THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED.

The deadline for this giveaway was 11:59 P.M. (Eastern Time) on April 5, 2013. Keep reading to learn more about Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool. Subscribe at the top of this page to get updates on our Read It First giveaways.

The Crossroads of Craft and Creativity
By Clare Vanderpool, author of Navigating Early

Flannery O’Connor says – “The writer operates at a peculiar crossroads where time and place and eternity somehow meet. His problem is to find that location.”

One way those crossroads can be described is the intersection of craft and creativity. Craft – skills that can be learned, refined, and passed on. Creativity – the ability to bring something into being through artistic or imaginative effort. So one is more tangible, practical, acquired the other is more elusive, ethereal, interior.

In my early days of writing, I didn’t know which road to venture down first. I remember my initial attempts at putting pen to paper were more like putting a hammer and chisel to granite. I felt every chunk of rock hit the floor with a painful thud. The road of creativity was mysterious and scary – so subjective. But craft – it seemed a little more sure and I could at least start down that path. I could begin writing. I could study craft – voice, plot, character, conflict. Explore the mechanics of setting, scene, tempo, pacing. Dabble in dialogue, point of view, layering, foreshadowing.

But that road only takes a writer so far. Eventually we have to venture down the road of creativity. I’m sure every writer would describe creativity in different ways but for me, the closest thing I can compare it to is seeing for the first time, something wonderful, or special, or unique that happens in my story or that my character does that I feel like I didn’t have a part in. It’s not something I thought up, it’s more something that just came about in spite of my efforts to control. Something created out of the story itself. It’s a beautiful thing and can really take my breath away.

So both roads are important. But the sweetspot is the crossroads itself: where craft and creativity meet. Where the writer is on a sturdy mount and can loosen the reins on plot, character, and conflict and lets the creative process breathe life into the bones of the story.

Those roads of craft and creativity can take us on great adventures but they can also get us lost if we don’t know what we are about. In our writing journey we can be so focused on those roads of craft and creativity, but sometimes we need to raise our heads and look up, to get our bearings and see what surrounds us.

I think that is the challenge Flannery O’Connor speaks of, finding that place where time and place and eternity meet. And for me that place is always in story.

Do you read YA? Tell us about another bestselling YA book – or a little-known favorite – that you’ve read!

  • http://www.facebook.com/sexymullatto1 Karen Hunter

    This is a wonderful giveaway thanks a lot

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000109644979 Shannon Orton

    I would love to read this!

  • fletchnj

    I think YA literature is the most underappreciated genre out there. PLEASE feature more YA books/authors in your Read It Forward giveaways. I can’t wait to read this book from Clare Vanderpool!

    • http://www.readitforward.com/ Kira, editor @ Read It Forward

      Fletch, I totally agree! Some of the most thought-provoking, page turning books I’ve read are YA. We will feature more of them! Have you read THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH? Gives me chills just thinking about it!

  • julie barrett

    i just read book 2 of Feyland and then and ordered the other 2 in the series. it’s YA and i loved reading about the game. Author is Anthea Sharp. Thanks for the chance, Julie

    • http://www.readitforward.com/ Kira, editor @ Read It Forward

      Thanks for the recommendation, Julie! I love reading YA, too.

  • CJB

    Sounds amazing. Can’t wait it read. RIF has exposed me to such great books and authors.

    • http://www.readitforward.com/ Kira, editor @ Read It Forward

      That’s why we’re here, CJB! We’re so glad you’re here, too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/RebeccaMaurineFreemanFloyd Rebecca Floyd

    This is gonna be one I share with the boys!

    • http://www.readitforward.com/ Kira, editor @ Read It Forward

      Rebecca, we’re giving away copies now with the hope that some of the winners will read it with their kids, maybe for a special Mother’s Day book club. It’s such a great boy book (girls, too!). Good luck to you!

  • becky

    would love to read this book

  • PBC

    We always liked hiking through the woods and often wondered how it would be to actually go the Appalachian Trail route. Perhaps we could with this book!

    • http://www.readitforward.com/ Kira, editor @ Read It Forward

      PBC, my husband hiked the Appalachian Trail for two months – I read him passages from this book and he said it was spot on!

  • http://www.facebook.com/anjanette.hook Anjanette Hadley Hook

    Chance to read a good book!!!! Looking at finding new YA books for teens at my library!!!

    • http://www.readitforward.com/ Kira, editor @ Read It Forward

      Cool, Anjanette. Do you work at the library?

  • http://www.facebook.com/tracy.pelletier.5 Tracy Pelletier

    Sounds like a great book! My daughter would love to read this! thanks for bringing it to my attention!

    • http://www.readitforward.com/ Kira, editor @ Read It Forward

      You’re welcome, Tracy! It really is a great read. I loved it and so did my niece!

  • http://www.facebook.com/randelyn Randelyn Trapp

    I am looking forward to reading this. I think it’s a great idea to read it with my boss too.

    • http://www.readitforward.com/ Kira, editor @ Read It Forward

      Who’s your boss, Randelyn? Just curious why this would be a good fit.

  • http://twitter.com/GrrrrD Deb Grandy

    A good book is a gift everyday!

    • http://www.readitforward.com/ Kira, editor @ Read It Forward

      Love it, Deb. I think I just found tomorrow’s Facebook post!

    • http://www.readitforward.com/ Kira, editor @ Read It Forward

      Deb, your quote is posted to RIF FB! Share with your friends: http://on.fb.me/XrKf6F

  • http://twitter.com/aceteacher Liz

    I love YA books still. I am a teacher so I like to read what my students are reading and share great books with them!

    • http://www.readitforward.com/ Kira, editor @ Read It Forward

      Great, Liz! This one really is extraordinary. What age do you teach?

  • G. Alexander

    Would love to win!

  • http://www.facebook.com/sabrina.taylor.77985 Sabrina Taylor

    I love books and books that I win are the best kind. Would love to read this book. Keeping fingers crossed.

  • Renee Fowler

    I am 37 and still read YA….

  • HollyG

    This looks like a great book – I would love to share it with the high school students at the school where I’m the librarian.

  • http://www.facebook.com/suzette.gacek Suzette Gacek

    You’ve gotta love YA just for the sheer angst of it!

    • http://www.readitforward.com/ Kira, editor @ Read It Forward

      Suzette, that’s so true! Ha.

  • Stephanie O.

    I’m 41 and I still love to read YA novels. I was a teacher and school counselor, but have always been a book “nut” and have accumulated my own collection of kids books & YA novels! I’d love to read this book with my daughters, and could bring back the bedtime reading tradition we have let slide lately. I LOVED Harry Potter, and before that Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli. Also liked all the Princess Diaries books, and a really cool book I found browsing in the children’s dept. at the library called Tuesdays at the Castle (I think that’s the title).

    • http://www.readitforward.com/ Kira, editor @ Read It Forward

      I loved Harry Potter, too, Stephanie. I don’t know Maniac Magee, but I will look it up. Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Janet-Barnes/100000738878253 Janet Barnes

    One of the best YA series I ave read is The Tiger Curse series by Colleen Houck. These books got my dyslexic daughter looking forward to reading.

    • http://www.readitforward.com/ Kira, editor @ Read It Forward

      Thanks so much, Janet. I’m always looking for books to intrigue my husband’s 10-year-old daughter, who’s not much of a reader. I’ll check out that series!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1280194216 Cherei J McCarter

    Sounds very fascinating!

  • http://profiles.google.com/buffisan Elizabeth Towns

    I am 40something and I love to read YA with my own daughter. I read the one’s I have read and loved, and we share new finds together. We just read Tayari Jones Silver Sparrow together, and are looking for our next adventure in reading. She’s not googoo over books like I am but she is bonkers over sharing them with me!

    • http://www.readitforward.com/ Kira, editor @ Read It Forward

      Elizabeth, thanks for the suggestion! How old is your daughter? I’m always trying to find books to get my husband’s daughter excited about reading – she’s 10.

  • http://twitter.com/Hallie_Sawyer Hallie Sawyer

    My kids would love this book! This is exactly the type of book we love to sit down and read together…and just in time for summer vacation!

    • http://www.readitforward.com/ Kira, editor @ Read It Forward

      Just in time for a special Mother’s Day Book Club, too, Hallie! What a fun way to spend the afternoon on your day: talking about a great book with the kids!

  • Amanda D

    A great read for everyone!

  • http://www.facebook.com/carol.conerly Carol Conerly

    WOULD LOVE TO READY THIS BOOK

  • adminofficer

    I haven’t read many YA books but I read all the reviews to purchase books for my granddaughter.

  • Sandra Ryan

    Thank you Random House. I finally received this today. I can’t wait to read it and I’ll share my enjoyment when I’m finished.