Background I grew up in a family where reading was very important to everyone – both my parents are teachers, so they read to me from a young age. It really helps to have been exposed early, because you get to start reading and writing early as well. I actually started reading before I could actually read. I’d listen to my parents read the story to me a couple times, then I would re-tell it in my own words and often even act it out. The Mitten, by Jan Brett, was one of the first books I ever re-told in my own words, with my own actions. Something you can do as you grow up, is start your own library. This doesn’t mean you have to lend out your books. It means that you start your own private collection of books. That’s what I did, and I now own more than 700 books, all of them stashed in my room.
The idea arrives... EVEREST FACT Before you climb Everest, you have to climb some other mountains that prepare you for the task at hand. Practice makes perfect. It’s a great thing to collect your ideas so that you have them later on when you want to use them. Journal writing is always a great activity. Before I wrote, I read a lot and decided what sort of genre and form of writing I preferred. Fiction, nonfiction? Fantasy, horror, suspense, real life? Whatever you find to be interesting is a great way for you to start.
The idea arrives... Your characters are also important parts of the writing process. When you read, notice which kinds of characters you like. Are they funny, stupid, good friends? Or are they evil and malicious? I have different kinds of characters in my story and none of them have the same personality. Make up your own characters. The setting in your story is also an important factor. Where do you want your story to take place? In a little English village? Near some roaring waterfalls? In an imaginary world? When you write, you can create a new setting, or use the setting of somewhere you’ve been. At the end of your chapters, it’s good to leave the reader’s hanging so that they want to keep reading to find out what happens next. Cliff-hangers and abrupt endings are great.
Before you start... EVEREST FACT The BASE CAMP is the first part of the voyage up Mount Everest. It is where the voyagers make their first stop and prepare for their ascent. Read, read and read some more! Be a spy – take notes about things you might find interesting and things that happen around you. They can help you in your idea flow! Learn to type well so that you can TYPE as well as you handwrite. Find out what interests both you and others.
Prepare yourself... EVEREST FACT The KhumbuFalls is considered to be one of the most dangerous stages of the route up Mount Everest because large crevasses open with little warning. It has taken 19 lives so far.
Prepare yourself... Your writing environment is very important to the writing process. Turn off the TVs, PSPs, the Wiis... Anything that can cause a distraction should be turned off before you write. These electronic devices can disturb you and you won’t be as concentrated. Make sure you are comfortable as you write! It can make the job easier. Assure yourself that you have everything you need within reach. If you have to get up all the time, you’ll walk around more than you’ll write.
Writing... EVEREST FACT Everest CAMP 1 is 6,100 meters up, or 20,015 feet. It is the first camp the climbers stop at after Base Camp. Now you have to write. Writing the story is sometimes harder than coming up with the idea of what you want to write. Authors struggle with Writer’s Block (when an author has no more ideas and doesn’t know how to continue his or her story) all the time.
Writing... When writing, you have got to create your characters. I found that this part of the writing process was quite fun. I could take some of my own personality traits and those of others and mix them all into my characters. Decide which type of character you like, choose a creative name and go from there. Now it’s time to create your setting! You can choose to have your story take place somewhere you’ve been or somewhere you like or even create your own worlds. Choose where you want to end your chapters. Chapter endings are very important because they can determine whether the reader wants to keep reading or not. Make sure that you chapter ending are cliff-hangers.
Editing... EVEREST FACT Everest’s CAMP 2 is only 500 metres above CAMP 1. This doesn’t mean the going gets easy, though. Even if you have finished writing your book, this doesn’t mean your job is over yet! You still have editing to do. Lots and lots of editing. Editing and re-writing are two important things to do after you have finished writing. What I did was, I first looked it over with my dad. I read it to him and he mentioned anything that didn’t make sense or seemed to be out of place.
Editing... After I had read it to my dad, he read it again and made some corrections. Then, I printed a copy out at ‘’Staples’’ and I had one of my friends read my book. She later became my editor, because her language skills were much better than mine were. This is called ‘’Peer Editing’’. When you review your book, there is always the chance that you will have to re-write parts of it. Sometimes things you write could make sense to you, but the reader won’t understand what you’re trying to say. This is why we re-write!
Publishing... EVEREST FACT Everest’s CAMP 3 is where some of the climbers start using bottled oxygen. Climbers can’t think clearly if they have no oxygen and it increases their risk of dying. Once your work has been edited and is where you want it to be, you can start sending it to publishing companies. For me, it took a long time to receive a response from the publishers and they said that they couldn’t publish my book because I was a kid. I then decided that publishing with a company like Random House or Scholastic was not for me, so my mom suggested that I self-publish.
Publishing... My mom typed ‘’self-publishing companies’’ on the Internet and told me to choose a company I liked. I chose Xlibris, which is the company that published my book. After I had applied to Xlibris, they sent me a publishing booklet in which all the information about the company was included. I decided which package I wanted and my publishing representative wrote to me about the publishing process.
Publishing process... EVEREST FACT The DEATH ZONE is nearest to Everest’s CAMP 4. The DEATH ZONE is where most of the people who have the most chance to die, die. If you decide to publish with a self-publishing company, the process will not be exactly the same as if you had decided to publish with Random House or Scholastic. The company will call you, once you have decided which package you want to publish with and discuss the advantages of it with you. In my case, my mom and dad spoke a bit with the company to figure out all the money aspects of the package. After I had chosen which package I wanted to publish with, I had to send in my book by e-mail.
Publishing process... They put all my writing into book format and sent me a galley. A galley is the pre-book. It’s your story in the format it will be sold in. I had to look over the galleys and check to see if I had anything I wanted to change. Once I had looked over them, and made a couple corrections, I approved them. After the initial galleys were approved, they sent me the final galleys in which I had to make any last minute changes. I approved without changing anything which was a mistake because there were still some things my dad wanted to change. I had to re-open the galleys and make the last changes to my book. We added commas, changed some of the phrasing and made some more corrections.
Publishing process... (layout) EVEREST FACT In the DEATH ZONE, the air pressure drops. The human species functions best at sea level. The Death Zone is about 7000 feet metres above sea level. Before my book was completely finished, I had to make sure I had a few key things: my front cover, my back cover, my acknowledgements (dedication) and my inside illustrations. I wrote the back cover myself, and some of my friends volunteered to do the front cover and the inside illustrations. After they had finished their work, they sent it in to me and I proceeded to send it to the publishers. They inserted the color on the front cover. For the back cover, I had to write the author bio and book description myself.
The Summit! EVEREST FACT The Summit is the most rewarding part of the journey up Mount Everest. The climbers have finally reached their goal! After all the work, you have been rewarded with the publication of your book. Isn’t it great to know that there WAS a fruit to all your hard work?
The Summit! Your job is still not over, even if your book is published! You still have to promote your book. For promotion, we decided to have a book-signing, where people came to buy my book and got me to sign it. We also wrote to two different newspapers – The Gazette and The News and Chronicle (one to promote the book-signing and one to cover the book-signing). CTV also decided to film me at school and at home to promote my book-signing as well. At my book-signing, we had a few key speakers. My dad spoke as well as a few people from the community. I then read the first chapter of my book and signed books.
What to do next? At the end of this journey, you might want some rest. But after you’re all rested up, maybe you’d want to talk about your experience, which is what I’m doing today. And who knows... Maybe you’ll want to climb Everest again...