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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Writing tips with Jackie Yeager, Author of SPIN THE GOLDEN LIGHTBULB


 Thanks for joining me again today, Jackie. Congrats on the release of SPIN THE GOLDEN LIGHTBULB! I appreciate you being willing to share some writing tips with us.  I would love to glean some wonderful words of advice from you!   

First of all, I would like to talk about character development.  As an author, how do you go about creating your characters to be unique and realistic?

That’s a great question and something that’s so important because a story may have the most fabulous plot, but if the reader doesn’t care about the characters or relate to them on some level, they’ll never read to the end. When I create my characters, I usually have some hard to define ambiguous quality that gets me wanting to write about them in the first place. It could be their way of speaking, their mannerisms, or their determination—something that pops into my head and makes me want to write about them. Once I have an idea like that in my mind, I can add on to it. The most important thing for me when creating characters is to make them memorable. So hair color or height is not so important but a unique characteristic is. 

When I created Kia Krumpet, the main character in Spin the Golden Light Bulb, I knew that she was going to be a very determined and focused eleven year-old, with tunnel vision—a sort of one track mind when it came to the competition in the story, the Piedmont Challenge. From there it was easy to add characteristics like biting her nails—a lot and talking about the Piedmont Challenge—a lot in almost an obsessive way. I had to be careful not to make her stereotypical though, and instead unique. I guess that’s the challenge we all have when creating characters!

Secondly, I am curious about how to develop sequels.  When you began this novel, did you plan it to have a sequel, or did that just come about naturally through the writing process?

I guess I would say it came about naturally through the writing process. When I originally began thinking about the plot for Spin the Golden Light Bulb, the first of THE CRIMSON FIVE books, I had no idea that it could turn into more than one book. At first, the story was simply about an over-the-top creative problem solving competition based loosely on my experience as an Odyssey of the Mind coach. But as the ideas began to solidify in my mind, I realized that the world I was trying to create was pretty big and it was going to be very difficult to fit all of my ideas into one book!

At what point then did you know you had sequel material?

As I molded the plot, I soon realized with certainty that it would take more than one book for me to tell the entire story of these five kids. Breaking the story into two books was actually quite easy because it revolves around a competition and the different levels involved. So I decided to write a stand-alone book only, leaving the door open for a sequel, and developed a loose outline for the second book right away. 

Do you think there is potential for a third book? 

Yes, I do think there’s potential for a third book! With these five kids and the world they live in, it’s very possible. With that said, the sequel, is also written as a stand-alone book. But, never say never. I do have a loose outline written for a third, so you never know!

I hope that happens!  I think the whole process is fascinating.  As a writer of picture books, I admire the skill of creating a "world" as you have done!  

Once again, thank you so much for your willingness to talk with us and share your writing tips!  I wish you all the best with SPIN THE GOLDEN LIGHTBULB and its sequel.  

About the author: 
Jackie has a Masters degree in Education, lives in Rochester, NY with her real life prince charming and two royally amazing teenagers, and would live in a castle if she could.  When she is not living in her own fairytale world, she spends time reading, practicing yoga, and cheering for the crew at marathons, triathlons, cross country meets, track meets, and hockey and baseball games.  She does a lot of cheering!  She is also a former coach of a middle school Odyssey of the Mind team who once upon a time competed at the World Finals.  They may or may not have been the inspiration behind the book, and even its sequel.

You can find Jackie at her website:

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