A presenter at my local SCBWI meeting shared this insight from a recent writing conference she attended: Write what you think you cant. This phrase has resonated with me since I attended that meeting about two months ago. Ive been searching for ways to challenge myself with my writing, but have been scared to venture too far outside of my comfort zone. (For those of you new to my blog, my comfort zone consists of writing horsey picture books!) I started thinking, what do I wish I could write but think that I cannot? This person, who after all is a professional in the industry, is giving me permission to try it. I mean, its practically an order: WRITE WHAT YOU THINK YOU CANT!
So between you and me, I really want to write a Middle Grade and/or Young Adult novel. Im not sure I can do it. I guess that means Im going to give it a try. Dont worry, Ive been doing my research before diving in on this 40,000 word odyssey. I just finished reading Writing Irresistible Kidlit, by Mary Kole. I highly recommend this book to anyone considering venturing into the world of writing for tweens and teens. It is incredibly comprehensive, covering the kidlit market, foundations of storytelling, character, plot and structure, voice, imagery, and even gives advice on finding an agent and/or publisher. My fellow MG and YA writers have helped me compile a list of several other resources for anyone seeking to write successfully for the middle grade and young adult audience. Here it is, in no particular order:
* Writing Irresistible Kidlit, by Mary Kole
* Save the Cat, by Blake Snyder
* Second Sight, by Cheryl Klein
* Chapter After Chapter, by Heather Sellers
* Page After Page, by Heather Sellers
* The Novelists Notebook, by Laurie Henry
* From the Mixed-Up Files
* Writing and Selling Middle Grade Fiction Writers Digest Shop
My new adventure in writing does not mean that Im going to stop writing picture books (horsey or otherwise). In fact, Im still going strong with Julie Hedlunds 1212 Challenge. Ive completed 10 picture book drafts in 8 months. I also just completed my first week of a five-week eCourse called Picture Book Academy, which I am absolutely gobbling up and loving every bite. More on that another day . . . But Im adding to my list of goals because apparently my to do list isnt long enough (ha!). Really though, I want to continue to grow as a writer and Im generally motivated by challenges of one sort or another.
So, who wants to join me? What do you think you cant write? Go ahead, give it a try!