From Santa: Hot Breaking News! Leaf 6, Pt 1!

This is Santa, your eye-witness reporter, giving you all the news that’s all good all the time. Yes, you heard it here first, folks. The next installment of the enticing, and intriguing Because Of The Red Fox is now available for public viewing. And here with me today is author Jane Valencia, for a brief interview.

Santa: Tell me the truth, Ms. Valencia. Rumor has it that you’ve been struggling a lot with this chapter.

Jane: Wow, you just cut to the chase, don’t you. Well, yes, that’s absolutely true.

Santa: And why’s that? It looks like fun and frolic is in good order here. Annie and Shell and I have a good time. The chapter is loaded with chicken stuff, after all.

Jane: Well, see. That’s just it. You and Annie maybe crazy about chickens (I am too), but our readers may not be so totally over the top about chickens. Or even if they are, we have to make sure we tell a good story and keep it moving along.

Santa: Uh, just what are you saying? That we’re boring? That our obsession with chickens is boring?

Shell (offstage): You could say that!

Jane: That’s not what I mean at all. But there’s a balance to be had. I want to include some fun details and set some things up that will take place later in the story, but I don’t want the story to bog down.

Santa: Bog … down … but how can the details of our time there bog down the story? Everything we did and saw there is important!

Jane: Well, yes and no. I know you guys had an amazing and strange time at Magic Mouse. I just want to make sure that we keep the ‘amazing and strange’ in a straightforward and clear way (if that makes sense), and not muddle it by having an overdose of detail.

Santa: But it’s important to note down every chicken we saw at Magic Mouse. They reveal so much about–everything!

Jane: Maybe and maybe not. As the writer of the story I want to make sure that every detail moves the story along in some purposeful way. Some details are important to the plot, some are fun. But they all need to present something that’s a little bit new. My difficulty with this chapter has been in deciding what’s fun and purposeful, and what just bogs things down or just makes things confusing and over-the-top surreal.

Santa: That’s harsh.

Jane: I can see why you might be attached to everything I’ve written in this chapter (not included here). And it’s possible that it all may end up in the story anyway. But for me, even as the writer, I found myself getting bored as I read the chapter aloud. There were certain places where this happened. So I’ve just posted Leaf 6, Pt 1, because I’d reached a place where I got totally bored, and couldn’t figure out how to fix it right now.

Santa: [indistinct mumbling]

Jane: Please don’t be offended. I may not have been telling the story well enough. We’ll see. But it always helps to work on something, then take a break and do something else, then come back to it. And see what new ideas have come to mind. And reading aloud what you’ve written really helps to hear where things are working and where they aren’t.

Santa: Okay … well, we’ll just have to see what you come up with next week. You are going to finish the chapter next week, right?

Jane: Yup, one way or another. The purpose of my work on this book right now is to rewrite some scenes and storyline based on what I know from writing the whole first draft, tussle with some of the problems along the way, but just keep moving.

Santa: Sounds like a whole other interview we could have with you.

Jane: Yes, indeed.

Santa: Well, thank you for joining us today, Ms. Valencia. We’ll dive deep into the inner workings of this magnificent magical adventure tale in another interview. This is your eye-witness roving reporter, Samantha Wakefield-Brown, signing off.

From Shell: No New Leaf, but ….

Jane’s having a hard time with the current Leaf. (called Leaf 6: The Magic Of Mouse). She assures me that she’ll have it ready to roll next Friday.

In the meantime she invites you to read a little story about me and my friend Grayhorn SilverAntler. Dollmaker extraordinaire Lisa Mathias of Journey School made the Shell-doll. Lisa’s dolls are a lot like the dolls my mom makes! (well, actually, Jane says they are the dolls my mom makes, but that doesn’t make sense to me!).

Anyway here is what Grayhorn SilverAntler and I discover one Winter Solstice on the 100 Acre Farm … Enjoy a little winter in your summer!

Read: A Winter Solstice Fantasy

Hi Again From Shell

Now things are rocking and rolling in the story! Jane tells me that she had a lot of fun with this chapter, and that as she updated it for this blog, she’s starting to understand a couple of things about my story that had puzzled her. So you may eventually see a couple of changes to earlier chapters. There will certainly be some changes for the later part of the story, but you may not get to see what those were!

Happy Fourth of July! Every year on The Island is a great fireworks show over the Inner Harbor. My cousins always go. The fireworks are launched from a barge. I can’t wait to go with them this year!