Title: ZENN DIAGRAM
Author: Wendy Brant
Pub. Date: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Eva Walker is a seventeen-year-old math genius. And if that doesn’t do wonders for her popularity, there’s another thing that makes it even worse: when she touches another person or anything that belongs to them — from clothes to textbooks to cell phones — she sees a vision of their emotions. She can read a person’s fears and anxieties, their secrets and loves … and what they have yet to learn about calculus. This is helpful for her work as a math tutor, but it means she can never get close to people. Eva avoids touching anyone and everyone. People think it’s because she’s a clean freak — with the emphasis on freak — but it’s all she can do to protect herself from other people’s issues.
Then one day a new student walks into Eva’s life. His jacket gives off so much emotional trauma that she falls to the floor. Eva is instantly drawn to Zenn, a handsome and soulful artist who also has a troubled home life, and her feelings only grow when she realizes that she can touch Zenn’s skin without having visions. But when she discovers the history that links them, the truth threatens to tear the two apart.
So my name alone should give you a clue that I graduated from high school when bangs were big and clothes were baggy. I went to Northwestern University and majored in journalism even though I had no desire to be a journalist. I’ve been married to a great guy for a whole drinking-aged person’s life. I’ve got two amazing and yet very different (and very tall) teenage kids. I like crappy food, pinning inspirational quotes on Pinterest, have a tendency to start paragraphs with “anyway”, and I wish I were funnier. I would love to be one of those really, REALLY funny bloggers (like Insane in the Mom-Brain) that makes you pee yourself a little bit. I am only moderately funny. I admit that. It’s one of my great sadnesses in life.
I started writing fiction when I was 10, but tried to be practical with the whole journalism thing. Didn’t take. Shortly after college, the fiction-writing desire reared its non-practical head and I’ve been writing ever since.
Anyway, I’m probably just like you. We’d probably be friends if we met in real life. (Well, let’s be honest. It’s likely that only my friends are actually reading this blog, so we probably ARE friends in real life.) But whether we are friends in real life, or just virtual friends through cyberspace, I hope you will enjoy your time here.
Check out my debut YA novel, ZENN DIAGRAM (KCP Loft 4/4/17), available for pre-order at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Target!
PLEASE WELCOME WENDY WHERE SHE DESCRIBES HER FAVORITE WRITING METHOD.
I am pretty much a pantster, with a tiny bit of planner who pokes her nose into things once in awhile. I usually get an idea and let it simmer, spending every free moment thinking about it and asking myself questions. But this usually goes on exclusively in my head. When I eventually have a more developed concept, I start writing.
For Zenn Diagram, my initial idea was simply this: a girl who can see the future meets a boy who can’t escape the past. Something about that fairly simple idea clicked with something in me, so I thought about it some more: how does she see the future? Through touch? When she touches people or when they touch her? I thought about the ramifications and how that would limit her. And I decided seeing the future is too much of a burden, but what about the past? Or even the present? Could she help people with their problems? Or try to? I thought about how teenagers don’t like being vulnerable and usually don’t want others to know that they are struggling, and how difficult it would be to tell, before touching someone, if they had a lot of issues or not. Maybe, after realizing she can’t fix people’s problems for them, she just avoids touching people to protect herself from all the unwanted information. What challenges would that present to a teenager who craves intimacy? All of these ideas started to gel in my head.
Once I had the general premise of the story – a girl who can sense people’s emotional struggles through touch, and a boy who has had a difficult life — I started writing. I usually start at the beginning with the first scene. I think with almost every story I’ve written, I’ve written the first scene first. The rest of the story might jump around a bit, but I generally go in loose chronological order, writing the most “fun” parts before tackling some of the necessary filler. I tend to write love stories, so I enjoy writing the scenes where the couple first meets, gets to know each other, feels that chemistry.
I was addicted to the TV show The Office when it first came out and I loved the slow, subtle build of Jim and Pam’s relationship. I think I try to emulate that in my work. So I write those scenes first and then I start to see some of the holes in the story and then THAT’S where I have to do a bit of planning. Timelines, questions to answer, issues that need to be addressed. I usually jot them down in a notebook or a fresh Word document. I don’t outline or plot things out in detail, but I just try to make sure that I handle issues that pop up. A lot of these notes are simply questions to myself.
What happens when…?
How does the MC handle …?
What I like about the “pants” method of writing is that I’m constantly discovering new things about my characters as I go. The lack of structure in the process leaves room for flexibility and the creative process. I feel like if I were to plan and outline everything, I might miss opportunities for the characters to reveal themselves, or the story to evolve as it needs to.
If you knew me, you’d know that in every other aspect of my life, I’m a planner. I’m a list maker. I generally don’t take risks. I like structure and organization. So it’s really strange that my writing is NOT that way. But creatively, this is what has always worked for me.
Are you a creative type? What method best works for you?
3 winners will receive a hardcover of ZENN DIAGRAM, US Only.
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