When I first read the picture book Lost and Found by Marsha Diane Arnold, I fell in love. With so few words a beautiful story is crafted. My fifth graders loved seeing what came next as we moved through the story together. I'm delighted to welcome Marsha to my blog today to tell you a bit more about this story and what she is working on next.
I love Lost and Found because the story is not only in the text, but in the illustrations. How did you and Matthew work together to tell this story?
I wrote the Lost. Found. manuscript, which consisted of just two words repeated over and over, along with art notes. The art notes for Lost. Found. were a bit like directions in a script. Matthew took my art notes and, through brilliance and imagination, brought my characters to life. We really didn’t talk about the book while he was working on the illustrations.
I’m so impressed with how Matthew kept my story intact, but added things that heightened the meaning and the fun. He added onomatopoeia to highlight the animals’ actions. For example, “Zoing, toing, doing” is the sound made when the mice use the scarf as a trampoline. He also made some of the animals more mischievous in his illustrations than I had them in my notes. In my original art note I wrote, “Raccoons begin playful snowball fight.” Matthew escalated that play, making the raccoons more rascally than I’d imagined them. This heightens the fun and increases the tension. Thank you, Matthew!
What does your writing life look like?
My writing life has been quite messy this past year as my husband and I moved from California to Florida. We actually changed living places eight times over the year as we waited for our new home to be completed!
My Florida writing room is currently filled with boxes from our recent move, but once all the books and notebooks are put away, I’ll enjoy writing in a wonderful space. My books in California were spread throughout two rooms and a hallway. Here in Florida, I have shelves along one entire wall, so all my books will be with me in my writing room. I love being surrounded by books when I write.
Although I think it’s an excellent practice, I don’t usually work on my stories every day. But when I’m excited about a story, I’ll write several hours each day because I’m so happy to be with my characters. The more we write, the more we learn about writing. Even 10 minutes a day will keep us on track with our writing projects.
Do you get ideas from every day life? How do you capture them?
Absolutely, I get ideas from every day life! Ideas are all around us. But capturing them to weave into stories is always a challenge. I might see or hear something, then scribble a few words in my notebook. I might carry that idea in my head for days or months until another thought comes to me and another. Eventually, all the ideas tell me to sit down and start writing. So I do!
Writing books requires lots of research, even if it’s a short picture book or board book. Research is one way to help “capture” our ideas and it’s part of the fun. We get to learn so much! I have two board books coming out in 2017, one about napping animals and one about bathing animals. I probably did over 100 hours of research to verify the napping and bathing habits of baby animals, but what I learned was fascinating.
The hardest part about writing for me is to believe in myself. I often stop writing because I have doubts about my being able to write the story the way I want it to be. If any writer has similar doubts, I say, “Don’t listen to your doubts!” We just need to take our ideas and enjoy the process of writing our story.
What are you working on next?
I have four more books coming out between now and 2017. Very exciting! These require attention along with my writing of new stories.
For my new stories, these characters are wandering around in my mind: a wombat who loves words, an out-of-control letter Z, and a firefly who can’t find the dark. After I finish unpacking boxes, I look forward to getting back in touch with these characters and learning more about them.
Thank you so much for inviting me to be part of READ. WRITE. REFLECT. It’s been a delight.
Thank you, Marsha! It was great getting to know more about you.
If you would like to learn more about Marsha and Lost and Found, please check out the other stops on the Blog Tour.
Blog Tour Schedule
November 4: KidLitFrenzy
November 5: Read. Write. Reflect.
November 6: Librarian in Cute Shoes
November 7: Watch. Connect. Read