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New User
princess_mia
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎08-08-2007
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Re: questions

Ooh, I've got another question, if that's okay:
Did you face any critisism from teachers for your writing when you were a child? I'm asking this because I've heard of many people who don't write anymore because a teacher put them down and insulted their work when they were younger. Did the critisism affect you in any way?
New User
maryreneeshirk
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎08-09-2007
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Re: questions

When I was a girl in school some your books where a bit controversial. Are you there God it's me Margaret? and Forever where the books that spoke to me at a time when I needed advice about girl stuff. Do you think it is harder for authors now who want to write honest books that speak to girls than it was for you?
Author
Judy_Blume
Posts: 25
Registered: ‎08-06-2007
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Re: questions

First, thanks for explaining how this (message board?) works. I was wondering how to make it clear which question I was answering.

Okay, now that I know I have to click Quote Post, I'm set.
-- I'm a real-life kind of writer so fantasy has never been an option. My childhood fantasties (and there were many) were all rooted in real life. It's what I most like to read and it's what I write naturally. I think all of us who write do what comes naturally. Some of us can move from genre to genre but not me. I supported and defended Jo Rowling and Harry Potter because the idea of banning the book(s) made me so angry! My grandson loved the series. He grew up with Harry. (He'll be 16 soon) The NYT op ed piece I wrote in defense of Harry is posted on my website (judyblume.com). Rowling's huge success is lovely (for her and her readers). I met her once and she was warm and generous (plus she and her sister grew up reading my books -- I love the idea of them sharing Deenie as she said they did.) She was able to create a world filled with characters that readers related to -- and combine it with fantastical stories that left them breathless and yearning for more. But I'm sure she was writing what came naturally to her. That's key.

I did read all the Oz books when I was a kid. So did my husband. We'd have a great collection of first editions (I think they'd be first editions) if our mothers hadn't given away our books. But after I discovered fiction that satisfied my curiosity about life, and left me thinking, I was hooked.

-----------------------------------------------
ConnieK wrote: Hi, Judy--I have another quick question:Forgive me if I'm missing any of your titles, but I know you are most (always?) known for your realistic fiction. Have you ever considered writing fantasy? If not, why not? Also, you were one of the early supporters of J. K. Rowling in the days when the Harry Potter books were getting banned all over the U. S. Have you kept up with the popular series, and if so, what do you think is the reason for Rowling's phenomenal success?
Author
Judy_Blume
Posts: 25
Registered: ‎08-06-2007
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Re: questions

Hey, Princess Mia --We didn't do much creative writing when I was at school. Sad but true. My stories stayed inside my head where no one could criticize them. They were mine. I never shared them. I did have one teacher in high school who encouraged us and who made it feel safe to let go. But we were writing ballads in his class, not stories. I can still sing the ballads I wrote. Just don't ask me to serenade you. Bah to teachers who discourage young writers! The teachers who write to me do just the opposite.
------------------------------------------------

princess_mia wrote: Ooh, I've got another question, if that's okay: Did you face any critisism from teachers for your writing when you were a child? I'm asking this because I've heard of many people who don't write anymore because a teacher put them down and insulted their work when they were younger. Did the critisism affect you in any way?
Author
Judy_Blume
Posts: 25
Registered: ‎08-06-2007
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Re: questions

I think we're at a good time now. For a while the publishers freaked out and didn't want anything that could be seen as controversial (especially in the 80's and well into the 90's). Now that YAs are selling well they're a lot less afraid. It's a business, after all. But really, everyone is always looking for the fresh voice with something new to say, or a fresh way of saying what's already been said.

-----------------------------------------------------------------
maryreneeshirk wrote: When I was a girl in school some your books where a bit controversial. Are you there God it's me Margaret? and Forever where the books that spoke to me at a time when I needed advice about girl stuff. Do you think it is harder for authors now who want to write honest books that speak to girls than it was for you?
New User
Niltiac
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎08-09-2007
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Updated editions

I was wondering how you felt about books being updated? I understand it for non-fiction but I think it's kind of sad for fiction because you lose a bit of that sense of time and place. Did you approve the changes for Are you there God, it's me Margaret? where the new version has pads with peel-off stickers instead of belts? I know that most kids wouldn't know that pads used to come with belts but to me that's part of the charm. I read the book as a kid in the 1980s and I didn't know that either but it was interesting to learn about history and the way things might have been for my mother's generation. The whole book is a period piece anyway - I can't imagine that the religion thing and specifically the Jewish v Christian thing is quite as strong these days though of course many of the themes are universal.

But maybe you think differently? I'd be interested to know.
Moderator
Rachel-K
Posts: 1,495
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Question

Ms Blume,

I have a couple of questions about your writing process! How many drafts are "normal" for you? And I think it's wonderful that you say you dread the firsts! I'd like to keep hold of that to open up the minds of some younger/inexperienced writers to rethink the resistance they often have to revision. How much of your "creative" stuff happens in the further drafts?

And if we're still tossing around those notions of YA lit, I'll point out that at a branch library (where I work) almost all of our "classics" are now shelved in YA, and NOT on the regular fiction shelves. I mean Ralph Ellison, Shakespeare, etc. I can't decide what I think of this--are they being dismissed as something you no longer need exposure to once you've got your HS diploma?

Rachel
New User
molsey
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎08-09-2007
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Re: questions

Judy, I saw that you've lent your voice to audio editions of several of your books. I recently listened to your reading of "Sally J." and thought it was great. My question is, do you plan to do this with most, or even all of your books? Are there any of your books you'd especially like to read onto CD someday?
Frequent Contributor
PlaySoccer247
Posts: 54
Registered: ‎08-09-2007
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Re: questions

Hey Mrs.Blume i am a HUGE fan of your fudge related stories is there any particular inspiration for that exact charactor? I would love to be a writer and do you hav any advice on how to get ides for stories or tips on what NOT to write becuse i SO look up to you for your works, and if you don't have time to reply i completely understand

~ A Fan!
Don't Be an LBR (jk)
Author
Judy_Blume
Posts: 25
Registered: ‎08-06-2007
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Re: questions

I'm not sure how to handle both threads! help would be appreciated. And thanks for sharing your story about Blubber. tough stuff!
Judy





pedsphleb wrote:
I had an I (heart) Judy Blume post on the other thread, but since questions are here I though I'd move over to this thread. When I started reading Everything... I didn't realize I forgot how many books you wrote - Deenie, Forever..., Starring Sally J. Friedman, etc. I always remembered Blubber because I identified so much with both Linda (I was teased a lot because I was both a dancer and pretty geeky) and Jill (I tended to stand back when other kids were teased - in retrospect, probably not very nice of me but at the time I didn't want to give the bullies more ammunition). Are you there God, it's me Margaret gave me the vocabulary I needed so I could talk to my Mom about growing pains.

So thanks. :smileyhappy:



Judy_Blume wrote:
Thanks for all your good thoughts. Since I'm working on a first draft (and I dread first drafts - yesterday I actually fell asleep at my computer and I wasn't even tired -- what does that tell you?)I'm always looking for an excuse to take a break from what I'm supposed to be writing. So ask away -- if you have questions I'll try to answer them.
Even though my husband says "You're supposed to be dead before there's a book like this about your work," I think it's more fun this way. Actually, I'm sure of it!



Author
Judy_Blume
Posts: 25
Registered: ‎08-06-2007
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Re: Updated editions

Niltiac,
There's a lot of controversy about updating among those who grew up reading my books. It was actually my British publisher who asked how I'd feel about updating the equipment Margaret buys and tries. I'd been thinking about it myself. Kids who are reading the book today read it as contemporary. Having to ask mothers (maybe grandmothers?!) about pins and belts takes them out of the story. While it may feel like a period piece (no joke!) to you, because it takes you back to the time and place you first read it, the girls who are reading it today think i wrote it for them. I did the revisions myself. While I'd never revise story or character, I think this is okay. As for the religious issues, wish I could share with you the letters from kids who are half-Jewish or half other religions. There are way more of them today than when I wrote the book.

I did the same(updating) with the Fudge books when they were recently repackaged. Only this time it was my idea. With Fudge the problem is the books take place close together in time. Peter's in 4th grade, then 5th, 6th, and in Double Fudge (the latest) he's in 7th. It's the electronic eqipment in the Fudge books that needed updating (not the menstrual). I had to come up with a reason for Sheila the Great to be using a mimeograph machine in the age of computers and faxes. I had fun with this and it allowed Sheila to make the same mess of the camp newspaper she did in the first version.

I understand what you're saying. Hang on to that first edition if you still have it!
Thanks,
Judy




Niltiac wrote:
I was wondering how you felt about books being updated? I understand it for non-fiction but I think it's kind of sad for fiction because you lose a bit of that sense of time and place. Did you approve the changes for Are you there God, it's me Margaret? where the new version has pads with peel-off stickers instead of belts? I know that most kids wouldn't know that pads used to come with belts but to me that's part of the charm. I read the book as a kid in the 1980s and I didn't know that either but it was interesting to learn about history and the way things might have been for my mother's generation. The whole book is a period piece anyway - I can't imagine that the religion thing and specifically the Jewish v Christian thing is quite as strong these days though of course many of the themes are universal.

But maybe you think differently? I'd be interested to know.

Author
Judy_Blume
Posts: 25
Registered: ‎08-06-2007
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Re: Question

Rachel -- before computers I did 5 drafts. The third draft went to my editor. Then I'd do a rewrite based on our meeting. After our next meeting I'd do a polish. The computer changed EVERYTHING! I think it was Letter to Judy that was my first book where I used a computer. And I can't imagine not using one now. But Summer Sisters went through -- really! -- 20 drafts. It nearly did me in. I said I was never writing again (and at the time I meant it). But my best stuff always comes in later drafts, no matter if it was typewriter or computer. And often I'm most creative with a pencil in my hand. I scribble all over every printout and I print out a lot! That's because there's so much I don't know in early drafts. Maybe I write to "find out." Maybe I hate first drafts because of all I still don't know. I can't explain it but by now I know not to mess with my process.

I'm aghast(!) that the library where you work doesn't shelve the "classics" in both places.
Judy



rkubie wrote:
Ms Blume,

I have a couple of questions about your writing process! How many drafts are "normal" for you? And I think it's wonderful that you say you dread the firsts! I'd like to keep hold of that to open up the minds of some younger/inexperienced writers to rethink the resistance they often have to revision. How much of your "creative" stuff happens in the further drafts?

And if we're still tossing around those notions of YA lit, I'll point out that at a branch library (where I work) almost all of our "classics" are now shelved in YA, and NOT on the regular fiction shelves. I mean Ralph Ellison, Shakespeare, etc. I can't decide what I think of this--are they being dismissed as something you no longer need exposure to once you've got your HS diploma?

Rachel

Author
ConnieAnnKirk
Posts: 5,472
Registered: ‎06-14-2007
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Re: Question

So, it sounds like your process is to plunge right in with a first draft, as opposed to planning it all out first? Do you begin with a character, scene, question, situation, etc. and build from there? How do you know when you're ready to open a new file on your computer and type "Chapter 1"?

Thank you for discussing with us!

~ConnieK



Judy_Blume wrote, in part:
Maybe I write to "find out." Maybe I hate first drafts because of all I still don't know. I can't explain it but by now I know not to mess with my process



~ConnieAnnKirk




[CAK's books , website.]
Contributor
Hope_at_last
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎08-09-2007
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Re: questions

[ Edited ]
Are you working on a new book??? What will be the name for it??? I'm a ameture writer trying to become an author and a marine biologist. I am trying to improve my writings and i was wondering if you could give me some advise if you can.

p.s. You are a great writer and there should be a ton of movies created from the great stories you write!!! keep up the good work!!!

Message Edited by Hope_at_last on 08-12-2007 10:46 AM
Author
Judy_Blume
Posts: 25
Registered: ‎08-06-2007
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Re: questions

Hi Molsey
I've recorded all the Fudge books (including Sheila the Great). They asked me to do Starring Sally J because it's my most autobiographical novel. Halley Feiffer recorded Blubber, Laura Hamilton recorded Margaret, and freckle Juice and the Greeen Kangaroo. I met Laura in Chicago when I was supposed to read from Deenie on stage but lost my voice (completely -- I could make a squeaking sound but that was it -- so scary and weird!) and at the last minute she was asked to do it. We were strangers and I was thinking -- this is going to be terrible -- because I like to think I'm good at reading-aloud -- and worst of all, they asked me to stand on stage next to Laura so the audience could see I was really there. I wasn't happy. And then Laura started to read and she was so good, so funny, so just right, that I knew I couldn't have done it as well. We became friends that night. since then Laura's recorded at least a book a year for different producers. Can't wait to see her when my September book tour takes me through Chicago. I have a copy of the CD of my latest book Soupy Saturdays with the Pain&the Great One (for 5-8 year olds, a chapter book)but I haven't listened yet. They used 2 actors, a female voice and a male voice for the brother and sister. I should tell you that I've never heard any of the books I've recorded (not all the way through, anyway). Can't bear the sound of my own voice.
Judy
Oh, my favorites are Stockard Channing reading the Ramona books. Perfect!





molsey wrote:
Judy, I saw that you've lent your voice to audio editions of several of your books. I recently listened to your reading of "Sally J." and thought it was great. My question is, do you plan to do this with most, or even all of your books? Are there any of your books you'd especially like to read onto CD someday?

Author
Judy_Blume
Posts: 25
Registered: ‎08-06-2007
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Re: Question

Connie -- I've led you astray. I don't plunge right in. I keep a notebook for months, sometimes I'll keep one for years before I actually say, Okay - today is the day I'm starting a new book. The characters are inside my head for ages, maybe on the back burner, but they're there. That notebook is my security blanket. What's different about what I'm doing now is that this is the 3rd book in a series of 4 books (for younger kids) I have my notebook for story ideas but I already know their voices and their friends and family. You know, I have tons of info on my website about my process and since I have to take this week off from ans questions here so I can concentrate on my work -- my deadline is coming up -- you can go to judyblume.com and probably find the answers to all (or most) of your questions. I'm hoping my new website (with all the same info, plus lots more) will launch on Aug. 28, pub date for Soupy Saturdays.
Thanks,
Judy




ConnieK wrote:
So, it sounds like your process is to plunge right in with a first draft, as opposed to planning it all out first? Do you begin with a character, scene, question, situation, etc. and build from there? How do you know when you're ready to open a new file on your computer and type "Chapter 1"?

Thank you for discussing with us!

~ConnieK



Judy_Blume wrote, in part:
Maybe I write to "find out." Maybe I hate first drafts because of all I still don't know. I can't explain it but by now I know not to mess with my process





Author
Melissa_Senate
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎08-03-2007
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Re: Question

Hi Judy!

First, I just want to say a huge thanks for joining us and taking the time to answer questions!

Until I was 12, I shared a bedroom with my brother (1 year younger) and sister (two years older), and quickly discovered that reading meant both privacy and escape, so I always had books piled up next to my bed. My three favorite authors were you, Paula Danziger and Rosa Guy. I'd read Deenie, then The Cat Ate My Gymsuit, then Are You There, God?, then The Cat again, and just rotate my beloved pile of 10 or so books, never tiring of reading the same ones over and over.

I'm so curious to know who your favorite authors were when you were a kid/teenager and what books you loved.

Thanks!
Melissa (I'm one of the contributors to the anthology--I wrote about how Then Again, Maybe I Won't meant the world to me the crazy summer I turned 12.)
Melissa Senate
www.melissasenate.com
New User
aidan011
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎08-13-2007
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Re: questions

Hi Judy!!

Wow, this is odd. I've never had the chance to write an author... at least with the possibility of them actually reading my letter! Anyway, I don't have any questions, just praise. I've grown up on your books. I've read all of your children and young adult books (my favorite being Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret). I read most of them by the time I was ten. :smileyvery-happy:

I lloveeeeee to read, and I could read your books time and time again.
You are a very, very great author- thank you so much! :]

Aidan Noell.
Reader 2
MsBleuGenes
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎08-08-2007
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Re: questions

Thanks for answering!

I have another question: sometime in the past year and a half, there was a feature in Playboy about erotic pieces of fiction. One woman wrote about Forever, and said how all her female friends (now in their 30s) fondly recalled the suds fight/shampoo and the ski weekend. Did you read the article? Just curious, too- if you were invited to the Playboy Mansion, would you go? =)
http://msbleugenes.livejournal.com/
New User
megnificent1
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎08-19-2007
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Re: Updated editions

Oh wow. Here I am writing to Judy Blume, my favorite childhood author. I worked at Barnes and Noble in the children's section while I was completing my undergraduate degree in elementary education, teaching my first classes, and entering graduate school. When parents would come in looking for books for their kids, I always ran to yours first. I read each of them so many times that the pages yellowed and tore. Unlike many others who would say that "Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing" or "Are you there God? It's me, Margaret" are absolute favorites, mine happened to be "Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself." I connected with Sally so differently than any other characters I read about.

In reading your post about updating the books, I hadn't known you'd done this. I guess I need to go purchase the newer versions so I can see what you've done. You have been a great influence in my life. I thank you for that from the bottom of my heart.
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