I have committed significant time each day to work on my young reader novel. Thank you for many of your posts and conversations to motivate me to do such a thing for myself and my book. A very real sacrifice is involved for our family, the fact that I have no steady income. So, I’m dropping a big networking hint: any of you with connections to a youth-focused publisher or agent, please float hints of my progress their way, or their info my way! When the manuscript is nearly complete, I will need to shop it, fairly desperately. I am lousy at marketing. Let me sit in a corner and write all day long, but show it to someone who might put it in production? Yikes! I’m a little over a third into what I hope to accomplish in page count. It is a fun (I hope) nerd overcoming bully story with a science twist a la astronomy with some sub-focus on family and friendships. How’s that for a synopsis without giving anything away?
Last week, I got through some dialogue. Dialogue is easier for me to imagine than to actually write. I hear it well in my head, but how do the characters sound on the page? All like me or the narrator? I hope not. So, it’s slow going, besides all the interruptions. But the good news for this week is, knock on wood, neither of the boys are sick — each stayed home from school a day last week, two different ones, of course. I have no appointments for any of us. The cat and dog have both been deflea-ed, finally, at the vet. Bad news is I planned a picnic at my house on Saturday for my Asperger’s group that I don’t foresee doing much prep for as it is a potluck, but I do need to move a dirt pile, reorganize the desk again, hopefully get through some of my albatross box of papers to be filed, and flea bomb the backyard. That’s right, nature girl is going to intentionally poison the planet. Good news is I am going to write THE SCENE this week. If I’m lucky, THE OTHER SCENE, too. These two scenes are at the heart of the book, upon what everything after depends. They should also advance me to the halfway point. Woo-hoo!
I just finished re-reading an old favorite book that didn’t help my frame of mind for writing a youth novel, but I enjoyed it anyway — Alice Walker’s In the Temple of My Familiar. My next step to move my writing along in the vein of a youth novel is to re-read some Jerry Spinelli, Sharon Creech, and other authors for the age group, whose work I love and whose style is very conversational and very much from the point of view of an eleven- or twelve-year-old. I think that will help my dialogue problem a lot. I should grab some Carl Hiaasen and Gary Paulson, too. A dog figures prominently in the story, and Paulson writes Dog really well. I mention these authors because I believe a lot of the best writing out there now by contemporaries is for the youth market. Go check out the Newbery Medal winners. They are a great lot.
Enjoy! I didn’t know what I was missing until a few years ago, so I really do recommend a trip to your local library youth room. The reads are so quick, too! If you want a really good cry, you must check out Sharon Creech’s The Wanderer or Love That Dog. I’m no crier and I absolutely blubbered my way through those, out loud, in front of a class of fifth graders. If you like disturbing (Lisa D and Christa), check out Spinelli’s The Wringer. I read that four years ago and it still haunts me.
Happy writing, painting, puzzling, knitting, etc this week!