While going through an old folder of (awful sixth grade) drawings, I came across one of my very first book ideas. The idea was drawn out on the front and back of a piece of paper:
Upon finding the paper, my ideas flooded back to me. I was originally inspired by myself (bear with me here), and my younger brothers. When we were little we would ‘sneak’ candy. In order to not be caught, we would stuff the candy wrappers underneath the rugs in our room. Later, when our rooms were being cleaned, our parents would find the wrappers, and then we’d get in trouble.
As you can (probably) make out, in the second picture something (a ‘monster’) is reaching out from underneath a dresser and taking one of the candy wrappers. Originally the story was going to be about monsters stealing candy wrappers. That’s about as far as I got before my sixth grade mind tucked the newly drawn picture into a folder, and forgot about it for years.
A couple days after I rediscovered Candy Wrappers, I started my planning. I called up my older brother and we talked about it for hours. I decided that the story would be about a girl from New York whose parents had just been murdered. She goes to her summer home in Maine (where, surprise, I lived in sixth grade) to pack up her parent’s things and say her final goodbyes.
While she is there, she finds candy wrappers under the rugs and furniture in the house. Before long, stranger things begin happening; furniture moves itself, voices can be heard inside the walls, and the old man at the book store (where the girl gets a summer job) won’t stop talking about demons. This leads the protagonist down a dark road, where she finds out the true reason behind her parent’s murder.
Unlike the way I usually write, I decided to try to plan out the events in Candy Wrappers. I have a clear idea of where it starts and where it ends, and many of the scenes in the middle. Planning has always been a challenge for me. I usually go for the ‘pantsing’ style of writing; where I have an idea and let the words flow, the story taking whatever shape it wants.
For the past few months I have been working on planning. I designated a notebook to the planning, and wrote all of my ideas for the book inside. Then, I made a rough outline of the events I want to happen in the first few chapters. Then I started writing.
By planning out only the first few chapters, it leaves the plot flexible (much to the relief of my pantsing mind). At the moment I am half way through my second chapter, and the writing is going well. I have found that planning the outline of each chapter helps the story moving. I know what needs to be accomplished in each scene to bring it to the next.
I am very excited to write Candy Wrappers, and I am overwhelmed (in a good way) by the support I have received so far. I want to say thank you to Tony for giving me the opportunity to write this post!
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About the Author
Em Lehrer is an avid reader, blogger, and writer. She is currently living in Dominica, a small island in the Lower Antilles, on an 18th century coffee and cocoa estate. Between tour guiding, studies, and exploring the islands, Em blogs about authors and books on Keystroke Blog and has recently started a podcast titled Book Talk, which you can listen to on iTunes, Stitcher, or Soundcloud. She enjoys meeting new people and connecting with other book enthusiasts and authors. You can find Em on her Facebook page and on twitter @keystroke_blog.