what i'm (also) reading: tween lit

Part of my assignment for the new Kids On Wheels magazine is writing serial fiction. I haven't written fiction in many years, and when I did, it was for teenagers; the KOW audience is 8-12 years old. I'm quietly freaking out, wondering how on earth I'm going to meet this challenge. I know I'll come up with something, but will it be anything anyone would ever want to read?

To start my mind working along age-appropriate lines, I've been re-familiarizing myself with classic books for the reading level. I chose five: The Phantom Tollboth by Norton Juster, A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle (one of my favorites when I was that age), the incomparable Harriet The Spy by Louise Fitzhugh, From The Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg, and the modern classic Holes by Louis Sachar. Everyone should read Holes, it is brilliant. It was also make into an excellent movie, with a screenplay written, thank goodness, by the author.

All this reading is having the effect of making me feel utterly inadequate.


Crabbi said...

Thanks for the memories! I've been thinking a lot about Harriet the Spy lately. I read that book so many times and in fact, briefly became a spy when I was about nine or so. Did you ever read the sequel? it wasn't quite as exciting, but still a good read. A mystery person leaves scripture quotes for people to find. The quotes were creepily appropriate, as I remember.

I'll have to check out Holes.

L-girl said...

I didn't read the sequel, though a "sneak peek" at it is included in the new edition of HtS I picked up for this project.

redsock said...

You're reading the best of the best. Of course you're feeling inadequate.

What you got to do is read some real crap. Of course, it will also annoy you that that shite is out there and your stuff is not.

L-girl said...

Good point. Thanks.

And good point. No thanks.

Crabbi said...

Writing for kids is hard! And HtS is daunting.

To use a dorky expression, it goes without saying that your writing is really, really good, so I'm sure your kids' stories will be as well.

I started a children's story a while back, and I will pick it up again - when I can figure out how to imbue it with just enough subversiveness.

L-girl said...

Wow, that's great. Good luck with it.

Thank you for saying nice things about my writing. :)

I started out writing YA fiction. I thought it was all I wanted to do and all I could do. I have two unpublished novels and a lot of heartache to show for it.

But I don't say that in bitterness. I had to write those books, and I did, and I'm damn glad I did. And in the process, I found other forms of writing and other ways to speak to young people that were also really satisfying.

I'm definitely up for this challenge, but also afraid. But that fear is part of the process...

Blaaah, blaaah, blaaah... :)

Galileo said...

I'd highly suggest you check out Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar. It's one of my most fondly remembered books from that age. I picked it up in a middle-school classroom where I was substituting a few weeks ago and re-read part of it. Just as good years later.

It's 30 chapters, each with loosely related stories about a different student in the classroom. Lots of humor for all ages and small enough bites to read a story (even aloud) in just a few minutes.

There's also a sequal, but I've never read it. But if you're looking for serial fiction inspiration, I'd check these out.

L-girl said...

What a perfect suggestion! Thank you!!!