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Writing for Middle Grade … outside the comfort zone

This is a first for me.

I usually write novels. Long novels. Ones with love, anger, pain, and freedom filling the pages. Inspirational fiction novels meant for women like me. Moms. Banging on the door of middle age (dare I admit). Married, divorced, single … you name it. Women. Mothers, daughters, sisters, wives. That’s my target audience.

But I’m changing direction. Of course I am still working on my novels … as you read the unedited and shameful beginning of “For Emma’s Sake” yesterday morning. But I in case anyone was unaware, I am also working a series of books, not for the middle-aged audience, but this time for middle-grade. Fourth to eighth graders. Girls, none the less. It is a series called “Note To Self”.

Now this is an experience. So where do you go when you’re writing outside your genre? Where do you turn when you’re outside your comfort zone? I turned to none other than my all time favorite author when I was that age. The famous Judy Blume.

Now I’d like to say I interviewed her and picked her brain. No such luck. But what I did was bought every book of hers I could find at our local book store. Among my favorite is “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing”. That and “Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret” are the books I remember most from that time in my life.

I scoured the pages. Studying her way with words. Her mannerisms. Her talent. Has it helped me? Well, I suppose that remains to be seen but I am almost done with the first book of the series and will be sending it to critique groups to leave painful red designs throughout the pages.

I’m enjoying this genre and I must admit, I couldn’t have done it without her.

What’s your favorite/least favorite genre? What do you do when you are forced to cross over? Share some tips with stepping outside the zone and finding a new direction.

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1 Comment

Posted by on January 18, 2011 in encouragement

 

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