Almost exactly a year ago, after finishing four books I’d sold on proposal, I decided I needed to go back to writing alone. I needed to work at my own pace, however slow that was. I needed to write weird, if that was what came. I needed to get back to feeling like I felt as a kid, and a poet– just a girl playing with words. Flying blind.

I promised myself I wouldn’t even show my agent.

And then I spent 6 months outlining, and staring at the ceiling. I watercolored characters and setting. I wrote the first few chapters with a mechanical pencil, on a yellow legal pad. I played. And eventually, I hit my stride.

Well… last week I typed the words THE END, and took a week away. Then, today I read my rough draft of The Orphan Island, and I LIKE IT. A LOT!

Weird it is!   It’s too short, and it straddles the MG/YA line in a funny way. It’s got a kind of slight magic that people may be bored by. It’s full of fish guts and fig-drying and bee hives and sand. It ends with a kind of cliffhanger, to an equally weird sequel, a book that may or may not be called The Wordless World.

But I’m proud of the work I’ve done. And I’m proud that I did it without a net. It’s good to know I can still write just for me, alone.

So there’s that.


PS: I feel the need to add that I’ve loved every bit of the collaborative experiences I’ve had with my last books, and wouldn’t change a thing! I just… needed to work all by myself for a little while. Figure out what I’d write if I were alone on a (figurative) desert island.

The punchline? I wrote about a desert island.

2 Responses to “THE ORPHAN ISLAND…”

  1. Dawn Kepler Says:

    Good for you, Laurel! Just fyi, I’ll read it because you already have me curious.

  2. Evelyn Krieger Says:

    Goes along with your message to kids about time for boredom, although your island story sounds anything but boring.

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