Veda Boyd Jones is our guest this week on FIVE ON FRIDAY. Veda has written more than forty books and over 300 articles for magazines such as Cricket, Highlights and Writer’s Digest. She has also taught creative writing and currently teaches for the Institute for Children’s Literature.
She can be visited on the web at www.vedaboydjones.com.
I was an editor of the newspaper in high school, and I really liked working on the paper (and especially seeing my name in the byline). In junior college I was co-editor of the paper, but when I went on to school, writing dropped out of my life. It wasn’t until I was married with kids that I needed something for myself and turned back to writing. Writing time was only at nap time, but it was enough for me to realize how much I missed writing.
What book or writer do you feel influenced you the most?
A friend and writer Joan Banks influenced me greatly. I met her after I’d written one unsold manuscript and was working on another. She was the first writer I met, and she read my stuff. She told me, “You wrote every word the first time, and you have to go back and look at every word again in revision to make sure it’s the right one.” I didn’t realize I could fix things. I hadn’t been revising. Once I learned that, my work began to sell.
What book or books are you currently reading or have recently read that you’d recommend to others?
I’m reading The Book Thief right now for one of my book clubs. I belong to two, and reading books that others have chosen (and sometimes I recommend) has really widened my life. Many are books I would never have picked up, but I’ve learned there’s value in all types of books.
If you could offer one piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be?
You can fix your writing. If the theme isn’t strong enough, emphasize it more. If one character isn’t well developed, add layers to her personality. Revision is the key to good writing.
Can you share with us your next project or any information about the next book you’re working on?
My current project takes place in Washington, D.C. I went there last month to look the place over for the flavor of our nation’s capitol. I don’t want to say more than that or I may jinx it. 🙂