Episode 41: Voice and Message

How to Avoid Being Preachy When You're a Mom and That's Your Gig

In This Episode: 

In a conversation with Author Accelerator book coach Kemlo Aki, Abby solved a problem she'd been having with a book. It was a little problem, but a problem nonethelesss - should kids have cell phones in her middle grades book? Kemlo pointed out an elegant solution and suggested Abby do some further research with actual middle graders. 

Abby and Jennie discuss the importance of timing - how to percolate a potential relationship over a period of time in a realistic way. Abby even went and did MORE research about middle-school baseball seasons to make sure she had a realistic timeline for the game Logan invites Bernadette to! A middle-school reader, especially a baseball player, would be aware of these things so it's important to dial in these details so you don't inadvertently bring the reader out of the story. 

Adult-like thoughts vs middle grade thoughts: If you're writing for kids, t's important to catch those little moments where you might be writing more as an adult than a kid - this is important not only for verbiage but phrasing as well, especially in how a younger person would think about and react to things (not having the perspective of age and experience of an adult). 

How to avoid sounding preachy or over-messag-y when you're trying to impart a point: THE QUESTION OF ALL QUESTIONS, according to Jennie. When you do have something to say and you do have a point (which is often the case when writing kids books, and you have to be careful at every turn because the reader will catch these things, especially older ones). Don't make your point to clearly or too cleanly - your characters won't have it all worked out in their heads, either, because they're learning this themselves too. We want to see these characters come to this realization over the course of the book because it means more if they have to work for it than if they already know it at the outset.