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“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Nourish Voice

Workshop: An Introduction to Writing for Children and Young Adults

“Write for the child within you.” Jane Yolen

Narration comes in many voices. There is the voice of the story, or idea and the shape it takes, and there is an author’s voice as well. Some storytellers can identify their voice fairly quickly and for some it takes time to develop. Like a musician, for some voices range across many notes and others take one sound and develop it deeply.

A guest author once shared that he tried to write across different ages and in different genres but every time he tried at some point his writing voice became a fourteen to sixteen year old male. So he stayed with that narrator and wrote deeply.

Author Jane Yolen has written in almost every age and genre in children’s literature. Story first, she says. She both listens to her characters and she searches for a connection. “Reach deep inside yourself and find out who you were before you became what you are, and then you will discover that the child is there, very much alive, and informing most of your adult decisions.”

Nourishing voice is an ongoing thread that begins with the seed of idea and develops throughout any project. As we study in this workshop we’ll be going into more details re voice and also see that voice is integral whether we’re discussing character or plot or tone.

For now though, begin to take notice as you experiment with ideas what voice you tend to lean towards. Is it quiet or noisy, tentative or firm, adventurous or cautious?

When you discover the voice that captures your heart chances are you discover the excitement and passion that writing for any age requires. Especially for children and young adults because our stories may be their first glimpse into imagination and new possibilities. 

Action Steps:

Go to: and scroll down to 31 Creative Freewrites.

1.     Do brief freewrite notes on numbers 12 to 17 from the idea file. Give yourself 8 to ten minutes per memory to write down everything you can think of. Don’t stop for sentence structure or punctuation.

2.     Did your moments all fall into a particular age category or were they spread out? If, for example, most of your moments happened in grades 4 to six then you are leaning into a middle-grade voice connection.

3.     Which ones that you wrote connected the strongest either from a positive or negative reaction?

Share: Did any of your recollections surprise you? Why?

Read deep, marcy

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"The Seeker" Rachel Marks | Content Copyright Marcy Weydemuller | Site by Eagle Designs
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