In Sharon Creech’s Own Words
by Alexie Basil
Share this special interview with your students to learn how Sharon Creech, award-winning author of Love That Dog and other classics, comes up with her fantastic books. What better way to kick off a mellifluous National Poetry Month!
Did you know that Sharon Creech is just as surprised by her books’ endings as you are?
In this insightful and fun interview, Sharon Creech walks readers through the unique writing and ideation process behind each of her books. Read it with your students to get a behind-the-scenes look into how the award-winning author of Love That Dog, this week’s Dollar Deal, finds her inspiration.
Q: How did you become a writer? What inspired you?
A: I think that what inspired me is a love of good stories—wanting to read led naturally (it seemed) to wanting to write. I studied writing in college and in graduate school, but I also learned a lot about writing from teaching both literature and writing, when I had a chance to examine closely what makes a good story.
Q: Where do you get your ideas?
A: This is a hard question to answer because a book contains not one, but hundreds, maybe thousands, of little ideas. Often it seems as if the main character and the place just arrive in my head one day, but later I can see that perhaps they arrived there because I’d been thinking about my family or someone I’d seen at a bus stop….
Many ideas come during the revision process, after the first draft is written, when I begin tinkering with a scene. I’ll think, “What else is this character thinking or feeling?” and that will lead to a whole new scene, and that, in turn, will lead to other new scenes.
Q: Do you know the whole story before you begin writing? Do you outline?
A: I know hardly anything about the story when I begin, and I definitely do not outline. Some writers are greatly helped by outlines, but I am not one of them. Usually I begin with just the image of a person and a place, and then I write to discover what the story is. To me, that’s so exciting: rushing to find out what the story is and what will happen and who I’ll meet along the way.
This is a condensed sampling of the Q&A. Read the full interview here.
Sharon Creech has written 21 books for young people and is published in over 20 languages. Her books have received awards in both the US and abroad, including the Newbery Medal for Walk Two Moons, the Newbery Honor for The Wanderer, and Great Britain’s Carnegie Medal for Ruby Holler. Her other works include Saving Winslow, Moo, The Boy on the Porch, The Great Unexpected, The Unfinished Angel, Hate That Cat, The Castle Corona, Replay, Heartbeat, Granny Torrelli Makes Soup, Love that Dog, Bloomability, Absolutely Normal Chaos, Chasing Redbird, and Pleasing the Ghost, as well as three picture books, A Fine, Fine School, Fishing in the Air, and Who’s That Baby? Before beginning her writing career, Sharon Creech taught English for 15 years in England and Switzerland. She and her husband now live in Maine. You can visit her online at: sharoncreech.com
Photo credit: Lyle Rigg
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