How will I find all my new classes? What will I wear!?
- Posts every Monday and Friday!
- New friends (AND NO LOCKER COMBINATIONS! YES!)
- Tips and advice
- Moments of doubt and rage about writing and the publishing process
- Hopes and dreams (which are sometimes crushed and sometimes achieved in moments of absolute glory)
- How to get into the head of a Middle Grader
- Interviews with published authors, agents, and writer hopefuls
- Giveaways and lots of fun!
Rocket Scientist Extraordinaire who writes MG and YA Science Fiction
Jamie's Middle School Memory -
I was always a ball of nerves on the first day of school. What would my teachers be like? What kinds of things would I learn? Would it be hard? But despite all the nerves, the thing I love most about the first day of school - new school supplies. Picking out a backpack, and colored notebooks. I was an organizational freak and back to school supplies was my nerd heaven. A blue notebook for Science, a red one for English, a purple one for Math, and a green one for History. Some brand new pencils and I was set to go. I was always prepared, in fact over prepared. I always had twice as many supplies as required! And no I didn't share because people stole my stuff!
Come back on 8/21 for Jamie's first post and enter to win a query + synopsis critique!
Stacey's Middle School Memory -
Come back 8/23 for Stacey's first post and a 3 chapter critique giveaway!
Brooks' Middle School Memory -
We started out by copying our favorite NKOTB moves and paired them with some of the super-aggressive boxing-style steps of Marky Mark. We eventually graduated to Vanilla Ice and after watching the video for a week straight, we made a pact:
I asked our principal and he OK'ed the plan. The crew began meeting at school in the evenings to practice on the outside basketball court. My dad drove me every Monday and I remember making him turn the truck away from us because I was too embarrassed for him to see me dance (I guess I just assumed he wouldn't look in the rear-view mirrors).
To this day I wonder what my middle school life would've been like if we had performed. What doors would've opened if we had kept our promise to dance in front of that crowd? Actually it probably would've just landed me in a world full of wedgies and super-noogies back then, but... I can't help but think it totally would have been worth it.
Come back on 8/26 for Brooks's first post and a chance to win a fully customized book trailer for your latest project!
It was sixth grade, during lunch recess. I was playing handball
with my good friend Mike at the time in this little brick nook at the
back of the school.
Tom's Middle School Memory -
So, there we were, innocently smacking a ball around, when who happens to stumble upon us, but my old crush. Mind you, this was a crush for me that lasted ALL through elementary / middle school and into junior high school.
She walks up to us, forcing me to stop playing in fear that I'd look like an idiot. She smiles and looks at me and out of nowhere asks, "Tom, how tall are you?". Now I took this as a normal question. We were friends after all, and didn't expect any hidden agenda. So I told her "Taller than you."
She laughed and said "I don't believe you, let's see." She walks up to me, goes face to face with me and says "Okay, I guess you are taller." Then, without warning. Smack. A kiss right on the lips. TOTALLY OUT OF LEFT FIELD. Mike just looked at me and gasped. She ran off all smiles and went back to her laugh with her friends.
Later that day, it was all Mike and I were talking about over some Nintendo games. SHE ACTUALLY KISSED ME. Strangely enough, we never talked about it or anything. Nothing came of it. No middle grade dating. We were still friends all through high school, but my crush eventually diminished. Still, it was the coolest thing to ever happen to me as a kid with a crush.
Come back on 8/30 for Tom's first post and a giveaway for a drawing of your main character and antagonist!
Robert's Middle School Memory -
During the summer of my sixth grade year, we were outside playing Tarzan - taking turns climbing, swinging and jumping out of the crab apple tree in our yard. When it was his turn, he swung out of the tree and faked an injury. (That was the story I told later, anyway. You see, I might not have been as smart as my brother, but I knew an opportunity when I saw one.)
When he jumped/fell out of the tree, he landed funny and stayed down on his hands and knees for a minute, reaching back for his ankle. That was a BIG mistake. I grabbed all the crab apples I could find and shouted something like “Die you evil ape!” I fired crabapple after crabapple at him, releasing the fury of eleven years of second places out on him.
While he protested and crawled to the back door, I continued to shout and pepper him mercilessly with the marble sized fruit. Soon, my younger brother joined me in the attack. And with each strike, we negated painful memories of important losses to him. Monopoly, Risk, Battleship, War, Checkers - ah the sweet relief of blasting my helpless brother with crab apples is a fond memory I will take to my grave.
When my older brother eventually reached the back door and opened it (still on his hands and knees) mom met us, and we knew we were busted. He looked up at her helplessly and I held fruity ammunition, poised to launch, when mom laughed. And I laughed. And my defeated brother crawled inside.
I finally won. I was the king of the jungle that day!
Come back on 9/2 for Robert's first post and a chance to win a copy of Wonder by R. J. Palacio and a copy of One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia!
Daniel's Middle School Memory -
I was going to turn the standard 'this person was a great hero' speech into something mesmerizing-ly funny. I wrote my speech on note cards, practiced in the bathroom a couple times and when she called on me the next morning, I was ready. I stepped in front of the class, and of course, since I was so good at this kind of stuff, I'm pretty sure they were all expecting white hot brilliance.
And then I started. "Dick Clark is one of the greatest heroes in American History." I looked up, 30 sets of eyeballs glazed over. The panic began almost immediately. You know, Dick Clark, of American Bandstand Fame of Dick Clark's Rock N Eve of TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes, the guy who even though he was old, looked unbelievably young. I mean, what a hero to American Men, right?
You get the problem, not only was this a terrible speech but the eight or nine laugh out loud moments I created in the speech were really "the guy giving this speech is a complete tool" moments.
My body temperature rose significantly, I sweat so much I created a puddle around my feet (hopefully that was sweat), and my voice shook uncontrollably. Mrs. Beery was kind enough to intervene, she told me to sit back down, relax and do the speech later in the period.
I spent the next twenty minutes in complete fear until finally she called on me again. I went up there and this time I bombed even worse. By the middle of it, tears were leaking from the corners of my eyes and I felt like I was going to be sick.
For the next year and half, I was terrified of giving speeches, talking in front of the class, or trying to be funny in front of people. That Dick Clark speech proved I was terrible at that sort of thing. Mrs. Beery tried to get me to join the school's speech and drama team but she was out of her mind.
Finally, the last spring of Junior High, she pulled me aside and told me she had found a couples drama skit, written by Neil Simon that I just had to do and she wouldn't take no for an answer. The good news is, I wouldn't be all by myself, I'd have a partner to lean on.
I was scared, but I said yes. Michelle and I practiced our play every day, we kept getting better and at the end of the year city wide Speech and Drama Tournament, we finally performed for real.
Since that day, I've never again been afraid to talk in front of an audience and I have Mrs. Beery to thank for it.
And for the record, I've never done another speech on Dick Clark.
Come back on 9/6 for Daniel's first post and a chance to win a big picture critique of half your book or white chocolate sheet cake bars!
We've got some good news. Here at Middle Grade Minded, we don't give homework on the first day (but no promises about those sneaky pop quizzes.) Instead, we give prizes!
Right here, right now, you can enter out launch giveaway!
Prizes up for grabs: Books, journals and a cool laptop case!