Tuesday, January 27, 2015

In Awe of My Co-Writer!

Thanks to Stacey, Dana, Tara, Betsy, Anna, and Beth, the amazing writers and thinkers who host the Slice of Life community every Tuesday. Everyone is welcome to join with posts or comments at twowritingteachers.wordpress.com!

I have shared with many of you that I have been working on a middle grade novel over the last few months. I have been inspired and cheered on by the wonderful writing group that I met through Two Writing Teachers. I feel so lucky to have Stacey, Margaret, Catherine, and Julie in my writing life and beyond!

The person who originally inspired my book, though, is a girl who lives in our town. When she was

ten, she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. Since then, she has undergone several surgeries, including the amputation of her left leg, as well as many rounds of chemotherapy. My book is loosely about Kelly, so when I completed the first draft of it, I shared it with her and her family. I wasn't sure how they would feel about their story being potentially out there in the world. 

They loved it. 

Our work over the last couple of months has been how to give Kelly a voice within the novel. Her mother came up with the idea of Kelly writing journal entries throughout the story. Kelly and I have been trying to find time to sit down together and map out places for entries, and today was a wonderful opportunity for us because of the snow day. We met for over two hours, reviewing the chapter sequences, the story lines, the inconsistencies of some of the medical treatments. I walked away with a few new chapters that I need to write (I thought I was done...), and Kelly has several journal entries to work on.

Regardless of what happens with this project, her sense of purpose and commitment to our writing blows me away, and I am honored to share the writing of this novel with her. I would not wish the experiences that Kelly has endured on anyone, but she has a story that she wants to tell and people whom she wants to honor. I hope that many people get to read it one day.

Happy writing,


  1. Wow! What a truly beautiful story, Melanie! Not just the story you are writing, but the story behind it. I hope to read your book some day :-)

  2. Bravo to both of you - Kelly for living with such bravery, and you for paying homage to her.

  3. Oh, Melanie, what a great slice about your productive writing. I can't wait to hear and see more! <3

  4. Wow, Melanie, how wonderful is this idea & that you're pushing through to do it well, with this young woman by your side. What a lovely thing you are both doing.

  5. Oh, Melanie - this gave me the goosebumps! What a beautiful collaboration. Really. Can't wait to read it!

  6. What a joy to tell this young girl's story through your novel and to collaborate with her and her family. I can't wait to read it someday and say, I heard about it first on SOL Tuesday!

  7. I love that you and Kelly are co-writing this story. I think the idea of journal entries is a great way to get her voice into the book. This sounds like a book my middle schoolers will love!

  8. This must be a powerful healing experience for Kelly. You are doing a wonderful thing for her. I am so proud of you and your amazing commitment to this project. Carry on!