Shelle Sumnersis creating novels and screenplays and theater and . . .
Select a membership level
GENERAL SUPPORTER AND CAT LOVER
Want to be generally supportive but don’t anticipate having time to read my stuff? No hurt feelings here! You’ve bought my elderly cats a couple of meals and therefore have my eternal gratitude!
JUST THE BLOG, MA'AM!
At this level you’ll have access to my monthly blog, where I will talk about writing BECK and other things that interest and inspire me. There will also be pictures of my elderly cats and perhaps an occasional photo of something I attempted to cook.
Thanks so much for your support!
THE GOOD STUFF
You will be able to read my monthly post of my unedited, work-in-progress BECK scenes/chapters/chunks and my notes about the writing, and you’ll also have access to my monthly blog.
Thank you for supporting creativity! You rock!
About Shelle Sumners
I am Shelle Sumners, and I’m an author (more on that in a moment), a full-time editor (aka Clarity Enforcer), a wife (of a musically gifted and very nice man), a mom (of a talented daughter and two elderly cats), and a knitter (not the genius-designer/Instagram empire-building type of knitter. I’m the type who knits for meditation and personal sanity and has way too many scarves in a box in my closet).
I’m excited to be on Patreon and also kind of nervous about what I’m proposing to do in this space. BECAUSE HAVE I LOST MY EVER-LOVING MIND? Perhaps!
I’m going to write the first draft of my next novel here—in all its inevitably awkward, awesome, and fledgling glory. And I’m inviting you to come along for the read.
Why am I doing this, you ask?
I like the adventure/challenge aspect of writing a novel out loud. Dare I write badly where people can see it? I’ve pondered this a lot, and yes, I think that I do dare. I am willing to try, and fail, and let supportive people in on that process. I like the idea of sharing what writing a novel from scratch looks like. I know that I would be very into watching someone who has had some success at novel writing do that.
And: I love the idea of being part of a community of kind and interesting people who want to support creativity and help keep it alive in the world. I’ve already become a patron of several other creators here—writers and musicians and artists—and I plan to add more. Because we’re living in a time when the old ways of surviving as a creator are not working so well.
As I mentioned up top, I work as an editor. I work full-time days, forty hours a week. This means that I write my novels and screenplays and plays in the evenings and on the weekends. But my ability to sustain this schedule radically changed when our daughter graduated from college and the time came to start paying the Parent PLUS Loan we took out for her education. Perhaps you’ve seen in the news that COLLEGE COSTS TOO MUCH. Even though our gifted girl was given a lot of money in grants and merit scholarships, my husband and I still have a hefty loan payment that is due, monthly, for the next fifteen years. It’s a strain, and we’ve realized that we need to start doing extra work to make ends meet. For me, this would mean freelance editing, which I would have to do in the evenings and on weekends. And that would leave no time for my novel writing and other creative writing endeavors.
So I started thinking about Patreon: What if a number of people were willing to make a small monthly contribution that would cumulatively enable me to write my own stories in my spare time rather than edit things that other people have written? I’ve certainly had a lot of readers of my novel Grace Grows get in touch via my website or my Facebook page and ask me when another book is coming out. Maybe they’d be interested in watching me write one and maybe even be willing to give me feedback.
It could also be cool to connect with other writers through sharing my process.
Maybe, I thought, I can ask people to join me in a virtual community centered on creativity and help me keep on writing my stories.
I am excited to tell you about this.
I had a blast writing Grace Grows. It was so much fun. I set out to write a story that was romantic, funny, and touching, and I think I achieved those goals. I know that I did. Grace Grows was published by St. Martin’s Press and Random House (audiobook) in the United States and was also published in Germany, the UK, and Australia. It was a Book of the Month Club book. It also has a soundtrack album of incredible songs that are in the story (as lyrics) and were written, produced, and recorded by my phenomenally talented husband, Broadway actor and singer-songwriter Lee Morgan. (Get a quick taste of the beauty of the soundtrack in this book trailer that was created by my German publisher, Fischer Verlag.)
While I was writing Grace Grows, I became aware that a secondary, compelling character had her own story that needed telling. I made a lot of notes but set them aside because first I had to finish writing Grace Grows and then I had another, entirely different, labor-intensive novel (tons of historical research) that I had to write. That book is now, finally, just about finished. (Please send good vibes!)
So I have gotten out those tucked-away notes and am ready to begin telling the story of Beck, Tyler Wilkie’s wild and unpredictable twin sister. Yes, Grace Grows readers, Grace and Ty are definitely in this new book!
This first draft will be tentatively or perhaps boldly called
I will post at least twice a month here on Patreon. One monthly post will include the latest chapter/chunk of BECK that I have written. The other post will be my Patreon-exclusive blog, where I will talk about the process of writing BECK and other things that interest and inspire me. I will also likely share pictures of my elderly cats. Because you need to experience their feline perfection.
Depending on the patron tier you select, you will have access to some or all of the above and EVEN MORE! (I’m actively figuring this out, but EVEN MORE may include . . . bonus scenes I’ve written? Excerpts from other stories I have written or am writing [including my new, nearly finished novel]? Awkward videos of me talking about writing? [Um, let me think about that.] Something musical from my husband? News/updates on the further development of Grace Grows? [Yes, things are brewing. . . .]) Anything is possible!
IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW:
I will probably write BECK mostly in sequential order. But sometimes I get an idea for a scene that will come later in the story, and I just have to go with that and get it down. If I give you something out-of-sequence to read, I’ll include some context to minimize confusion.
Perhaps the most important thing to know is that this draft of BECK will be a SHITTY FIRST DRAFT. If you’re a writer, you may be familiar with Anne Lamott’s concept of the shitty first draft from her life-changing book about writing, Bird by Bird. It is essential that I allow myself to risk writing badly. Or write material that ends up going nowhere or just misses the mark somehow (whatever “the mark” is—eventually I’ll begin to know). I am okay with that, and my patrons have to be okay with it. Because this is how a novel gets done. I will write a lot of good, usable stuff to take forward into Draft 2, and I will write things that will ultimately be discarded and perhaps gratefully forgotten as I refine this story. I’m starting with some strong and, I believe, entertaining ideas, but they’re all subject to change.
If you haven’t yet read Grace Grows, you might want to, for background about Rebecca Wilkie and others in this new story I’ll be telling. But I’m going to start this whole shebang off with a post that will give some of the necessary information—a bit of a Grace Grows primer. I will not be able to entirely avoid spoilers, though. So if you’re planning to read Grace Grows, go ahead and get on it! I encourage you to enhance your reading experience by listening to the Grace Grows soundtrack of amazing original songs, written and recorded by kickass singer-songwriter Lee Morgan (who enlisted the help of some incredible Philly, New York, and Nashville musicians who have played with Sting, Earth Wind & Fire, Alicia Keys, Amos Lee, and many other greats). You can find song samples and MP3s of the songs and the album in these places: Amazon || iTunes || Google Play || CD Baby.
Something else you should know: Like Grace Grows, BECK will have some adult content. I wouldn’t necessarily call it NSFW—I will not provide shocking visuals—but there will be adult language and some sexual situations in the excerpts that I post. They will be tastefully described and not gratuitous but an inherent part of this story that I’m telling. So, FYI. And . . . enjoy!
And finally: This is a community. I welcome your feedback and encourage you to comment in helpful ways on what I post. Let me know you’re here with me! (You may want to get the Patreon app for your phone; it’s a good way to communicate and keep up with what’s going on here.)
Okay. Here I go. I’m writing!