Sounds odd coming from a fiction writer, on a blog for fiction MG writers, right? But let me explain. I love fictions stories. But sometimes, the real world is even cooler than the things we can make up in our own heads. So why not use them?
We’re writing for 9-13 year olds and if there is one thing I know about that age is that they love to learn. Well, less that they like to learn, but more that they like to know things. Teachers and school? Bahaha. No. But being able to tell someone about the ice caves in Alaska? or the cliff mountains in China? Or the pink lake in Australia? Yes!
So use the information around you (I’m a big google fan) to your advantage and pull in your readers in a way you never have before. Teach them something. Entertain them but show them how amazing the real world can really be.
Topic One: settings.
This is one of my favorite ways to take an average story and make it extraordinary. Because you can place nearly any story into a new setting to take it up a notch, or ten.
Making a story stand out can sometimes be more difficult than we’d like. The story pulling at your heart strings might be a story that’s been done too many times. A story that you’re afraid won’t stand out enough in the slush pile or even on the shelves. Do you put it down and try something else? Maybe. But I’m a fan of following my heart. I think you should to.
So here’s plan B. Open up your browser, or walk into the book store, and start a little research. Maybe that quest your character must go on will take him to the pink lake in Africa (there’s also one in Australia) instead of a forest on the outskirts of town.
Or maybe instead of growing up in a small town in the united states she grew up in the city in Bonn germany where the tree’s form a roof over the town in the spring time.
Or instead of getting lost in the mountains, your character gets lost inside the selenite crystals of the Naici mines in Mexico.
Kids don’t want to feel like they’re being taught something, they want to experience something. Reading is the perfect way to do that. Give them the kind of adventure they won’t ever forget. The kind that could inspire curiosity for the world’s great places.