I recently came across a quote from On Writing by Stephen King. "The more you use your creative muscles the stronger they will be." At last night's critique group meeting, members flexed and strengthened their creative muscles. After a brainstorming session on developing group guidelines to help keep us on track and to aide possible new members, the sharing began with the final chapter of a exciting, funny "Narnia-esque" middle grade fantasy adventure that ended with a lullaby created by the author's friend and fellow writer. Sharon brought her dulcimer, enlisted another member (me) to sing, and we closed her story in style. It was a happy, tearful ending to a story we have all grown to love.
We comment frequently in our group about how different our writing is, our voices, our humor, the concepts themselves. But one thing is clear: the creativity that has blossomed in each of us over this past year. Not only have we grown as writers polishing our work, our twice a month association has been infectious, spurring each of us on to go beyond ourselves in what we write and dream.
The second story we heard is also a middle grade fantasy of astounding creativity. It is at the "mid point" Jim says, and gave us a little diagram lesson on "plot points" that he has gleaned from a book on writing screen plays (or any good story) by Sid Field. Jim's story is full of wild characters and fantasy. We can't wait to see how it develops. In our last critiquing effort for the evening, we hovered over a query letter, pointing out strengths, eliminating, helping the writer to be concise and eye-catching.
We missed several members at last night's meeting, but their presence was felt for their encouragement has contributed to our journeys. Love you all!
Author of Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction
Published by Guardian Angel Publishing December 2014:
Jeremiah Lucky and the Guardian Angel
Jeremiah needs a little help and he gets it with the sudden appearance of his guardian angel. Chapter book for ages 7-10.
Jeremiah Lucky Finds Puppy Love
Jeremiah dodges a kiss from a princess and falls head over heels for a lost puppy. Chapter book for ages 7-10.
Watch for these titles coming soon:
The Whispering Chimney
Eleven-year old Bethany finds a stone chimney and discovers a beautiful but terrifying past. (upper middle grade)
(Beyond the) Stone Eagle Gate
David, age fifteen, flees a false accusation and takes refuge in a haunted, abandoned mansion. (YA, historical fiction ghost story)
The Interplanetary Adventures of Yan Sunnara: Book I Rescue on Lato
Cultural scientist Yan Sunnara rescues an unusual child on the planet of Lato with the help of an exotic and beautiful Uvian archaeologist. (Adult, soft Science Fiction, Rescue on Lato is the first of a series of four novellas.)
Three teens are connected by a mysterious and sometimes frightening ability to cross over from one dimension here on earth to another. This YA novel placed in the top three in Florida Writers 2013 RPLA competition. Speculative Fiction.
Some Great MG and YA books
- Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman
- These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
- Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
- Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby
- Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
- Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood
- The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
- Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt
- Red Blood Road by Moira Young
- On Little Wings by Regina Sirois
- Nation by Terry Pratchett
- Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
- Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley (Printz 2012)
- The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
- Fire by Kristin Cashore