How to Conquer Writer’s Block: Tip 77

An interesting discussion on the SCBWI NCA list serv has made me aware of another block-inducing dilemma: wondering about your “genre” (for wont of another word ). If you are paralyzed by the question of “what” your book is, it is absolutely imperative for you to visualize your “audience”. Rule: your main character is usually the same age or a bit older than that readership. (I said “usually”; there may be some exceptions, but…let’s not get started on that.)So: MG vs. YA, for instance. Imagine yourself, or a teacher, or a librarian reading a chapter of your novel to a rowdy group of fifth graders. Torrid love scenes? Dating? Driving a BMW? Conflict about drug use? Nope; neither appropriate nor tops on their interest-list. (Although misperceptions about these topics by a middle grader lead to lots of humor–the joy of writing for this age group.) Imagine reading your stuff to a bunch of different age groups. Often it’s as simple as that: think of a child or a teen or an adult, or yourself at a certain age; the setting, conflict, voice usually all fall into place.

Usually. Uh, Voice. Okay, that’s a whole other issue. To be continued…

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