Meet Marissa Shrock

Meet Marissa Shrock

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Drawing for Marissa’s Novel, The First Principle.

See my review of her novel at:

 Marissa Shrock HeadshotMarissa Shrock is a language arts teacher who enjoys working with her seventh grade students. Her young adult novel, The First Principle, will debut in January from Kregel Publications. She graduated from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, and has completed the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Apprentice, Journeyman, and Craftsman courses. Marissa is a member of ACFW.

What inspired you to write this novel? Where did the idea come from?

I learned from reading my students’ persuasive essays that many teenagers have strong pro-life views. One day I began to wonder, What if a society required pregnant teenage girls to get abortions? What would happen if the girls didn’t comply? From there I developed a dystopian society that would create such a law. In the book the characters refer to abortion as termination, and it is used for population control.

What was you toughest challenge in writing this novel?         

The toughest challenge was making sure my main character’s pregnancy timeline worked out properly in the plot.

Tell us about your writing schedule. How do you make the time to write?

I write mostly on Saturdays. During the school year, I use days off to write, and summers are the best time for me to get manuscripts finished. When I have a deadline, I write in the evenings. I’m not a morning person.

Are you an outliner or seat-of-the-pants writer? What makes your method work for you?

I’m more of a seat-of-the-pants writer, but I believe plot structure is very important. I write a first draft, and then I Marissa Shrock covermake adjustments so the story escalates properly. I think this method works for me because it gives me a chance to discover the story as I write.

 How do you edit?

I write multiple drafts until I think the story feels right and keeps me interested. Then I check details and make sure the dialogue sounds good. Reading aloud is helpful. Then I look for mistakes and unnecessary words. I print a draft because sometimes it is easier to spot mistakes on paper than it is on a screen.

What are the top three craft books you would recommend to a beginning writer?

 1.) Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell

2.) Story Trumps Structure by Steven James

3.) Fiction Writing Demystified by Thomas B. Sawyer

I realize the first two books seem to contradict each other, but often beginning writers don’t know what kind of writers they will be or what works for them. I’m still learning what works for me! Knowing the basics of plot structure is important, and Bell’s book emphasizes this. James’s book stresses not being a slave to structure. I like Sawyer’s book because he wrote for television and gives good tips on dialogue.

What would you say to an aspiring writer?

Ask God to show you his will for your life and follow it without worrying about where others are on their writing journeys. Everybody’s publication story is a little different.

Thank you, Marissa, for sharing your story with us today.

Readers, remember to join the conversation. Leave a comment and be entered into a drawing for a free copy of Marissa’s book.

2 Responses to Meet Marissa Shrock

  1. Brandon January 26, 2015 at 4:24 pm #

    This book looks very interesting- Is the contest still open? Is so, I would like to enter! Great interview!

  2. Diane Bohannan January 27, 2015 at 4:57 pm #

    Thanks for this wonderful interview, Henry! I enjoyed reading about your writing process, Marissa. Your book sounds amazing!

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