about my revision comes to me, I can jot it down.

    Also, I wanted to share this trick. I've only used it for writing the first draft, but I'm thinking it could work during revision too, if you have something specific you want to accomplish like a new scene to write.

  4. I have a playlist for every story too!

    Thanks for the great tips! I'm going to be trying some of 'em out for sure.

  5. Ah...Stacey is a kindred writing spirit. Her process is much like mine, BUT she gave me a new idea...post-it notes for each chapter. I've always struggled with how to manage this very thing. But I'm going to try the chapt. synopses on post-its--on display! Thanks, Stacey!

  6. Must have essentials--my special coffee mug, my research binder with photos, and Scrivener.

    Thanks for sharing your writing process, Stacey. Best of luck!

  7. stacy's post it notes reflect my process too, except i use index cards to write down each scene.

    i pin each card on a bulletin board. when i'm ready to type my ms, i take them all down, using each card to guide me in my writing.

    must haves? two chihuahuas in a dog bed on my desk, a pot of tea & courage. thanks for the post, stacy!

  8. after reading the title of your book i have Morissey stuck in my head..

  9. I use index cards too! and highlighter pens. Loved your trick, Kelly, thanks for sharing. Here's one of my own for when, as inevitably happens, you get stuck - http://www.dirtywhitecandy.com/?page_id=80

  10. Everyone is getting so excited about Stacey's tips - excellent! i have a somewhat similar process, though I do all of my analysis in Excel. Thanks again, Stacey, for giving us some smackdown spotlight inspiration.

  11. Nathan Branford has a helpful revision checklist on his blog today--
    shelley s.

  12. I liked Stray and look forward to Girl to the Core.

  13. Wow, Holly! Thanks so much for the highlights. I love seeing how our processes overlap. Thanks for featuring my longwindedness. :)

    See you at check-in in a few days!

    Happy revision-ing!

  14. Good stuff. You just gave away most of my "secrets" of ambiance. Now how am I gonna be unique?

    Stray sounds like just my kind of book too. Have to give that one a read.

    "Typically, my first draft allows me to find my who, my 'what' my who who wants, my where, my why."

    Well said and good stuff. I've been trying to force it all up front and it hasn't exactly been working. Thank you and thanks for the spotlight Holly.

  15. who who wants. drop one of those who's and that's what i meant.

    Though who who's sounds like a word for private parts or something. We don't talk about who-who's Benjamin, it isn't polite.