Interview with John Briggs

When did you first start writing?
In third grade. I wrote my own "Peanuts" story, complete with pictures, and gave it to my mother. She gave it back and told me it was plagiarism because Charles Schulz owned those characters. It's not like I planned to publish it, but I took her point, and from then on only wrote original stories. I wrote a ton of short stories in high school, only one of which I still keep in my adult collection. In my mid-twenties I finally got serious about the craft and really devoted myself to the details of putting together a good story, and I've been at it ever since.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
For me, the greatest joy of writing is the simple act of creation. Writing is an art, and structuring a sentence, a phrase, an idea that's never been expressed that way is thrilling. We use language to communicate, but writing, unlike speaking, allows you to craft what you want to say in a very specific way, and when it works, it's tremendous.
What are you working on next?
I'm working on several more middle-grade biographies, including books on Judy Garland and Pete Seeger, as well as a middle-grade historical fantasy. I'm also planning on returning to my adult work, including a collection of short stories and a novel. It's enough to keep me busy!
What is your writing process?
For non-fiction, it starts with the research, but as I create my notes, I write down phrases or sentences that come to me. Many of those make it into the final book. I then divide the research into chapters, deciding what works and doesn't work. Then, the writing and rewriting begins, until I've finished several drafts. For fiction, I develop an outline, then go through it and create a detailed outline with notes on action and dialog until the story makes sense to me. I develop character profiles to flesh them out, too, and then start writing. I follow the outline, but often feel free to diverge from it. After all, it's an outline, not dogma. After several drafts, I submit it to my writers group and go back through and rewrite it again. Then it's on to the next book!
What do you read for pleasure?
I read a lot of history, philosophy, and science. Yes, mostly nonfiction, As for fiction, I read humorous stories, either adult or middle-grade, plus the classics. You can find out everything I've been reading on my Goodreads author page!
Published 2014-10-29.
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Books by This Author

Mary Dyer, Friend of Freedom
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 14,180. Language: English. Published: October 30, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Children's Books » Biography & Autobiography / Social Activists
Mary Dyer was the first woman in America executed for her religious beliefs, but her death started a revolution no one could stop. Learn how this humble Quaker woman brought religious freedom to the colonies and became an international civil rights hero.