Dec 17 2012
Had a conversation about the book with a friend over the weekend. It was not easy since I was reluctant to share the plot of the book (less out of secrecy than lack of conviction) but I realized that I am really unhappy about the lack of conflict in the book. As it stands, the book reads mushy to me, and if there’s one thing I’ve learnt, kids’ books need a clear demarcation of right and wrong, good and evil. And I am not a writer of Henning Mankell’s caliber that I can write a meandering Kurt Wallander novel where several pages are devoted to the protagonist’s inner struggles and you can reach the end of the book without tying all the loose ends together. (Fans may have deduced that I have just finished reading “The Troubled Man” where -SPOILER ALERT- Mankell decides to end the series by giving Wallander Alzheimers.)
So this morning is going to be spent entirely in Internet-free reflection. Why couldn’t I have done that over the weekend, you ask? Nah, the weekend was for hiking, caroling, and watching the amazing Niners game (amazing since we won, depressing if we hadn’t).
The house is quiet, the dog is next to me, and I’m all set to work the plot around in my head and see if I can salvage something from the 6000 words written so far or if I have to scrap everything and start over. But first I have to figure out the central conflict.
Off to think. More tomorrow.
If you are serious about writing a middle grade or young adult novel (they are very, very different and it’s important to know what those differences are), I recommend you get a hold of this book:
Writing Irresistible Kidlit: The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Fiction for Young Adult and Middle Grade Readers By Mary Kole.
Mary Kole is a top notch literary agent whose focus is middle grade and young adult books. I’ve taken two webinars with her, and I couldn’t speak more highly of her if I were atop Mt. Everest. It’s a great read and a great resource.
I guess I am trying to learn by doing, which is obviously much much harder. Will look for this book.