This past semester I was lucky enough to get in a class of Writing for Children and Adolescents taught by Carol Lynch Williams (The Chosen One, Miles from Ordinary, Glimpse). We focused on writing the beginning of a MG or YA novel. And from this semester, I've seen my writing skyrocket with improvement. These are a few things I've learned or discovered in this class:
- Sense of place. Looking back on my writing, I'll mention characters are at a baseball field, and make no reference to that baseball field again. Carol really helped me with learning to create a sense of place through descriptions and reminding readers as my characters are talking, that they're at a baseball field.
- Write outside of your comfort zone. I generally write fantasy/sci-fi with a female narrator, and for this class I wrote a contemporary with a male first-person narrator. It was really hard and challenging for me, but I think that seeing how to work within a genre and narrator I wasn't as comfortable with made me learn more and then help me apply it to my preferred way of writing.
- Voice. This is always tricky and sometimes alusive for most writers. Voice is hard. But in the class, I've found the importance of my own character's voice, and what makes it different from my own and any other character I've written.
- The middle sucks for pretty much everyone, which is just comforting to me to know I'm not alone.