Guest post:by Marion Crook Why I wrote Writing for Children and Young Adults
Date: September 29, 2016
I wrote the first edition of Writing for Children and Young Adults after I had published ten novels for middle grade and young adults. I was entering my PhD program in education. One of my supervisors was an expert in children’s literature and also Chair of the IBBY the International Board of Books for Young People. I was suddenly immersed in the study of children’s literature which I found quite different from producing children’s literature.
It seemed only logical to examine my own process and relate it to the ways in which other writers created such astounding stories.
Since I was in the studying mode, I researched the work, styles and processes of other authors with the view of helping new authors and struggling authors to more clarity in their writing and in their process of writing. Then I wrote the book I wish I’d had on my desk when I first started writing, one that would not be difficult to read but would give me information and make me feel as if the author was a mentor, someone I could refer to for ideas and direction.
I enjoyed writing the book and communicating with other authors. I found it instructive to examine my own practices, and compare them to other authors. Sometimes I tried ideas I
picked up from other authors and assessed whether they were useful. Sometimes I changed my ways, but I did study to find the best way to approach different aspects of writing. Then my publisher sent the book out to the reading public and I concentrated on my thesis on Aboriginal education.
Two years later (withy graduation still a year away) the publisher put out a second edition. I updated the book and out it went again. Now seven years after that (and yes the PhD in my pocket) the publisher asked me to update it. Again, I didn’t want an academic book, although I am thrilled to have creative writing classes at colleges and universities use it as their course book. I wanted a book that was easy to read and easy for a reader to skip around to get the particular subject they wanted quickly. This was a wonderful chance to look at all the new ways the Internet and self-publishing has changed the world of writing. I will have two new books out this year, including this one, and I am working with a publicist on virtual tours, guest blogging, tweeting and all the marketing venues that have popped up over the past few years. The writing process hasn’t changed much although there are new writing software programs that make it easier to keep track of ideas, chapters, and research. The writing process is much the same and the creative mind of the writer still the lynch writing.
I suppose I wrote Writing for Children and Young Adults to share the joy I get from writing and provide new writers and writers who want a new approach with practical advice on how to create new stories with the minimum of frustration. I understand the angst. May we all be enthusiastic about our work and may it come easily off our fingertips.
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Marion Crook has written many books for young adult and middle-grade readers. Here, she offers advice on writing, publishing, and marketing. Crook’s background in child development education as a nurse and her Ph.D. in education give her solid knowledge, but she maintains that a keen
observation of people, places, and events can be the author’s most useful tool. An experienced teacher and writer, she gives her readers clear and practical tips, with humor and obvious understanding of what it’s like to write and publish.
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