Challenge yourself: write in a different genre

My son Joshua, finally loves reading

Okay, this was a holiday week and that meant very limited writing time with my 8 year old home.  It was also the week I decided to challenge myself (and I don’t mean finding new ways to protect my stomach muscles when “Play with me mommy” precedes a full-on launched tackle by an 80 lb. boy – see him there —>.)

No, it was the week I took a risk and put aside my new suspense novel to write middle grade. And not just write a children’s book at whim, but take a class on writing a Young Adult Novel in 9 Months with Jonathan Maberry and Marie Lamba. A class with homework, deadlines, and peers to be accountable to with my writing and theirs. (classmates, I swear I will review your work this week and upload mine!)

Write YA? I knew nothing about YA. Just who are these YA’s anyways? My son is short a few years. What angst does a 12 year old boy have? What are his thoughts, his fears, and his random thoughts?

I wasn’t sure but damned if I wouldn’t find out. I soon found myself gorging on some good stuff (The Lightning Thief, The Youngest Templar, The Magnificent 12, The Magic Thief) and some not so favorite stuff (Spyderwick Chronicles, Lemony Snicket) and was like WOW – I want to be 12 again (maybe) and a boy (a former therapist pointed that out already).

I scrambled to come up with a book idea and quickly became entranced with creating my plot, chapter outline, other worlds, characters….umm…but at some point I knew I would actually have to start writing in that 12 year old boy’s voice.

But wait, again…. What POV do these books I like have? I had only written before in third  person. I quickly found out that first person POV for YA/MG has a distinct advantage. Why? It’s more personal and about the main character (and I sure know that with kids it’s all about them).  Not sure what age that ends but I think it has something to do with becoming a parent.

I realized I liked certain books because they were written in the first person POV and drew me in right away. I was them. I was in their head, their world. (Oh, to be 12 again…and then skip 13-18).

And ACTION. 12 year old boys want action. Chasing, running, hiding, transforming, kicking butt, conquering the bad dude. No getting bogged down in descriptive prose and relationship blah-blah-blah. What fun!

I had found something new. Something I have fun writing. And my son is eating it up. And if writing isn’t fun AND challenging, why do it?

Are you challenging yourself to write something new you never did before?

What’s your new beginning? And so I began….

I was 12 the summer that lightning stole my best friend. Lightning. Pretty amazing stuff, you say, right? Sure, if you’re from this world and don’t know any better like everyone else. But not me.

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Filed under Writing Resources, Young Adult

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