A Writer's Harvest by Irene Latham

So, harvest. We writers are constantly harvesting, aren't we?

Last month at a writing intensive with author Candice Ransom on writing middle grade novels and easy readers, Candice made the argument for Place (as opposed to the more common “character” or “plot”) as a starting point for stories. During her talk, I realized that the one thing all my wide array of writings (adult poetry, children's poetry, children's historical novels, children's contemporary, children's fantasy) have in common is a strong sense of PLACE.

Candice gave us a series of prompts to help us get to know our places and to find answers for character and plot by using place. One that really stuck with me was this one: “When is your place most itself?” It makes sense to set your story during this time. Lo and behold, I realized I had done this when writing my middle grade works.

LEAVING GEE'S BEND – set in Gee's Bend, Alabama, during the peak of the cotton harvest (November)

DON'T FEED THE BOY – set in a central Alabama zoo, during the peak season for zoos: summer

DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST – set at an African water hole during Wildebeest migration season, when water holes are still present, but dwindling

DESERT FISH – set in Death Valley National Park during the hottest month: July

UNTITLED WIP – set in a Florida citrus grove during harvest time: Fall

And currently, this November, I am busy harvesting words for NANOWRIMO on that untitled wip!

Happy Harvesting to all my Writer Friends. :)


  1. A strong setting can absolutely make a book. Happy NANOWRIMO!

  2. Irene,
    Thank you for reminding us how central a setting can be to our stories. Happy Harvesting to you!

  3. I love Candice Ransom! What a fabulous line to think about: "When is your place most itself?" YES!


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