Friday, September 23, 2016

The Problem Must Matter by Marion Crook

Today I'd like to welcome Marion Crook, author of the book Writing for Children and Young Adults, to YAtopia. 

In addition to the expert advice author Marion Crook shared in earlier editions of Writing for Children and Young Adults, in this vibrant new edition, Crook explains some of the nuance and choices about the writing world online. 
As well, she revisits the fundamentals of writing: establishing character, creating lively dialogue and developing plot with updated worksheets and examples. This edition shows the writer how to begin a story, plan plot, develop and hone the work for an agent or publisher, and how to make the crucial submission for a book that agents want to represent and publishers want to buy!
Writing for Children and Young Adults helps you create the manuscript that sells!

The Problem Must Matter by Marion Crook

Most writers want to engage their readers, have the readers worry about the characters and feel relieved when danger is overcome. That emotional involvement will happen only if the readers care about the character and that happens if we, the writers, have created a character appealing enough to tug at the readers’ hearts. We work hard to create such characters--but it’s not enough.
Jessie Mullins made an important point in her blog of July 28th. A story needs real stakes. It’s not as easy as one might think to put your beloved character into danger. I am protective of my character and have to deliberately thrust him or her into peril. But it’s my character’s tussle with danger that gives impetus and importance to the story.
The protagonist, no matter how emotionally attuned the readers are to him or her, needs to have a problem. What does he or she want? What is standing in the way? If the problem is personal, important, seemingly impossible to solve, and contains a time in which it must happen, chances are the story will have tension and excitement. The problem doesn’t have to be earthshaking to be important to character: Leaving home is important if the character is afraid she may never return. Being stuck in an elevator is important if his only chance at an Olympic gold is in half an hour. This is where writers ramp up their imaginations. We put ourselves into the skin of our characters and find what threatens them in their world. The stakes must matter to that character. If we have created a character that engages readers, then the quest will seem important to them.

When your characters are tested by danger or threatened by adverse circumstances, it gives them a chance to grow emotionally and spiritually. This, while not always necessary to the plot, is necessary to reader satisfaction. And as writers, we eat and drink reader satisfaction. 
About the Author

Marion Crook has written many books for young adult and middle-grade readers. Here, she offers advice on writing, publishing, and marketing. Crook’s background in child development education as a nurse and her Ph.D. in education give her solid knowledge, but she maintains that a keen observation of people, places, and events can be the author’s most useful tool. An experienced teacher and writer, she gives her readers clear and practical tips, with humor and obvious understanding of what it’s like to write and publish.

1 comment:

  1. By reading the works of other authors posted here I picked up some new ideas. Thanks for such an interesting site.