Hattie Big Sky

Newbery Honor for Kirby Larson

Our guest today is Kirby Larson, author of Hattie Big Sky, (Delacorte) which has received *starred reviews* in School Library Journal and Booklist; it was chosen as a December Borders Original Voice Pick and is on the Barnes & Noble Teen Discover list. It was recently named a School Library Journal Best Books of 2006, as well as being named as a Book Links Lasting Connections title. Best of all, this book won the 2007 Newbery Honor Medal.

Kirby has written about her experiences with this story in her blog. (Originally posted on December 6, 2006 on Revision Notes that was hosted on Live Journal. )

Q: What was your writing experience before Hattie Big Sky?

A: I had been writing for nearly 20 years and had 4 published chapter books and a picture book to my credit.

Q: What did you learn about revision while working on Hattie Big Sky?

A: I didn’t realize I didn’t know the first thing about revising until I took Darcy’s Novel Revision Retreat. I finally “got it” that reworking a manuscript is not revising. To revise something means to re-vision it, to see it through a new lens. The workshop moved me from wordsmith to novel writer and, one short summer after taking it, I had my young adult historical completely revised. Re-visioned.

Q:What exercise was the most helpful?

A: Though I was irritated as heck at her request — demand! — that we bring our manuscripts formatted in this very particular and seemingly crazy manner, I cooperated. And was I glad I did! The Shrunken Mss exercise worked.

Q: Specifically, what did the exercise help you to do while revising?

A: I restructured scenes so they contributed more to the story certainly, but what I carry away most is that the workshop gave me a way to take that huge novel and make it manageable. I could really get a big picture view of the work, rather than remain stuck on individual scenes, chapters, etc.

Q: How long did it take for Hattie Big Sky to sell?

A: The manuscript spent ten days on an editor’s desk before I got that wonderful phone call!

Kirby Larson Writes Foreword to Writing Workbook

The workbook for the Novel Revision Retreat includes a foreword by Kirby, in which she talks about her experience with Hattie Big Sky. Read more about the retreats and see a video of one in action.

Novel Metamorphosis: UnCommon Ways to Revise is the workbook for the retreat, the next best thing to being there. Order from Amazon.

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