When it comes to writing, I’ve come to the realization that I’m one of those people who does not fit in. True, I am very tall and typically don’t “fit” into most things (I can’t actually shop at The Gap, I have to go to Gap online). But now it seems my books are shaping up to be just...like...me!
My middle grade book, Dude, Where’s My Locker?, is about a boy getting through Day One of middle school. It includes drawings and graphs and letters and quizzes and just general weirdness. By the end of the day, he defeats the bully, gets the girl, and finds his locker. I’ve been getting amazing responses, including one publishing house that said they passed the book around the office because they thought it was so hilarious. Their problem was that they couldn’t figure out how to market it. I think this book is a case of needing to find a publishing house that loves a book that doesn’t quite fit the mold (which sounds like the plotline of virtually every Disney movie ever made -- a story about a kid who doesn’t quite fit in…or a lion, or a clownfish, or a cowboy doll, or a mermaid). And those movies seem to do just fine!
I took a break from writing Dude a few years ago, and decided to write something completely different. Something that might actually sell, I thought. What came out was a chapter book called The Nitwits about a couple of bumbling boys who solve local mysteries that always end up being spoofs. And how did that turn out!? Totally and completely outside of the box. Nitwits is part novel, part graphic novel, part screenplay, part, um…something. But it was fun to write and it involves lots of scenes where someone falls down. And I find falling down very funny. I love slapstick comedy. (Give me a Jim Carey/Three Stooges/Naked Gun movie marathon and I’m in heaven!) And again, I’m getting a great response to Nitwits, but no one’s willing to publish a little book that refuses to get in the box. (I like to think of this book as more of a happy chicken on a cage-free ranch.)
I’ve considered adjusting my writing style…believe me, have I ever considered it! But in the immortal words of Popeye (another great dude who never quite fit in), I yam what I yam!