Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Dialing it Back in Time by Ann Haywood Leal

I'm not going to use the "B" word, or even the "WB" word, because I'm Irish, and inviting blockage of the writerly kind is just plain bad juju.  

So what do you do if you are having trouble accessing that middle-grade or YA voice?    And like many of us, you haven’t been that age in a really long time…
But there are some things that you never forget.  Some things stay with you forever, like . . .  

. . . your most embarrassing moments.

. . . the first time a friend betrayed you.

. . . when you first found that person who “got” you, and you knew you’d be friends forever.

. . . that time you wanted to run away from home.

. . . when you got your first crush and you couldn’t let anyone know, because you were sure that he or she didn’t feel the same way.  (Or he was looking at Sherry and her group of pretend-leather-vinyl-jacket-wearing friends, instead.)

. . . something that absolutely terrified you.

. . . something that made you deliriously happy . . .





My mother saved everything.  If you happen to have old boxes of school projects or writing or ideally, an old diary…or yearbooks or old report cards.  You might find that those middle-grade or young adult memories come rushing back—sometimes with a vengeance!  

Write the book that’s inside of you.  I think your best story comes out when you are not worried about trends or style or genre.  Don’t worry about rules or conventions. 

No matter what your intended audience or genre, I’d like to leave you with a Flannery O’Connor quote:


“I am not afraid that the book will be controversial.  I’m afraid it will not be controversial.”

1 comment:

  1. I SO agree about those old boxes. Old journals are how I got started writing my first YA!

    ReplyDelete