I am a turtle hiding in my shell this week. Or perhaps I am a caterpillar curled up in a chrysalis about to emerge as a tiger swallowtail butterfly. I may be metamorphosing.
I'm feeling some middle grade urges. And I don't mean the urge to kiss Tommy Washington under the monkey bars. I mean the urge to write for middle grade.
What is enticing me about middle grade:
1. I like to read descriptions. I enjoy curling up with a book as it takes me to a magical place. I don't see the movie version of books because I get outraged by differences versus my imagination. I want to describe the situation. I want to use adjectives.
2. Picture books really have a co-writer called the illustrator. I can't figure out how to leave room for the illustrator without feeling like I didn't get to tell the story.
3. Cool stuff happens in pre teen life. Kids are really defining themselves. Their lives are full of drama. Though it isn't as serious perhaps as a teen, it is just as intense. I also enjoy potty humor and slapstick comedy.
What is holding me back:
1. I have little picture book reading kids. I have been checking out middle grade books to expose myself to the genre. But I don't hang with 11-year-olds. Do 11-year-olds still hang? There is much I do not know about kids born in this millennium. And a 9-year-old stated unequivocally I was "uncool" the other day; so that helped my confidence.
2. I have such limited time I feel the need to concentrate somewhere. Exploring means learning about a new genre's rules. It also means a new set of publishers to research when the time comes.
3. I fear I may be copping out. I haven't been practicing writing picture books that long. Though I may not have the magic yet, it doesn’t mean I won't pull out a rabbit eventually. Am I feeling urges out of fear? I am yeller-bellied without a doubt.
I realize now the butterfly metaphor was overstated. I am just a speck of a green egg about to hatch into a caterpillar. In that case, I'm going to let my muse gorge herself into a fat caterpillar. She needs to keep writing picture books to learn how to leave room for the illustrator. But she can spend her free time describing the most polite ways to deal with the wet mess Tommy Washington left on her lips.
Do you focus or do you let your muse flit from teen lit to board books to mysteries?