Most of the time, I do months of research before even starting to write a book. I explore settings, historical characters, and historical events taking place not only where my story takes place but in the rest of the world at the time. I like to feel comfortable with my stage before my characters even begin rehearsal.
UNGLUED, my new chapter book coming from Caramel Tree Publishing, is an exception. This was a pure ‘What if’ story. These are stories that begin with a simple scenario. What if you found a skunk in your garage? What if you borrowed your best friend’s good luck charm and found out it works? What if you accidentally glued your teacher’s new book to your desk? Yes. This is how UNGLUED began.
Gluing a book to a desk — who would do such a thing? I decided I needed someone who was terminally messy, unkempt, had the best of intentions but succumbed to disorganization. My main character needed friends; one pulling toward the good side of his personality and the other always taking the easy way out. And, of course, he needed a nemesis; in this case a sort of innocent dork with annoying qualities.
Now came the fun part. Knowing the teacher would be furious for ruining her book, how do the friends go about removing the book from the desk? Since it was a short book, I had to settle for a couple of ungluing attempts. I needed humor, believable consequences, and wacky ideas. I needed a rising arc — how does it get worse?
Finally, do they succeed? What are the consequences? How do the characters grow?
I didn’t outline, or even plan, as I wrote this book. It was pure fun and surprise. My characters grew. My story grew (and had to be seriously cut). The whole project was fun, surprising, and turned out …
Well, you’ll just have to wait for that!