The Writing Processes of Theodore Taylor and Jane Yolen

Publication Year:
1989

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Repository URL:
https://commons.und.edu/theses/840
Author(s):
Stevenson, Jean Myers
Tags:
Psychology
thesis / dissertation description
This study is a description of the writing processes of two professional writers for children and young adults, Theodore Taylor and Jane Yolen. Theories concerning the writing process and implications for classroom use, as expressed by Cowley, Smith, Murray, Flower and Hayes, Graves, and Calkins, are the basis for an examination of the working papers for Taylor's The Cay and Rocket Island and Yolen's The Bird of Time and The Sultan's Perfect Tree which have been donated to the Kerlan Collection at the University of Minnesota. The working papers include notes, drafts, revisions, galley and foundry proofs, and correspondence, although the available material varies from author to author and book to book. Articles and books each writer has published were also examined and interviews were conducted. The paper were examined based upon the authors' reports of their writing processes: what served as the inspiration, how the manuscripts emerged, how and when they revised, what the role the editor played, and how the writers viewed their completed works. Emergent themes were identified which provided a way to compare the two writers' processes. The papers for each book were examined by describing how the characters were introduced and developed, how the passage of time was handled, how description was used, and how the author used intrigue. Taylor's and Yolen's writing processes are complex and convoluted, reflecting their backgrounds, interests, and personal beliefs. Writing is viewed as an evolutionary apprenticeship--with no one writer ever becoming an "expert." New ideas are constantly being explored, information and insights acquired, and confidence in the writing process enlarged. Classroom implications reflect the need to accept diversity, individual interests and needs, to allow for sustained writing time, and to encourage teachers themselves to write, becoming collaborators with their students.