Lara Willard

Hi, I’m Lara, and I like to surround myself with banned literature.

And apart from my domestic duties as a full-time mom, I spend a lot of time reading, writing, editing, and geeking out. Read more about my experiences below.

(TL;DR? Just follow me on Twitter, where I’m not as longwinded, and on my blog, where I’m more resourceful)

Reading

I was hugely into the Encyclopedia Brown books as a child. Then I read Number the Stars by Lois Lowry, and I couldn’t get enough historical fiction and nonfiction. I went through phases. One year I was all about civil rights, reading biographies on Lincoln and Harriet Tubman and Rosa Parks. One year I had an intense Titanic obsession. (Don’t mention James Cameron to me. It might induce a rage.) Another year it was ancient Egypt (I do love the first two Mummy movies, though.) Do you remember the Dear America and Princess Diaries books? I loved the Titanic and Cleopatra diaries.

I didn’t read fantasy until high school. In eighth grade, I hadn’t even heard of The Lord of the Rings until Fellowship of the Ring was available on Pay-Per-View. My mom said I wouldn’t like it. Fast forward to freshman year, when it was on Starz. I watched it straight through, and then I watched it seven more times that weekend. The next month, I saw The Two Towers in theaters, and the month after that, I read the trilogy. Throughout high school, I went on a fantasy reading binge and discovered C.S. Lewis and Neil Gaiman.

I loved reading so much, and I did so well in my high school lit classes, I went to college as a literature major. I quickly learned that I only wanted to read what wanted to read. And while I love solid writing, I like genre fiction. In 2010, I graduated with an interdisciplinary degree in the fields of literature, writing, and graphic design.

Writing

I never wanted to be a writer as a child. I wanted to be a goalie in the NHL or a marine biologist. Growing up in the desert but the damper on those goals, so I figured I’d pursue acting. That’s a viable career, right?

Acting led to script writing.

Script writing led to comics.

English classes led to writing poetry and short stories.

And in 2007, in my Intro to Fiction class in college, I got an idea that I’d eventually wrangle into WORLD SONG, the novel for which I’m currently seeking representation.

Editing

I’ve been a grammar geek for a looong time. My first TA job was in 2005, and I’ve been a “certified” grammar geek since 2007, when I completed Advanced Grammar: Syntax in college. The following two years, I was TA for that class, grading papers and creating the tests. I’ve been freelance editing since 2009, for business writing, poetry, fiction, and graphic novels. In 2012, I started my blog Write Lara Write and began coaching writers online.

I led a team of proofreaders and copyedited Lora Innes’ graphic novel The Dreamer: The Battle of Harlem Heights in 2013, and now I’m apprenticing under former Marvel editor Nicole Boose to get even more experience in the field.

Every Friday on my blog, I post a book review and writing exercise, cycling through picture books, graphic novels, and novels for middle grade, young adult, and adult audiences. On the third Wednesday of the month, I post a query workshop.

My most popular series on my blog are The 8 C’s of Plotting and my three-part lesson in Point of View. Think of it as Fiction 101, with plenty of free resources and worksheets on plot, character, and even getting published.

My Twitter account @LaraEdits is 100% writing and editing advice. If you’re on Twitter, follow me there!

Geeking Out

I’m a major geek. Check out my new Pinterest profile to see what I’m into. (Be patient. My personal account has over thirteen thousand pins! I’m slowly curating my favorites over at this new account.)

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