Friday, July 15, 2016

Challenges of the Writing Journey with C. Lee Mckenzie

 The Adventure's Here Now

I can't believe Sign of the Green Dragon is really going to be published. I started this book years ago, set it aside, worked on it a little, then set it aside again. My critique group read at least three versions. I had at least three titles. I just could not pull this little story together, then it happened.

One night I pulled up the file, deleted almost half of the book and wrote until I saw the story come to life.

Why is it that some stories fall into place right away and others, like Sign of the Green Dragon, don't? It's not as if this were a complex literary work. No. It's a book designed to entertain young readers.

Ahhh! Of course, there's the answer. Writing for young readers may seem like a walk in the park, but that is not the case. I knew that, but knowing it and understanding what was blocking my progress are two different matters. I just needed to wait until I'd mastered a little more in the writing craft department.



Looking back at this book from start to finish, I can see where I made the wrong turns.
  • I didn't start the book where it should have started. I did the classical bad newbie thing and had my young MC arriving at his new home. 
  • I set up a ton of backstory. Guess where? Yep. In chapter one! 
  • I didn't move the story forward quickly enough from the first dragon encounter. Instead, I took the reader (who was now snoring) on another long trip to the next destination. 
  • I didn't have any surprises to keep the middle from sagging. Talk about deadly dull.
  • I didn't wrap up the ending so that it was satisfying and still left some questions about what might happen next.
I learned a lot from starting this book to wrapping it up, and I learned it by writing and reading more. Have you ever had a book that just would not come down to the page the way you wanted it to, and then viola! There it was. You'd finally discovered how to write it.


What's this story about?


Three plucky sleuths. A crumbling skeleton. A buried treasure.

After six months in a new school, Sam’s finally fitting in. He’s the one kid with enough talent to hit the winning home run and bring the baseball trophy back to Haggarty Elementary. But Sam’s guardian is shipping him off to boarding school before that can happen.

When his teammates, Joey and Roger, hear his bad news, they plot to hide him until the big game. Their secret cave is a perfect place until an earthquake shatters a wall and reveals a wooden chest with a red-eyed dragon carved into its top. And the chest isn’t empty. Inside, a crumbling skeleton clutches a map with a cryptic note, promising treasure if the finder reveals the truth about an old murder and returns the remains of the victim to China.

Is the note a hoax? Maybe. But what does Sam have to lose? He doesn’t have a real home anymore, and his uncle already treats him like a nuisance. With Joey and Roger, he sets off to track down the clues and hopefully discover treasure. When finally some puzzle pieces make sense, they become lost in a labyrinth of underground tunnels, trapped by dangerous thieves and sealed inside an airless tomb. 

Sign of the Green Dragon is a middle grade tale with fantasy elements of Chinese mythology. If you like intrepid would-be knights on impossible and dangerous quests, you’ll love this story. As one reader says, this book, “has more twists than a dragon’s tail.”




Buy now and jump into the adventure.


Connect with C. Lee at her Website

This is C. Lee McKenzie’s third middle grade novel. Her first was Alligators Overhead, her second The Great Time Lock Disaster, Sequel to Alligators Overhead. She also writes contemporary-realistic young adult and has four published. She offers gifts to her website visitors. Visit today and see what she has for you.


17 comments:

  1. A ton of backstory in the first chapter is never good. I think we all start writing like that though. Way to persevere and get it done, Lee!

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    1. Thanks, Alex. Learn by doing is my motto. It just is such a long trek! Appreciate your stopping by today.

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  2. Hi Angela. Thanks so much for hosting me today. You're the best.

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  3. Hi, Angela and Lee! Congratulations on finally pulling this story together. I have a couple stories like that. They are close to my heart, but so far, I haven't managed to get them right ...

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  4. I'm sure you'll get them under control. I took a while because I needed to know more about writing for young readers.

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  5. I know exactly what you're talking about, Lee. My current book (the one to be soon released) has taken years to write. It's been sliced, diced, and chopped. The POV and tense were changed several times. But then, finally it fell into place. Joy!

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    1. Love it when that happens. Congratulations, Bish.

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  6. I love Lee's work - the book looks great! :)

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    1. Thanks, Marc! Great to be connected.

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  7. Lovely to see Lee here. Thanks for hosting her, Angela!

    Damyanti

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    1. I Damyanti! Thanks for the lovely comment.

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  8. Oh man! I totally hear Lee! Some books make you work for them. My recently finished one had me gutting it and rewriting it twice--entirely. Now that's painful. But hey, the end product is what matters, eh?

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    1. I just chalk it up to learning the hard way. :-)

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