2017 Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award Winners and Finalists - Approach to Writing
We asked each of our winners and finalists how they approached writing and their answers both surprised and excited us! We will be sharing their thoughts throughout the week of the Award Dinner.
Kekla Magoon - National Author Winner: My approach to writing involves a mix of self-expression and engagement with the world around me. I draw inspiration from my own experiences and observations, and I also use writing and storytelling to explore broader questions about the world and how I fit into it. Young people discovering social justice, identity, and community are frequent themes of my books, and I enjoy capturing untold stories and unusual perspectives. Through fiction, I strive to challenge my readers to examine the narratives we construct about the real world, what our history is, and who can make a difference in the world.
Lori Rader-Day - Regional Author Winner: My approach to getting the writing done is, I'm afraid, a little undisciplined. But my approach to the kind of stories I tell is very focused: I want to tell the stories of (primarily) women in the Midwest as they grapple with the broader social issues that we all face, or don't, at our peril. As such, my books have so far focused on lives affected by campus violence and social inequity, by sexual abuse, and by domestic violence; a book in the works features a widow of a military casualty. My books get called thrillers, but they are small stories, personal stories, in the hopes that they will find readers who need them and whose worldview can be broadened by them. Of course, my stories aren't meant to be manifestos; they are meant to entertain, and that's my first goal.
John David Anderson - Genre Excellence Winner for Middle Grade Fiction: It usually starts with a question—a what if or a why not or a how come—and then the voices start, clamoring for attention, begging me to tell their side of the story. And me, the conduit, the translator, in a mad rush to get it down, to see where it goes, as surprised by the serpentine path it takes as any first reader, learning to love (and hate) my characters even as I plot their misfortunes. Then the hard work begins, the craftsmanship that only occurs after the bones are wired together, teasing out the themes and raising the stakes, adding nuance to character and filling a hundred holes. This is followed by months of tinkering, making every word deliberate, debating the merit of a metaphor, making sure I laugh out loud, combating self-doubt with draft after draft after draft until it’s done—never perfect, only finished and (hopefully) ready to share.
Bryan Furuness - Emerging Author Finalist: Rules and Reminders: 1. Get comfortable with not knowing. 2. Don’t predetermine. Don’t try to get it right the first time. 3. Work at the intersection of joy and urgency. 4. Most distractions come from inside yourself. Don’t distract yourself. 5. Remember that you’re allowed to enjoy this. 6. You have only two enemies – pushing and quitting. 7. No goals other than making something. There is nothing you are trying to attain. 8. The formula is creativity and patience. 9. Resilience and resourcefulness is better than talent. 10. Be kind to yourself.
Angela Palm - Emerging Author Finalist: My writing is driven by my belief that there are endless ways to tell stories and that telling stories is a crucial aspect of the human experience. We all own language, and as a writer I am compelled to present thought through an artful arrangement of our language such that the reader’s heart and mind are engaged or moved to a new feeling or way of seeing the world. My writing focus is on the complexity of living, its joys, its challenges, its nuances, and I’m particularly interested in uncovering untold narratives through a thorough examination of the places we live. In Riverine, place has qualitative density with dimensions of time, geographic location, history, and characters, and I tell the story of my Indiana people filtered through the complex lens of place and it is my hope that it changes hearts and minds. Or at least opens them a fraction. That is what good writing can do.
Francesca Zappia - Emerging Author Finalist: I used to write solely for myself, without thinking far past what I liked and what I wanted to see. I still write for myself to a degree, but now I also write for my fans and for the teenagers who might find my books. I spend much more of my writing time analyzing my own words, both to ensure I represent what I am trying to portray accurately and to make sure I’m not furthering harmful stereotypes. My process is slower and stronger now, and I hope it results in a book that many people can find themselves in and enjoy.