After hearing Ellen Hopkins talk at the SCBWI NSW conference in 2008 I decided I wanted to write a verse novel. And not too many months later, Street Racer arrived in my head. I won’t go into detail but it’s about a guy who is street racing for the first time and one split second mistake changes his life forever.
It’s a fast paced story with lots of internal reflection by the main characters as they deal with the consequences of the accident.
It was one of those books that just flowed right from the start. I knew who my characters were and I knew their story.
After a number of drafts I submitted it to my publisher who decided not to publish it for a number of reasons – one being that it was a verse novel.
I love the story so much that I decided to try and rewrite it in prose. Five drafts and a number of years later and it still didn’t seem right.
When I attended the SCBWI LA conference recently I decided to attend Ellen Hopkins‘ intensive workshop on Writing Novels in Verse (which by the way was fantastic). Apart from loving her books, I was drawn to the fact that the intensive was designed to “ help you decide if your novel should be written in verse, and how best to rise to that challenge.”
It seemed as if this intensive was designed just for me – and I think it was:)
I have come back from LA totally inspired. In fact every spare moment has been spent reworking my novel.
Thanks to Ellen’s encouragement and support and my own soul searching, I have come to the conclusion that I just have to follow my heart and if the character came to me telling his story in verse then I have to be guided by that.
I have to tell this story in my own way, from my heart, in verse – whether it’s a format that publishers find appealing or not.
I’d love to hear your stories about writing the story that’s true to you.
P.S. If you want to know more about Street Racer, the lovely and creative Svetlana from Moondog Design has made me an amazing book trailer featuring music by my talented friend, Michael Langley . I’d love to know what you think so feel free to leave your comments here or on Youtube.