Writing

Judy’s Writing Process - Part 2

Judy Blume

Lesson time 11:30 min

In later drafts, Judy goes deeper into character to propel a story forward. She also shares her feelings about what to do if writer’s block appears.

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In a second draft, not so much trying to solve the problems of the plot or the storytelling. I'm probably trying to go deeper into who are these characters. And by finding out about them, that's going to help me tell their story and move forward. And I'll hope that when I read through a second draft, there will be little bits that delight me along the way. Maybe it's dialogue. Maybe it's a scene that I'll really like. A lot of it won't wind up in the final book, but some of it will be there from the first draft. Some dialogue will always stay. There might be a scene that will always be there, because it just came, and it's good, and it works. And eventually, you get a feel for that. And you get a feel for, especially, if it's not working, the heartbreak of it's not working. But I don't give up. I don't give up. My revision process has to do with the characters and the story. I mean, it's the same thing. The characters were there to tell a story. So I can't separate the characters from the story. Yes, I can say, oh, I know what. Rachel's father swigs Pepto Bismol before school starts, because he's nervous. And that's the kind of person he is. He's a worrier. And he will be that way, maybe, through the book. And that's good that I know that. But still, more and more good things happen as the drafts go up in number. So a third draft will be-- many more things will come. The interesting thing, really, is that I know now that some of my best stuff will come after I'm working with an editor. Maybe in the first time, or maybe not until we have our second go round. Some of the best stuff will come at the very end. Just as I said some of the best is at the beginning, but some of the best will come at the very end. Because by then I know things that I didn't know in the first, second, or even third drafts. Every time I go through it, I am identifying places like, eh, this doesn't work. I'll write comments-- ugh, forget it, no. And I'll ask myself questions on there. What is she doing here? What is this all about? And that will help me in the next draft. So I don't necessarily try to fix it then, because I like to have all of that. Again, that all becomes security to me. I know what I'm going to be doing. The hardest part, again, is facing the blank screen, the blank page. So I never want to be in that position. I always want to have plenty of notes. There are times when I actually make lists to track my characters. And especially in a longer book, I have to track my characters, track their development, track what they've already done and said, on what page they've done and said that, so I know. And sometimes it doesn't come out right, but for the most part, when I'm revising, I'm revising as a whole. But again, there are times in longer books when it will be just this character, ...


Write timeless stories

Judy Blume broke the rules. Her refreshingly honest children’s books were banned by hundreds of libraries and loved by generations of readers, who bought 85 million copies of classics like Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret and Superfudge. In her first online writing class, the award-winning author teaches you how to invent vivid characters, write realistic dialogue, and turn your experiences into stories people will treasure.



Reviews

4.7
Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

This is going to be a great class for me. I love listening to her stories.

Judy Blume is AMAZING! She has made me laugh, cry in a good way, feel LOVE for writing and the process of writing, I love how sweet she talks about her writing, you can tell she pours her heart and soul into her work> : )

Terrific explanation of the process of writing and publishing books ... and loving what you do!

This so far is the BEST Masterclass I've watched here. What I loved about it is that Judy does not give us the rules of how to write; she just tells her own story, and that will teach you everything you need to know. It's a true masterclass for a good listener. And Judy? I mean come one, what a human! I'm absolutely in love with her.


Comments

Graeme R.

How wonderful and intimate it feels to be chatting enjoyably with Judy Blume and learning.

Mary H.

In this sequence of stills from Masterclass, Judy Blume is shown reporting that she uses both sides of paper when printing. Attention "editors," this is not necessary.

Rachel M.

This was said by a speaker at a panel about the importance of staying creative: "Being an artist is not a real job. It's a way of life." Kind of like what you said. It's not just fun (maybe it can be, especially when you're writing a really fun scene), it's work. More than just the work you're paid for. It's a drive you can't switch off. Like me. I hardly ever stop thinking. Whether about stories or other things. Might be why I have trouble sleeping.

AJ M.

Wow, this one really spoke to me. I can relate to this in writing, and with working, especially being a remote worker. I do like what she said about being physical when you just cant get something done - so much better than turning to something sedentary like wallowing in self-pity or a Netflix binge. I was once told "the difference between writers and people who want to be writers is just that one of them actually finishes"

Mia S.

"I think if you've got another job, small children that you're taking care of, other things get in the way, and other things do get in the way. When you're doing this book, you have to keep at it. Between books, I used to go - when I started out, there was just so much inside me that needed to come out that I went from book to book to book to book for a long time, and I was fast and spontaneous and it just kept coming, and I needed it; and then after awhile I relaxed about it more, and would take time off between books. Now, I take a lot of time off between books, if I want to. When I was young and started to write it was always on my mind that my father had died so young and suddenly and I believed that my life would be short and I had to get in as much as I could - I just wanted to get it down. I was just so desperate to let everything out that was inside me and get it down. So I'm not in such a hurry anymore. I got happy in my personal life, and let's face it - what's going on in your personal life does, can affect your writing life, I don't see how it can't. But it's good. Actually, during some of the worst times in my own life, I was able to continue to write and that did save me. I was able to go into this other world of characters and story and forget what was going on in my own life. So yes, I did write through the worst times. I look back and I don't know how but I did it. I don't believe in the expression 'writer's block' - no writer's block, put that out of your mind. There are good days, and there are less good days, and there are times when it just seems not to be coming, and what I suggest is just get up, walk away, go do something physical because the physical helps the mental come to where you need to be. During those walks the solution came to me, and I got it,that way - by not really focusing on it but by doing something else."

Mia S.

"There are times when I actually make lists to track my characters - especially in a longer book - track their development, what they've already done and said on what page they've done and said that, so I know. Sometimes it doesn't come out right, but for the most part when I'm revising I'm revising as a whole. But again, there are times in longer books when it will be just this character and this character, and I'll make a little notebook about tracking characters and events, because that's very important. Consistency is very important; the book has to make sense. I think an old-fashioned work ethic is really essential, because writing is your job, if it is your job. Writing is my job, so that's the only way I can get it done - by forcing myself. I pretend. For most of my writing life, I have worked at home. That's not always easy, especially when you have family and things going on. I have my own little room, my own space, where I can go and lock myself up for as long as I need to. If you want to write - if you're serious about writing - you have to do this. You have to make the time. I know we all have heard of people who get up at 5am and they do their writing for the first two hours, and they get things done. I could never do that - I'm a morning person, but not that early a morning person. Although who knows? If I had been desperate to do that, if I had had a job outside, also. I had this burning inside me that had to come out, because it's not just that you sit down to write, I think you need to - you need to let this out. It may be a fun idea to think, 'I'm going to be a writer.' But the reality of it is, it's not that much fun. It's fun when you have a book on the shelf and you say, 'I wrote that book! How did I do that?' That's fun. But the writing itself is not fun. It's hard, and you have to keep at it, day after day."

Mia S.

"In a second draft, not so much trying to solve the problems of the plot or storytelling, I'm probably trying to go deeper into, 'Who are these characters?' By finding out about them, that's going to help me tell their story and move forward. I'll hope that when I read through a second draft, there will be little bits that delight me along the way. Maybe it's dialogue, maybe it's a scene that I'll really like. A lot of it won't wind up in the final book, but some of it will be there from the first draft - some dialogue will always stay. There might be a scene that will always be there, because it just came and it's good, it works. Eventually, you get a feel for that, a feel for - especially - if it's not working; the heartbreak of it's not working. But I don't give up. My revision process has to do with the characters and the story. It's the same thing - the characters were there to tell a story, so I can't separate the characters from the story. I can say, 'Oh I know what, Rachel's father swigs Pepto-Bismol before school starts, that's the kind of person he is, he's a worrier' and it's good that I know that. But still, more and more good things happen as the drafts go up in number. A third draft will be - many more things will come. The interesting thing really is that I know now that some of my best stuff will come after I'm working with an editor, maybe in the first time or maybe not until we have our second go-round. Some of the best stuff will come at the very end, just as I said some of the best is at the beginning. Because by then, I know things that I didn't know in the first, second or even third drafts. Every time I go through it, I am identifying places like, 'Eh, this doesn't work.' I'll write comments ('Ugh,' 'Forget it') and I'll ask myself questions on there ('What is this all about?') and that will help me in the next draft. I don't necessarily try to fix it then, because I like to have all of that. That all becomes security to me - I know what I'm going to be doing. The hardest part, again, is facing the blank screen. I never want to be in that position. I always want to have plenty of notes."

Tawnya B.

I connect with a lot of what she says, but I really appreciate her acknowledgement that it can be very difficult to write while working a full-time job and honoring other commitments. I could never write early in the morning before work. So I tend to write in the evenings, and I often become so caught up in it I am unaware of the passage of time until suddenly it is midnight or 1:00 a.m. and I have to get up in five hours. But there's nothing else I'd rather be doing. Writing would be my full-time job if I start publishing, so I'm looking forward to her next lesson!

Amy L.

I relate to the strategy of walking away and occupying a different part of your brain when struggling with a story. I can give myself a literal headache trying to force something. I have learned that doing something else -- window shopping, walking, making dinner -- is part of my process.

Brooke

These two lessons about the writing process has helped give a visual of what needs to be done in order to get your books written. I like how she gave steps to achieve the ultimate goal. I like how she said to never have a blank page in front of you because your first draft you are getting so much out that you will always have something to work with.