What SKINNY Taught Me About Writing

Like Katherine, I will never forget the first moment that Donna read from those first few pages of SKINNY.  I don't think those pages have changed much from the original draft to the published book. They were pretty much perfect, and Katy and I immediately knew it.

Before I knew anything about the plot, I knew that SKINNY was the one.  Why?  Because I cared what happened to Ever from the first page.  The first paragraph.  The first line.  Donna had tapped into something so personal, so moving and so damn relateable that I would have followed Ever anywhere.

A few months later, the Muses were at our first writing retreat, and we were talking about our next projects and sharing scenes we had written.  I don't know if Donna was having second thoughts about SKINNY, but she had another project she was thinking of writing, and she wanted our opinion on which project she should focus on.  Now Donna is a talented writer, and the other project was good, but we all felt very strongly that SKINNY was the book Donna had to write.  I don't know how to explain it, but I felt that story.  And I think Donna did too.  Which might be why she had second thoughts about writing it.  Because to write that story, Donna would have to slice open a vein and bleed on the page. 

Of course, Donna did write SKINNY, and I still remember the weekend she sent over the manuscript.  I tore into it, reading it from cover to cover in a one sitting. SKINNY was funny and uplifting and it made me cry in all the best ways.  But more than that, it made me think.

It made me think about how I'd let my own version of Skinny keep me from going after things that I wanted.  SKINNY was more than a story about a girl who takes control of her weight- it was a story of something far more universal, a story of a girl who takes control of herself, a story of inner transformation. Of silencing self doubt.  Of daring to dream. It was a book that spoke to my heart, because it came directly from Donna's.

And that's what SKINNY taught me about writing.  Bleed on the page.  Tell the story that only you can tell.  The characters and plot might be fiction, but the feelings, the feelings have to be real.

SKINNY is a special book, and I am so thrilled to share it with the world.

 [Pictures courtesy of Nancy from The Ravenous Reader]


KCHeld and I were just talking about this - how the heart of Donna's book just reaches out and grabs you!

I just ordered this book. I've heard such fantastic things about it all summer and watched the BEA videos, too. Your posts about the book are so lovely and meaningful. Thank you.

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