I recently found the blog, Editorial Anonymous, written by a children’s book editor. It’s a great blog, as you’ll note it’s suddenly appeared on my blogroll for editors and agents, and I’ve been having some fun reading through past entries that I missed.
I submit to you a link that the YA and children’s writers among us will find hysterical, or disturbing, or both... I have to give credit to Editor Anonymous, because I found the link on one of her blogs on how not to get published.
Strong Bad Writes a Children’s Book
While the little video is pretty amusing, I have to say it’s not altogether off of what *some* people, writer and otherwise, think it is to write children’s fiction... On another blog I made mention of the fact that so many of us start out with the statement, “I never intended to write children’s fiction. I always thought I’d write (insert more impressive genre here).”
I’ve actually said this, typed this, thought this... and yes, I am hanging my head in shame, but I’m not the only one who should. The more I read and studied children’s writing and publishing, the more I realized how truly asinine these statements were. And now that I’m here, a little way up the road on my writing learning curve, I realize exactly why it is that my novel, the one that most spoke to me, the one that most needed telling... the one whose characters invaded my head until I got them down on the page – and haven’t left yet, the filthy little buggers... This novel is the one I had to tell for a reason, and my audience is more important to me than the literary elite could be – they are kids, jaded and wide eyed and all stops in between. They are future readers and current dreamers. They are important, more so than any other audience might be to me at this point in my life – not because the writing is easier, let me tell you, it’s not... but because the idea that a ten or eleven year old will pick up my book and feel something, turn pages, take the story with them when the reading is done, and, hopefully, pick up another book shortly thereafter... well, that’s a thrilling thought. That ten year old might write a book report about my novel, and it’ll never appear in The New York Times, but it might be hung in a grammar school hallway with sticky tape, and that would be pretty good, too.
Point, point, oh, yeah, my point:
Middle grade might be my permanent writing calling. I wouldn’t have said so a year ago. I was chomping at the bit to get this one out of my system and get back to adult fiction... with my simmering plot that’s been waiting in my journal since before the journey of Raskin’s Wings even began... and then something changed. In me, around me, or maybe I just heard my muse a little clearer... because suddenly this thing became THE book, not the one to get out of the way, but the one to savor and hone and bring to the best form possible so that at the end of the day, when submissions go out, I know it’s a book I’d want to watch my kids enjoy... and then the ideas, the plots the characters that readily drop into my mind to work on in the future... they changed, too... two series grew out of nothing for, of all things, early chapter books... because they did... maybe it’s because I’m engrossed in my kids’ reading, and notice what I find lacking or what they would enjoy more of... maybe it’s because I skipped children’s literature as a child, and I’m so enjoying it now... maybe it’s just the type of writing that really does suit me. I don’t really know... I know what the next novel is, though... middle grade historical.... how the heck did that happen?
That’s my journey from there to here. I didn’t set out to write children’s because I thought it would be easier... I can’t believe people actually do this, but they apparently do... that’s a whole other ball of wax, too... I don’t know why anyone would want to write a book that was looking for something easy to do.... you guys are mostly writers that stop in here, do you find this terribly easy?
Will I always write middle grade or various age ranges in children’s... the truth is, I don’t know. Maybe I will get that backburner plot out eventually... Maybe I won’t... But if I do get back to adult fiction at some point, it will not be because I want to be a real writer... I’m pretty impressed by children’s authors – right now I’m just hoping to build a career among them.