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May 16, 2007



Huh. I've never really thought of it that way, but I can completely see where you're coming from. Robin McKinley's (love that woman) point about gumption is stellar. I sometimes wonder if I have that gumption, since I really have to work myself up to be able to start anything, let alone finish. So I'll keep working on it and maybe someday there will be a finished product.

PS: So excited for Forest Born!


If seems like the season for describing the writing process. Sarah Dessen wrote a great summation on the subject. I found the link on Meg Cabot's May 2, 2007 blog entry. I know that is a round about way to get to it, but the piece is worth it... Check it out

The Husband

Yeah...I've been meaning to talk to you about that gumption. It's getting all over the carpet, and I'LL be the one buying the special solvent at Home Depot to get it out.

Seriously, though, don't go down into the cellar.
Really. Just leave it alone.


Shannon, I really appreciate this entry. I think I need to gain some gumption at the moment, as all of my "books" are always fun little projects. Thanks for the entry- it really helped me realize that I need to work harder!


Your 'horror stories' are transformed into works of art. Thanks for this posting.
I don't find my characters. They find me and demand that I tell their story,...and don't release me from their grip until I pour the words onto the page.


That's really insightful. I want to be a writer, too, so it's pretty cool to hear the little details. Dean, that's hilarious. You two totally made my day. Thank you! And the cellar isn't THAT bad.

P.S.-Gumption is a fun word. I love words too. I like the words carnivorous and ink. And I could go on forever, but I'll spare you. Really you don't want to know.


I love it when authors describe the writing process. Every author seems to have a different one. I mostly only write poetry though.
Just to tell you some good news, my English teacher loves Shannon's style of writing and when she was giving us a writing lesson she read a passage from the Goose Girl as an example of good creative writing.


I know that feeling! Yet, I have not finished a story in a long time. I have about 6 unfinished stories, and I just started a new one. Every time I tell myself "This is a good plot. I have good characters. THIS time, I'll finish it!"

Even if I don't finish something, I love the writing. I love the voice in my head that tells me what to write. I love buying new journals. I love talking with my best friend about my characters as if they were mutual acquaintances--which they are! We have quite the imaginary circle of friends. :)


That's funny about the page having an unforgiving eye! Whenever I write a story I think about it for about a year and basically think of the whole story thought out before I actually write it down.
Then there are the authors who always have an idea in their head and it takes them only two weeks to write the first draft to a 300 page novel. That seems IMPOSSIBLE!

Enna Isilee

Dean. Oh Dean.

Anyway that's how I feel. When you look at the whole picture and see yourself writing a book it's a nightmare. But if you tell yourself "I'm just writing words" then it's ok. And sooner or later you'll get swept up into the story and when you're done you'll be sad. Just like when you finish reading a good book but then you're sad that it ended. Also like children: They may drive you crazy but once they're grown you'll miss that.


Beautifully worded, Shannon. (But, then, who writes more lovely than you?)




"Yeah...I've been meaning to talk to you about that gumption. It's getting all over the carpet, and I'LL be the one buying the special solvent at Home Depot to get it out.

Seriously, though, don't go down into the cellar.
Really. Just leave it alone."

:D :D :D


I was writing a novel just for fun, just to enjoy myself, (didn't even prewrite very much) and I found myself completely dedicated to the character. Everything I wrote was something he would have written.

I totally understand you.


Spoken like a true writer!


Let the characters guide you through their decisions according to their psyches. Characters and their minds are the core of every story. Rin will be adorable no matter what happens. Besides, we'll gush about every word that comes forth of your pen. Except Anon, I suppose, but they just thought more objectively than the rest of us.


You can do it Shannon!

Little Willow

Thank you. I hope you realize how much your blogs encourage and inspire readers and writers to create their stories.


Keep going! I want to read the book! I know you will find the perfect way to tell the story (you always have before, after all)!


How CAN it be so scary? It's just a blank page, for goodness sake. (Or even better, a blank computer screen.) And yet it is. Pure terror. Good to know I'm not the only one... though unfortunate to know that just because you've finished and published one (or two, or three, or ...), it doesn't make the new one much less scary. Ah well. :)


You can do it Shannon! We all believe in you & know how capable you are, so don't feel down about you're writing not being as good as you would like it to be. I know the feeling - even though I'm not an author. I admire your strength & organistion to even be able to make the time to write! When you're writing just think: "I'm doing this for myself not for anyone else" & then hopefully you won't feel like going down into the cellar!
And besides, Author's are such clever people. I swear they posess mystical powers which help them to write...


I can totally and absolutely relate to what you said about the blank page with the unforgiving eye.

I always feel that way.


True words spoken by a true author... :o)

beauty is a thought;not a state

If you can start writing drafts with a baby to take care of and a little boy as well, I absolutely can write drafts for my own storis as well. Minus any children of my own. My stories are for my own pleasure and usually no one reads them but me but I still dream sometimes of becoming an author like you. I'm very exited about "forest born" as well as all your other new books. I've yet to read "Austenland" but I promise I will sometime soon.

Maggie sounds like a dream. I only wish that when I have children I fall in love with them as much as you with your own, Shannon.


I've been wondering when you would get around to writing a horror novel, Shannon. Can't wait to read it!


^ I'd like to see *that.*

You'll get it, Shannon. Just take it one sentence at a time.


thanks for writing this, shannon. maybe i will get some gumption, though i already have to clean up after a dog.


I love stories. I love words. When you put them together, you definitely get magic.


I would be happy to help. You can start with how cute Rin is. Maybe she can have cute freckles. I love freckles. Sorry that's it for me. I'm out of ideas.

Haley B.

Wow. It's hard to believe that someone who's such a brilliant author like you would find it intimidating to write books. But don't worry, I'm sure you'll work it all out. Remember, you can write anything!

I keep thinking it's funny, the relation of our names. My first name is Haley, and my middle name is Shannon. Like Shannon Hale flipped around and with a y plopped on!

Enna Isilee

"The blank page is what keeps us sane, because we know we can still fill it." ~Y.M.

I think that is so true because once the page is filled and you send it in is when you go insane because then you have to edit and finally it gets published and then there's nothing you can do. That's when you go crazy wondering "should I have fixed that? Will people like it?" AH!


I was amazed to see how many people want to be writers on here. I am also guilty of that desire. (hee hee) But I don't find the writing intimidating once it's started. The starting is awful for me. It's like once you start you can NEVER go back. It's terrifying, in my world.


I was cleaning my room and suddenly remembered my fast approaching trip to Utah. I thought, "I'm going down to Utah. Maybe I can see Shannon!!" Then I checked the events page and, sadly, there were none for those days.

*sniff* I'll get over it, don't worry. I'm going to go into a fit of disappointed convulsions first, but I will get over it.

Maybe, if I'm unbelievably lucky, I'll be able to convince my mom to let me stay an extra week for the Austenland Release Party.


A lot of people to want to be writers. I don't though. I am a total science geek and I want to be a biologist.


That sounds so wonderful! I know it scary, but isn't it a nice feeling, too?
Is this story going to be about the trees? Just yesterday, after reading The Goose Girl, I was wishing the wind was talking to me :)) But really a tree-speaking would be cool too!


"And I want to find a scene that will take my breath away. Words. Characters. Scenes. I look at the book in these small, accessible parts. No one can write a book. It's too long and complicated. But I can make some sentences. I can find some characters. I can put them into scenes. And slowly, slowly, the book will come."

Thank you for writing that. I know in my head that I need to take stories, as anything else, step by step; that was a beautiful way of putting it though! I don't work on my writing nearly often enough, but if I can just keep finding time to add a scene here and there, like the one I wrote down a couple nights ago, it will be okay! I don't have to think of it just as a big huge project all the time! Thank you for helping that to click.


So I just finished tie-dying some T-shirts for girls’ camp at 1:00 a.m., and thought, “Maybe I’ll just check out squeetus.com while I eat my bowl of midnight Wheat Chex to see if Shannon has recently blogged anything new. Since I'm already up late, anyway, eh."

The King's English party looked swell, alas with three toddlers, it did not happen for me. Maybe sometime in the next year, I'll swap babysitting with a friend and find my way to one of your local signings.

I was perusing through your site tonight, rather this morning, and I had a good chuckle when I read in the Mincemeat section about your candor regarding all of us wannabe authors mooching string-pullling from real authors. You hit the nail on the head, girl.

I had to chuckle as I had flash backs of my own squelched experiences with trying to ride the coat tails of MY heroic giants in the illustration field.

Several years ago I thought I could get the old artistic foot in the door of the "illustration" publishing world if I only interned with Leo and Diane Dillon in Brooklyn, New York.

Fresh out of school, I wrote the Dillons a very polite letter drenched in Mrs. Butterworth, and basically made promises of taking out the trash and brushing the studio dog's teeth if I could but be in the same room with them while they received their artistic epiphanies.

Then maybe at the end of my internship with the Dillons, (I so cleverly schemed) I would nonchalantly pull out my own artwork, and they would stand awestruck and positively adamant to show my portfolio to their art director at Harper Collins.

The Dillons wrote back and were very nice, and actually DID let me visit their studio, but only for one afternoon. Shortly after that I finally broke down and bought a copy of the "Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market Guide" and realized my oozing, stinging faux pas.

I suppose I'm babbling on about all of this because misery certainly always does love congenial commiseration, and when I read about your experience of hoping Robin Mckinley would pull you into the writing field, I just enjoyed knowing that you had to start mixing your literary brownines from scratch too.

Not that you would ever let this information leak out--being in the limelight, why would you want to, eh? But at our 4th of July picnic, my sister and I were trying to guess in which part of the valley you live. She voted Millcreek, if I recollect correctly, and I voted Sugarhouse.

Mark and Caralyn Buehner (You know: Maxi the Taxi Dog, Fannie's Dream, Balloon Farm, It's a Spoon Not a Shovel, Snowmen at Night, etc.--does Max enjoy any of these?) live in Sugarhouse in a darling little bungalow, and I can just imagine a burgeoning colony of artists and writers springing up in their midst.

Years ago, one of my favorite professors in my illustration program took my Business of Illustration class to the Buehner's, to crowd into Mark's charming studio--a tiny upstairs bedroom of the Buehner's home). Mark explained that when he wants Cara to write a new manuscript for him to illustrate into a picture book, he pledges to watch the kids for several days, so that Cara can lock herself away in the studio upstairs while cranking out a classic.

So, I'm still wondering everyday (as I scrape encrusted Mighty Bites and teething-sized chunks of Tillamook cheese off the high chair tray) how in the world you make time to write each day now that you're the mother of two kiddos. However you're doing it, please keep doing it, as listening to your tales on tape sure makes my dishwashing and meal prep enjoyable, if not blissful at times.

You must write while nursing. I've tried to write with a babe on the Boppy, but reading seems to win over, as it's a little less awkward than holding a pen in the arm that supports a dozing head.

One last rumination before I quit mortifying you with my bottomless shaft of rambling. Despite you being an accomplished writer and all, I AM curious as to whether or not you're excited about Hermione's next appearance on 7/21/07, or are you beyond being one of the giddy masses?

These are my thoughts while trying to potty train and change Huggies, sizes five and three.

NerdyEm of Historic Sandy

P.S. I've moved up on SLCLS's "patron waiting list," in line for Austenland. I'm now something like number 67. Good news though, The Janeites are whipping through AL like wildfire; I was number 167 in line two weeks ago. In another few days it will be time to put fresh batteries in the flashlight.


So, eight hours later (after posting the previous entry) I have to say one thing. That was STUUUUPID to stay up so late-- typing away as if not a mouth in the world depended on my feeding it at 7:00 a.m. My mind is moving five paces behind my body, and my body isn't moving that fast.

With a husnand at early morning meetings and a long day ahead of attempting to hold an 11 month-old in my lap during church, I'll suffice to say that there's a lot to be said for "Early to bed, early to rise...makes a woman healthy, and wealthy(?) and able to correct form grammatically sentences.

I hope you were wiser than I was and went to bed at 8pm last night.


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