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Thursday, January 15, 2015

J. E.Taylor: The writing process through the eyes of a teen

Did ewe know... watching The Walking Dead with a twelve-year-old might not be the most prudent thing to do as a parent?

My son and I have always had a kinship with weird, superhero type television shows, after all, he grew up watching Smallville and Supernatural with me, so when he asked if we could watch The Walking Dead, I thought what the heck, we both like scary movies, how bad can a television show be?

After five minutes of us staring at the television in wide-eyed shock, I reconsidered. That was clearly not a show for kids and when I switched the channel, he didn’t argue. He’s never asked to watch it again.

One day, as we were taking the long walk into York Village so he could get his girlfriend a birthday gift, he sheepishly asked if I might want to write a book with him. I asked him what his idea was, fully expecting it to be a carbon copy of all the Percy Jackson books he had just read, but boy was I surprised. While the influence of those adventures was obvious, the premise was different and damn good.

We strolled slowly and I asked a metric-ton of questions, making him think and adjust and firm up a pretty decent outline for the series. Forming the story arc was the easy part. Getting into a thirteen-year-old’s mindset is a completely different experience.

My son had no idea how complicated writing a compelling story was. His idea was basically a string of events with no emotional punch. When I explained he had to engage the senses and let the reader experience the character’s feelings instead of telling them everything, it got real interesting.

In one of the early scenes of the book, Nick, the main character kisses his girlfriend’s cheek. As we were writing this scene, I turned to my son and asked:

“What did she smell like?”
To which my son’s eyebrows rose and he shrugged with that ‘why you asking me’ look that only a thirteen-year-old can deliver.

“Seriously, what did her hair smell like?”

“I don’t know. I don’t go around school smelling girl's hair.” His exasperation was clear. This wasn't what he wanted to be talking to his mother about.

“Maybe you should,” I said and that earned a laugh.

“Writing is more than just giving the visual cues or just sequence of events. You need to engage all the senses.” I’m not sure the lesson got across through his laughter, but I persisted, changing the subject to something even more uncomfortable. “What did he feel like when he kissed her?”
I’m not sure how long he laughed and I worked hard not to join him. I kept a straight face waiting for his hysterics to end. When he finally wound down, I invited him to think about how he physically reacted when he kisses his girlfriend.
As you can imagine, that question didn’t go over well. I think the boy turned every imaginable shade of red, but it got him thinking. After a while, and quite a bit of prodding on my part, he came up with some very good descriptions.

If you want to find out what’s in the mind of a thirteen-year-old, check out Don’t Fear the Reaper - the first book in our Death Chronicles trilogy.
only $.99

Thanks for letting me hang here!
The Ryan Chronicles Trilogy (The Ryan Chronicles #1-3)
by J.E. Taylor
The Ryan Chronicles Trilogy includes Saving Grace, Raven Heart and Trinity's Wrath:

The Ryan Chronicles – Book 1
When CJ Ryan's girlfriend decides life is less complicated without him, CJ travels a destructive path into despair, walking the line between what's right and what feels good. But what feels good is a dangerous slope to travel, especially when Lucifer wages war for his soul.

One wrong step and CJ could fall into the devil's trap, becoming no better than the demons he battles.

The Ryan Chronicles Book 2
CJ Ryan still can’t remembered a thing about his past, but he is determined to have a future with Valerie. Despite his lack of memory, he finds himself ensnared in the cutthroat world of entertainment whether he wants it or not. The push into the spotlight shines a harsh glare on his family and brings with it a plague of horrors that drag him to the edge.

With the darkness of the past threatening, CJ turns to his brother looking for answers, but when an enemy with a psychotic history re-enters their lives, it will take more than just his memory to save them.

The Ryan Chronicle's Book 3
CJ Ryan's life seems to have fallen into place, and while the backdrop of his Hawaiian honeymoon provides the perfect healing elixir, the guilt of sentencing his father to an eternity of torture at Lucifer's hands starts to intrude on his happily-ever-after.

When he and Valerie return from Hawaii, a note from the king of hell greets him, outlining in sickening detail his plans for CJ and those he holds dearest.

With everyone he loves on Lucifer's hit list, CJ must start living up to the bargain he made in Heaven, but every one of Hell's gates he closes is one less portal available for his father's escape.

About the Author:
J.E. Taylor is a writer, a publisher, an editor, a manuscript formatter, a mother, a wife and a business analyst, not necessarily in that order. She first sat down to seriously write in February of 2007 after her daughter asked:

“Mom, if you could do anything, what would you do?”

From that moment on, she hasn’t looked back and now her writing resume includes six+ published novels along with several short stories on the virtual shelves including a few within eXcessica anthologies.

In addition to being co-owner of Novel Concept Publishing (www.novelconceptpublishing), Ms. Taylor also moonlights as a Senior Editor of Allegory (, an online venue for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. She has been known to edit a book or two and also offers her services judging writing contests for various RWA chapters.

She lives in Connecticut with her husband and two children and during the summer months enjoys her weekends on the shore in southern Maine.


  1. I always say a book club with your kids is a parent's best move. But THIS kind of "book club" is a great idea!

    1. Thank you, Steph. It was the most fun I've had writing anything and I really learned more than I ever wanted to know about a thirteen-year-old's psyche.

  2. Love this - what a wonderful thing for you and your son to do together! And I can just picture the scene when you were asking him those "kissing" questions! Best of luck to you both!

    1. Thank you, Margaret. It was a once in a lifetime experience for both of us. I'm very glad we have the kind of relationship where those questions didn't send him running for the hills.

  3. Wow! What a lovely thing to share with your son, very cool…hope the books are a tremendous success! I may have to interview him on my site for ya fantasy..etc…thx for sharing..cheers!