Wednesday, October 16, 2013

4 WOW Wednesday: Have Fun With Your Grown up Game of Make Believe by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Susan Beth Pfeffer is the winner of many acclaimed awards for her children's and young adult books. The last book in the New York Times Best Selling series The Last Survivors, came out in August. We are so excited to have Susan here with us today!

Have Fun With Your Grown Up Game Of Make Believe by Susan Beth Pfeffer

The other morning I woke up with an idea.

I loved the idea. Instead of getting out of bed and feeding the cat, I let my mind focus on the plot, the characters, the entire glorious development. My favorite part of writing is the pre-writing, and if Scooter hadn't been so insistent on getting his can of Meaty Bits With Gravy, I might still be in bed, playing with characters' names and backstories.

I continued to think about the idea for much of the morning. I considered emailing my agent and telling her the basic idea to see if she thought it was publishable. But I told myself to hold off until I was certain I really wanted to commit my time and remaining few brain cells to the project.

As the day progressed, I noticed I was giving the idea less attention. Then finally I had one of those epiphany moments I could use a great deal more of.

"Why are you thinking about this idea?" I asked myself. "It's not a book you'd even want to read."

I stopped immediately. In fact, I no longer even remember what the idea was, which is why I'm not offering it to you right now.

Here's the thing about writing: You can take all the classes in the world to learn how to be better and you can absorb all the excellent advice in the world to learn how to be better and you can write write write until, with practice you become better, but there's no point in doing any of that if the very act of writing isn't fun.
Writing has been my full time job since I graduated college, and I'd be a big fat fibber if I said I every book I wrote was an act of joy. A lot of them were work, inspired more by the need to pay the gas and electric bill than by the Muse Of YA Literature. But even those books that I wrote with a whine and a sigh were stories I enjoyed creating, with characters I was happy to spend time with and lines of dialogue that made me giggle.

I've got no problem with being my own biggest fan. No one is going to spend more time with my books than I am. My first audience will always be me, and if I'm writing a book I wouldn't even want to read, why should I expect anyone else to want to read it?

For all the labor that's involved with taking an idea from creation to completion, ultimately writing fiction is a glorious grownup game of make believe. Your story is the only place on earth where you have total control. The characters do what you want them to do and they say what you want them to say and they live and love when you want them to live and love. You can even kill them off without fear of the law. You are the law.
And if that's not fun, what is?

About Susan

Susan Beth Pfeffer was born in New York City in 1948. When she was six her father wrote and published a book on constitutional law, and Pfeffer decided that she, too, wanted to be a writer. That year she wrote her first story, about the love between an Oreo cookie and a pair of scissors. However, it wasn't until 1970 that her first book, Just Morgan, was published. She wrote it during her last semester at New York University; since then, she has been a full-time writer for young people. 

She has won numerous awards and citations for her work, which range from picture books to middle-grade and young-adult novels, and include both contemporary and historical fiction. She is also the author of the popular Portraits of Little Women series for grades 3-6, and has written a book for adults on writing for children.

To date, she has written more than 60 books.

Named the American Library Associations Young Adult Library Services Association Best Book for Young Adults 2007 and Teens’ Top Ten Booklist in 2007. She was also a finalist for the Andre Norton Award, Quill Awards, Hal Clement Awards.

About The Book

The eagerly awaited addition to the series begun with the New York Times best-seller Life As We Knew It, in which a meteor knocks the moon off its orbit and the world changes forever.

It's been more than two years since Jon Evans and his family left Pennsylvania, hoping to find a safe place to live, yet Jon remains haunted by the deaths of those he loved. His prowess on a soccer field has guaranteed him a home in a well-protected enclave. But Jon is painfully aware that a missed goal, a careless word, even falling in love, can put his life and the lives of his mother, his sister Miranda, and her husband, Alex, in jeopardy. Can Jon risk doing what is right in a world gone so terribly wrong?


  1. I love playing with ideas like this! You're right though, that our love/interest/belief in an idea has to be consistent in order for it to fully work. Congrats on the latest release!

  2. This happened to me just a couple of weeks ago! After, of course, I'd hauled away every available book on the subject from the library. Finally I realized I couldn't make the story into something I'd want to read. Well, at least now I know a lot more about WWII aircraft than I ever did before....

  3. Fun post! and I totally agree that what you write should be something you'd like to read. I just decided the same thing lately...had an idea about a twisted gaming scenario that bleeds into the characters' real lives, and then I thought eh...I don't even LIKE gaming or know much about it. So I discarded that idea. :) Your book sounds interesting!

  4. This was an interesting post. Sometimes ideas simply invade our lives and won't leave us alone. But not all ideas are good ideas. It's good when we can figure out which ones to stick with. The books sounds interesting. Thanks for telling me about it.


Tell us what you think. We'd love to hear from you! :)