After being completely encouraged by Laini Taylor’s “just start writing” advice, I’ve been immersed in the world of my new middle grade novel…and I’ve written a whopping ten pages! Woo-hoo!
But just yesterday, I had an epiphany. Now, I must tell you that I always have my epiphanies in two places: either in my bed during those lovely moments when I’m just waking up…or…when I’m in the shower. So when I have an epiphany, I typically rush out of bed (half-dressed) or jump out of the shower (not dressed at all) and run around to find my dear husband so I can share this life-changing thought. And he typically responds, “Yes, that’s nice, dear…now get some clothes on!”
So here is the new epiphany I had yesterday: I think my main character needs to be a girl, not a boy. Zoinks!!! How could that be!? I’ve been stewing this book idea in my brain for months, and it’s always been with a dorky 11-year-old boy as the main character. So why does it need to be a girl? Well, I broke it down to two reasons:
Voice: To make any book work, that has to be right on. The thing is, I’ve been writing my other middle grade novel with a boy main character for almost five years. And honestly…I can’t get him out of my head! When I sat down to write my new story with a completely new boy, I felt I was still writing from the perspective of my previous MC. And as much as I’d like to admit that I am a highly skilled and adaptable kind of writer, I have to come to terms with the fact that maybe I need to make a real big change in order to force my brain into a new way of thinking. And that big change is…a girl!
Audience: My new novel is big, big, big in terms of plot (which is a bit of a diversion for me, since I seem to be more of a character writer). For some reason, I felt this big plot needed a boy to carry out all of the adventurous activities I was planning on writing for him. And I figured only boys would want to read about spy stuff and world domination and soccer. But now, I think I was wrong about that. Girls are different than boys, that is true, but when I was teaching, I knew a lot of very strong, smart, feminine, sweet girls who could also kick butt and save the world. So I think those girls deserve an action-packed book just as much as the boys do. I’ve always loved girls who played sports and wore a nice shade of lipgloss.
So now I go back to Laini’s advice to try not to get hung up on the “other” writing stuff like outlining and having epiphanies in showers. I’m just going to reactivate my feminine side and get writing!