Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Writing Process: How we work...

Well, here is a fun thing.
Author/Illustrator tag!
Thank you Richard Jesse Watson for picking me to join this blog tour.

Fun facts about Richard Jesse Watson:
Besides being an award-winning children's book illustrator,
Richard roasts his own coffee.
He once dismantled a hotel window so he could
roast coffee for an illustrator pal without setting off the fire alarm.

Here's a stunning painting Richard created to go with one of my manuscripts.
Snow Queen
artwork (c) Richard Jesse Watson
Richard is also a folk dancer.
He loves  books, handball, anchovies, and waffles.
He can make or fix just about anything with epoxy. 
He has taught me much of what I know about art.
And he's my dad.
I'm inspired by him as an artist and a person.
Find him online at

Now, to the Q & A:

What am I currently working on?

Last week I shared with you the  driftwood of my life work.
Today I'll tell you about my other work - writing and art.
Lately I'm playing with picture book,
chapter book, and middle grade manuscripts,
as well as trying to work in some of that gorgeous momentum
I gathered from my UCSD "Illustrating Picture Books" course with Joy Chu.

I'm also working on creative discipline - how I manage my time.
Time is my huge thing. 
How to squeeze any more drops from days plumb full?

I drew a pie chart to see where all my spare time flows out
and to hunt for extra gaps I can curb into a writing / art habit.
I think it's helping. 

Why do I write what I write?

I write
to remember
the striking thing
about a day,
a shadow,
a loss.
to turn knobby memories
into strength and courage.
to spread adventure and creativity
like seeds
that will spark and sprout
in readers
and in me.

That's my why: remembrance. beauty. courage. hope. thanks.

 How does my writing / illustrating process work?

First, inspiration:

I keep notebooks, sketchbooks,
camera, pencils, pen
in car, in purse, in library bag,
in every place story lightning might strike.

Books!  I read like a sieve.
Not really sure how a sieve reads,
but I do
a lot. lot. lot.
(c) 2014 Faith Pray

Next, drafting.
I type manuscripts into a writing program called Scrivener,
and then write and rewrite until the manuscript feels just so.

I scribble sketches and move them around.
Sticky notes are brilliant for this.

Taping together mini books helps me feel how each story breathes.

And then I play with finishes.
Splashy ink and pen. Velvety oil pencils. Pooly paints.
I'm always playing.

When a story feels just so, I send it to my agent.
If he likes it, we work on changes,
and then he sends it out to publishers "on submission."

That's my writing process.
Next in this blog tour, my friend Carrie O'Neill
gets to tell you about how she works.
art (c) Carrie O'Neill

Carrie and I were friends in high school.
What a delight to discover her now at the SCBWI conference in Seattle!
Carrie is just as witty, talented and lovely as ever, and her art is vibrant and engaging.
I am excited to see what Carrie creates next, and I can't wait for you to meet her.

You can find Carrie at
She'll be playing tag on her blog soon!



MollyMom103 said...

Love the process. Hugs, Faith.

Amy Stewart said...

Very fun and enlightening to get to hear about your process! I wish writer's had to introduce themselves that way ("Hi, my name's Jane Doe and I get up at 4 a.m. and write until 6. I use only fine-tipped pens, and...").

Faith Pray said...

Molly, thanks for the hug! I can't wait to read Plumb Crazy!

Faith Pray said...

Amy, I love it! Maybe someday, I'll be one of those 4 a.m. writers... You?

Dawn Simon said...

Faith, I LOVE how you described why you write. Perfect, perfect. Fun to read about your dad and your friend from high school! How very special!

Jan Morrison said...

Hi Faith! This is so lovely...
I've been not blogging for the past month and a bit while we fix ip our house for renting before heading back to Labrador next week. Then I'll settle in for writing, quilting, dog walking, photography and a lot of solitude. So...I'll be back! Found the lovely mavp hearts you sent me and packed them up for Labrador.

Flying Selki said...

I love this! I'm so glad that I got to see how you work!

Half-heard in the Stillness said...

Hello Faith, I reached here via your Dad's blog, been following his for a good while. I loved seeing how you work, especially seeing your notebook. It's funny artists and writers notebooks really inspire me for some reason. I always think 'Why don't I do that?' Anyway... nice to be here I'm adding you to my blog lists hope you don't mind?



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