Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Brave New World (of writing)


So far, I've got this new book idea. My writing friends have been kind enough to tell me the idea doesn't suck lemons.

I also tested it on my nine-year old son (who's a Harry Potter fanatic) and I had to gently pry him away from my laptop when he wouldn't stop reading my brainstorming notes.

The only problem? All the fiction I've written has been YA.

This shiny, new idea is clearly middle grade.


Er. I don't write MG. I read it, a little, but not as voraciously as YA.

What's a person to do? It's like the project chose me, and I have little to do with choosing what type of novel it is.

So now I am reading MG and researching the differences between YA and MG, beyond the obvious (age, subject matter, voice, etc).

How about you? Have you ever been hit by an SNI in a genre/category you weren't used to writing? How did you adapt?

Also, please stop by Sarah Fine's blog to see how she answers this month's Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog question: "How would you personify your muse?" Check out my answer from last week, and Laura Diamond's from the week before. Deb is up next week!

53 comments:

Laura Pauling said...

I just finished writing my first YA. But the idea definitely wasn't MG. but I think it was a great stretching and growing experience. Good luck!

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Will pop over to Sarah's blog when time allows. Enjoyed the read.

Yvonne.

Em-Musing said...

I DO NOT write YA or even MG, but one day a kid named Neal started talking to me. A chubby kid who smelled of Cheetos. He intrigued me for awhile but then became such a pest, I had to stuff him in a draw. I still hear him every now and then. Someday I'll take him out and flesh out his story, but for now...SHUT UP NEAL!

Miranda Hardy said...

I think it's fantastic that the SNI is in middle grade. I have an adult novel looming on the edge, but I've only written YA. One day I will tackle it.

Rebecca Kiel said...

I'd give it a try. You might discover a new passion.

Liza said...

Go for it!

Elouise82 said...

I always wrote either MG or YA, but I had the most bizarre experience a couple of years ago where an idea for an inspirational romance hit me hard and would not leave me alone. I was so confused, because I haven't read any inspirational romance since I was sixteen and the genre started to gag me. So why would I write it?

I finally wrote the dark thing just to get it out of my system, sent out a few queries, and then buried the MS in a drawer because it is very different from the rest of the genre, but not enough to fit in any other, and I refuse to water it down just to get it published. It's written and out of my system, and that's enough for now!

Suze said...

Follow the muse, Lydia! I know you won't regret it. :)

storyqueen said...

I agree with everyone else here. Follow it.

Remember, Harry Potter started at MG, but I would say the last few were YA.

I wouldn't worry so much about where it fits. Just try to write the best story you can and see where it leads.

Good Luck!

Shelley

P.S. Em^, I think SHUT UP NEAL is a great title for a book...just sayin'.

Melissa Sarno said...

Yes! I never thought about writing YA and then a story came into my head about a 16 year old girl. I sat down to write it and I'm so glad I did. :-)

Jayne said...

Whatever it is that sings to you, take notes! Genre is meant to be explored... have fun with it!
(Your son won't let you ignore it, anyway!) :)

Carol Kilgore said...

The SNI I'm now pre-writing is one. I've always written stand-alones. Not this one. The protagonist came with a built in set of family and friends who are all waiting their turns.

Bryan Russell (Ink) said...

My philosophy has always been to write the stories that demand to be written. It is perilous to ignore your brain!

Bossy Betty said...

You have been chosen. Do not ask questions. Your job is to say yes,

lbdiamond said...

I started writing adult fiction...then found YA. I am working on a MG now...IDK where it comes from, but the ideas strike and I must answer the call!

PS--I can't wait to read you MG--sounds AWESOME!!!!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

My first novel was supposed to be MG. That's all I read for a year, but then I started wondering if it was maybe a YA book. I didn't want to write YA, but I decide read one to see what the genre was about. And. Well. I was HOOKED. I haven't read MG since, and I've only read a few adult novels. It's YA all the way for this girl. :D

Meredith said...

I've had some more adult ideas, but never middle grade. Maybe it depends on what genres you read? I don't know. Congrats on the new idea! Sounds like a keeper.

Critique Sisters said...

Good for you! I've never written sci-fi and I was hit powerfully by this overwhelming need to write a steampunk novel. I'm super excited about it but worried about getting it right. Just like you, I'm immersing myself in the genre!

Taryn Tyler said...

From what I've read of both genres MG isn't too much different from YA. I'm sure you won't have that much trouble making the switch.

I have the opposite problem. Every time I try to branch out and write something different it turns itself back into fantasy. I guess the universe is trying to tell me something.

Old Kitty said...

Yay for your son!!! Good luck researching the MG market - I say go with your idea and run!!!! Take care
x

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

I love to read and write MG and YA. It seems to me that reading MG and researching the differences between YA and MG is the way to go. Good luck! Follow your heart! I'm sure your MG novel will be awesome!

Emily Rose said...

My current WIP is a little out of my comfort zone in the sense that it's more YA material. I just had to accept this change in style, and work with it. Good luck with your writing!

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Lydia... welcome to the world of MG fiction. I think we are becoming soul sisters as I have been hit by a SNI which is a YA idea and not a MG one. We can give each other tips :)

Cold As Heaven said...

I would say just go ahead and write it. Don't worry about genres >:)

Cold As Heaven

notesfromnadir said...

I didn't realize there was a huge difference! Maybe the MG's want to read YA so they learn to read at a faster rate. All I can say is if you like the idea, your son likes the idea, & everything seems to be pointing at that idea, then you might be spending your summer working on that idea!

Alleged Author said...

Oh, yes. I received a visit from my writing muse, and she told me to write down some YA ideas (I write MG). Go figure!

Olga said...

As a reader, I can tell you that each of your pieces of writing is something special. I think that you shouldn't constrain yourself with any particular genre.

J.L. Campbell said...

If only we get to choose our ideas instead of the other way round - they choose us.

I've had an idea for a story for a 10-year old boy. I've read and research and actually wrote one chapter.

Once the idea hits and it's clear it's a keeper, there's not much to do but follow where it leads.

Theresa Milstein said...

I wrote 2 MG's, then switched to a YA because of content. Then into full-fledged YA. Until then, I hadn't read YA. So I just started reading. I'm sure you'll be fine! Good luck. : )

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hey, just get excited about a new idea! I haven't crossed genres yet, although that time may come.

Krispy said...

It's scary being pushed into something totally different, but I'm sure you'll do great!

Also, the line between YA and MG can be pretty blurry. Like Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan is YA & is sold as YA, but to me, it reads like an MG. Something about the writing style and the voice. Then there's all those MG books that can read like YA (i.e. Harry Potter) or transcend the boundaries of the MG genre (like some children's classics).

M Pax said...

Just write then bump into people who know more than me and ask them whatever questions I have. :D

Research, too.

Michelle Teacress said...

Of course! My ideas are all over the map - and 'they' say it's an amature thing, which is very possibly true - but I learn a LOT and find out where my strengths are. Go for it, Lydia!

lexcade said...

I always wrote fantasy. ALWAYS. I love magic and swordfights and all that stuff, so when I got the idea for my science fiction *and had to use FACTS instead of making everything up* I panicked.

Another SNI I have is a YA paranormal. *Headdesk*. I read YA, but I've never even considered writing it.

It's scurry.

Leslie Rose said...

Good for you, Lydia diving into the world of MG. I teach 5th grade, so although I write YA, I live in the MG lit. zone all day. Here's a post from my blog where I tried to unravel and analyze what hooks the kids in a good MG story/series. Hope it gives you a sliver of help. Have a blast on your new story.

http://lesliesullirose.blogspot.com/2011/01/view-from-5th-grade-trenches-january.html

-E- said...

i would go for it if i were you.

Linda Gray said...

Sounds like the MG SNI is brilliant. When your child (perfect target audience) can't pry himself away from the ideas, you know you've got something!

Similar happened to me w/historical (I like writing women's suspense, grrr). But the idea came from I-have-no-idea-where, and hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks. I spent huge amounts of time researching, wrote about half the book and then put the project aside for a variety of reasons, and went back to suspense. And five years later, here I am devoting myself to the historical again. I can't not! And it sounds like maybe you can't not too!

Connie said...

I've written YA, mystery, and lit fic. You have to go where the muse leads.

E. Arroyo said...

Awesome! I jumped from Fantasy to Contemporary and it was hard. I decided to put in my mind that I wasn't writing for me, I was writing for my niece and we both brainstormed. I say use your son. Write for him.

catherinemjohnson said...

Cool! I'm jumping from Picture Books to MG for a while. I hope the rhyming WIP I just finished is okay for MG and I have a brand new idea I am formulating in my head. I think MG is the most exciting genre, after all there is HP and Enid Blyton. Enjoy!

Jennifer Hillier said...

Middle grade? HOW COOL! I haven't been tempted to write anything outside my genre yet, but I'd like to someday... a big juicy romance! Which is so totally out of my comfort zone, but I'd go for it, if I had a Shiny New Idea. :)

Ghenet Myrthil said...

I say go for it! Lots of writers write both YA and MG. I'm sure you'll do great! I'm writing YA now but I've had ideas for MG novels and will probably write one someday. :)

vbtremper said...

I went the opposite way. I started out writing MG and then switched to YA. The switch was very natural, except that the first couple of drafts of the YA sounded too young. I solved that and wrote another YA, but those MG projects still haunt me. They have to be MG and I love them and I promise to work on them, too, one day.

If your 9 year old loves your notes, then you're on the right track. Good luck!

-Vicki

Slamdunk said...

Having that new idea and can involve the niner, you are doing well. I have a ten year old that I am still trying to impress.

Nas Dean said...

Hi Lydia,

Thanks for this post re YA and MG, please keep us updated on how you manage it. Enjoyed reading your post, and your son sounds a smart guy! He loves your writing.

Bee said...

Yes! I always write Contemporary, but I've been hit by something non-contemporary *very fishy*

I'm also brainstorming an MG with my brother, so yeah, I'm genre-hopping.

Jonene Ficklin said...

That's the smartest move a person could do - read in the right genre for the story you're writing. I'm at a the Writing and Illustrating For Young Readers (WIFYR) writer's conference right now, and it's so good to know the area you're working in. Your story will be great! (Wish I was reading your notes.)

Beth said...

I get new ideas all the time when I'm writing. I usually try to swat them away until I'm done the WIP!

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

Go with it, Lydia. If the book chose you, it means, well... you're chosen. You have to write it. I started out writing short stories and flash fiction for adults (and published), but then I started gravitating to the MG audience and I love it!

Karen Lange said...

Oh yes! And you wonder whether to pursue it, if it can be adapted to your genre...the stuff that makes writing days fun! :) Best wishes with the project.

Have a great weekend!

Susan Fields said...

I started out writing MG but quickly figured out that YA is my true love. Then after a couple of YAs, I had an SNI for an MG, but somehow I ended up transforming it into YA anyway. Good luck with your new project!

Phoenix said...

Shiny New Ideas are the best, and for the love of all that's holy, don't box it in! If it came to you, that means that somewhere, the universe thinks you can TOTALLY handle putting it back out there for everyone to enjoy.

Have faith and go into unexplored territory and make it Middle Grade! I believe in you :)

The Red Angel said...

I think you should go for it, Lydia! :) Only when you try out stuff that you never have before do you realize exactly what your forte(s) is. You never know--you might end up really enjoying writing MG!

~TRA

http://xtheredangelx.blogspot.com

 
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