Home » Writing

Writing Fiction For Middle Graders Part 1

Apr 18, 2008
For me, the single most often asked question is how I write fiction for kids between the ages of eight and 12. It isn't so much where I get my ideas but it's the mechanics people seem to be most interested in.

Do I use an outline? Where do I get my ideas? And how do I get started?

Let's look at each of those in this article.

Use an outline?

Many writers insist that the best tool they have for planning their novels is an outline. Others will tell you just the opposite. I sit somewhere in the middle.

I usually know how I'm going to start and I almost always know where I'm going to end - even if I don't know the exact way the story will finish up. Those things are critical for me. It's the middle I play fast and loose with.

Some writers and very visual creatures. I know those who utilize a technique from the film and TV industry called storyboarding.

True storyboarding is when pictures or graphics are used to lay out the ideas for scenes in a film or TV show. Storyboarding as a novelist can take the form of outlining each and every scene - sometimes these are chapters, other times they're just a situation - using words.

I love taking a large piece of newsprint and dividing it up into the chapters I want to see in my book. Remember in elementary school - now this is really dating me as a child from the '60s! - when you'd take a small piece of newsprint and fold it into 16 squares to do math problems? Well, I use that method to storyboard my chapters and even break down those chapters into scenes.

There are tons of great computer visual aids for mapping out plot strategies. Mindjet has a great program and you can try it out for free.

Where to start - getting ideas

Ideas for stories can come from all phases of life. One of my favorite hobbies is to people watch. I'll go to a park, a mall, or an airport just to watch what people do. I look at how they're dressed, listen to how they speak, watch for habits.

It's all fuel for your creative juices.

Here's a great example: Matt and I were on vacation in Western Virginia a number of years ago and had to use a local laundromat (another GREAT place to people watch!). There was a very interesting character there - he placed a button down oxford shirt on backward, buttoned it up as well as he could, and proceeded to fold his laundry.

Now, I have no earthly idea why he did that but I can promise you I'll create a character who'll do that in one of my short stories or novels. It's too good not to use.

When working on Mudder, my current juvenile novel and the second installment in the Kathy and Martha Mystery Series, I came up with the idea from two separate events. At the time I'd begun to think about a sequel to Bitter Tastes, we'd just adopted an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy and I was enjoying playing with her.

The next piece of this puzzle came from watching an episode of Emergency Vets on Animal Planet about deaf puppies. Particularly, this episode was about how adoptable deaf dogs are and the best ways to live with them.

I put those two things together and came up with a deaf golden retriever in my story. There you go. That's the beginning.

What's the end? I'll tell you what I tell kids everywhere: you'll have to read the story to find out...

Next time we'll look at your first chapter and how important believability is.
About the Author
Victoria Rosendahl has published one adult mystery and has begun the Kathy & Martha Mystery Series with the first installment, Bitter Tastes. Check out Bitter Tastes for ideas on how to build a kid friendly web site and feel free to e-mail her at info@vbrosendahl.com.
Please Rate:
(Average: 5.0 stars by 1 user)
Views: 332
Print Email Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Acne
    • Aerobics
    • Alternative Medicine
    • Beauty
    • Cancer
    • Cosmetics
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases and Conditions
    • Fitness Equipment
    • Fitness
    • Hair Loss
    • Heart Disease
    • Medicine
    • Men's Health
    • Muscle Building
    • Nutrition
    • Skin Care
    • Supplements and Vitamins
    • Weight Loss
    • Women's Health
    • Yoga
    • Arts and Crafts
    • Babies
    • Collecting
    • Elderly Care
    • Genealogy
    • Hobbies
    • Parenting
    • Pets
    • Pregnancy
    • Woodworking
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors