Happy February, Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Writers helping writers. I’m pleased to be a part of this world-wide support group for writers created by our heroic leader, Alex J.Cavanaugh.
This is my first time co-hosting our group’s monthly question along with wonderful fellow writers Stephen Tremp, Pat Garcia, Angela Wooldridge, and Madeline Mora-Summonte. Thanks for this opportunity, Alex!
Our February question is: What do you love about the genre you write in most often?
What do I love most about writing YA contemporary adventure? Who doesn’t want to experience a life-threatening adventure [vicariously, of course!] and come out the other side changed both physically and mentally? Okay, it’s true. I would never allow my five children to actually experience the adventures I write about; however, the children’s actions usually do trigger my next YA short story.
Like a lot of story ideas, my YA adventure stories begin in truth. Sometimes I change up the initial experience my family had; place it in a different national park or in a different season. Then the research begins. All stories should be researched—even fantasy.
The best stories begin with something that could be known to readers—even if it’s a little known fact. Writers should delve into science, sociology, mythology, philosophy, or history to name only a few subjects to ponder. I enjoy research because I love learning something new. And there’s a good chance your reader will, too. I believe both children and adults come to story to learn something, even if it is to consider a universal idea or subject through a new perspective.
Then the story-building happens. This is the best part for me. Fiction is much easier than memoir. In fiction we create events and actions and emotion to build a story. In memoir, the writer needs to look for the story in life’s truth—explicitly.
In my YA adventures I know no one will die. Children’s magazines usually don’t like it when characters get into dangerous situations and make a mistake and die. That’s not to say that children’s magazines don’t deal with death in a family or friendship. I sold a short story to Cricket Magazine about a protagonist whose parents had died, and she needed to cope with grief and deal with living with her grandparents. Of course, I did add my signature danger that the protagonist had to face to help her realize the importance of her grandparents.
Story is internal. In writing my contemporary adventure stories, I need to find a realistic method to get my protagonist out of danger. Usually, the protagonist needs to realize that it’s up to him or her to save the day or be the hero of the story, and the protagonist changes internally as a result.
Thanks so much for stopping by Adventures in Writing and offering your insight. Please follow my blog if you haven’t already. It’s greatly appreciated. I’ll be sure and do the same for you.