The Story Comes First

T sunsetIf I had to point to one piece of writing advice that upon which my work is built, it would be the fervent words of children’s author Jane Yolen.  She had just finished a lecture on the importance of addressing faith questions in books for kids, despite the fact that the primary book-buyers are public schools and public libraries, when a member of the audience challenged her: Shouldn’t writers be accountable to those who buy the books? Yolen got angry. “All writers are accountable to three things, in this order: First we’re accountable to the story. Second we’re accountable to ourselves. Only lastly are we accountable to our audience.”

So many of us jumble these priorities! (more…)