If You Write for Children or Youths...
I admit I’m all over the place with my writing. However, I rarely get bored in life and that might be attributed to my inability to focus--without the struggle. I playfully call it chasing butterflies, but it could be undiagnosed adult ADD. Who knows?
I like writing for kids, maybe because I'm a mom or because I work with kids or maybe because I'm a kid at heart. Kids are an interesting bunch of people, with the different life stages giving you various behaviors. One minute the kids in your life will demand to be left alone to do their own thing and the next will be asking for your help. Sometimes you are from outer space and other times a best friend.
The most difficult population for me to write about (and maybe to understand) are the middle graders. So I looked to the internet for enlightenment.
Here are four helps:
Here are four helps:
- Read middle grade books. You will find it educational and fun. Try J.K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman, Lois Lowry or Patricia Reilly Giff. Read and study.
- How to Write a Middle Grade Novel anyone? This is literally the title of Jenny Bowman’s article. She defines the MG novel and explains the format of both lower and upper MG writing and much more. She also tells us why a MG novel is so popular and who reads it. (You might find adult readership mixed in there.)
- Observation! If you live, work or visit with middle school aged kiddos, then learn from it! They're exhausting, funny and wonderful.
- Pull from your inner child. You were a kid once. Trust me! You might think that kids are different these days from your time as a child, but not really. They have the same basic problems. Although plenty of adults have argued this point with me on the "Kids are different today than in my day" theme. I argue that kids aren't as different as you might think. Times have changed for sure. Ideas of parenting has changed. There is "new" technology beyond television and radio, but kids are more like the kids in your day than you might imagine. They still seek love, have basic needs and behaviors as previous generations. In my twenty eight years working in a school district I have concluded that all children and youths: 1) need to be loved and taken care of; 2) have friends who are more important to them (at the time) than their family. It's normal, and it's okay; 3) REALLY want to be liked and accepted by their peers and valued by their parents and to be told this; and finally, 4) middle-schoolers eat a lot and are always hungry.
Lastly, here's a cool article on teens: How do today’s teens compare with teens from the 1970’s? I can tell you that the teens from the 1970s were way cooler.
Confess! Do you still read genres meant for a certain age group? Do you think kids today are totally different than yesterday's kids? Did you have an experience where an adult questioned something you did as a child or teen?