Tuesday, January 12, 2010

the kid out there

Yesterday, Michael Grant commented that he thought at some point I should write a book on writing for kids. And, I think it's a great idea. As a matter of fact, I am going to be working in the next few months with a group of young writers in a workshop aimed at helping them to develop their technique and voice. I'll keep you all posted on how they do.

In the coming week, too, I'm going to put up some posts directly aimed at kids and writing, and some ideas for them, as well as for their coaches.

But, having spent the first weeks of the year concentrating on YA, I found myself thinking quite a bit about some of the comments that have been posted all over the blogosphere about the things I'd written; and, in particular, I kept recalling this questioner who sat in the audience at a San Francisco panel I was on with authors Barry Lyga, Sara Zarr, L.K. Madigan, and Allen Zadoff.

The YA in the audience asked a question that went something like this: Aren't you all just a little too old to be writing books about young people? Doesn't what you say end up coming off as a little out-of-touch, and a little too preachy?

Well, I'd written in previous posts about the value of experience... of living things firsthand, as opposed to watching them on a monitor. But also, I think that time and distance give you a better perspective, sometimes, to evaluate the gravity -- or sometimes the no-big-deal-ness -- of most situations.

Can YA come off as being condescending and preachy? Definitely. And those are the kinds of works I try to avoid reading, or, if I do, make fun of in very private conversations with only my closest friends.

More on preachy, condescending YA coming up.