Friday, March 18, 2016

Why I Write Middle Grade

Why do I write MG? 

Well, I LOVE it, for one. And two and three...

I also believe that almost every parent-writer, at one time or another, has had a story idea of their kids lighting up the page as the main character of a world they’ve created. (Am I right?) Well, that’s how going all MG happened for me.

I can't ever remember a time when I didn't write in some way. But up until a few years ago, I'd never written a whole book. Not that I didn't want to. Oh, I always said I day... If I ever had the time, when the time was right, if time allowed (if Time knew how much stuff I blamed on him he’d never speak to me again). But to be fair to the guy, I was happily writing along and never really felt pushed to compose something from beginning to end.

Until I needed to get my son to read.

*slides confessional curtain open* 

My son would rather eat a mound of booger-green vegetables than read a whole book.

Yes, I’ve checked into specialists.

And his DNA.

But never one to give up, I devised a plan: What if I made my son the star of his own story? Gave him the lead in an epic adventure, with alien-sidekicks and everything?

What kid could resist that? And other than words coming to life in the form of an Xbox game or a Lucky Charm’s marshmallow, how else was I gonna get his nose in a book?

Yup, tried cash. 

But soon the answer became clear.

                       THE PLAN

Write the story that would get my son to love reading! Just like Judy Blume did for me.

Except I’m not Judy Blume.

…Not even Udy Ume

But I loved to write and my son needed to love books (control issues: check).

So with my unsuspecting offspring vibrantly cast in his premiere leading role, I wrote my VERY FIRST whole story. And I’m not afraid to say I was gold-sticker proud if its beginning, middle, and end.

At first, my head was solely focused on what would engage my son, writing to his specific trigger points, creating anything that would make him want to turn the page. But the more I wrote, the more my brain sort of exploded with other stuff. 

...Ideas to expand one character then another, adding more stakes to enhance the story line…and wouldn’t it be funny if this character said this? Or did that? And what would happen if…

My brain went crazy! (yes, the good kind, this time). Soon, I was having a ball and creating a world, not only for my son, but for other kids as well. 

And for myself.  

I've been totally hooked and head-over-heels ever since!

What can I say? My epic plan turned into a mushy love story. 

*carves MG 4Ever on tree

So...will my son still take broccoli mud pies over a book? ...Mmmmm...not always.

But I can’t take the credit for that (although he did like dressing up in New Times Roman). There are some SUPERSTAR Middle Grade writers out who've helped open my son's heart and mind to books, and continue to inspire both of us with each new read.

I write MG because it gives my imagination a permanent hall pass to run wild.

...And if I could ever be any kid's Udy Ume, well, that would just be a dream come true!


Shari Green said...

"a permanent hall pass to run wild" -- love that! And being somebody's Udy Ume...that's a dream I could embrace, lol. Loved your post. Thanks for sharing!

Melyssa Mercado said...

Thanks so much, Shari!! Sharing the dream makes it that much sweeter! (-:

WendyMcLeodMacKnight said...

Love this Melyssa! So much fun and inspiring!

Melyssa Mercado said...

Thanks, Wendy!! (-:

Shari Schwarz said...

So inspiring, Melyssa!
xo Shari

Melyssa Mercado said...

Thanks, Shari!! xo!!

Unknown said...

Awww, Mel, I love this story! Not only are you Super Writer you're also Super Mom.:) Your son is lucky to have you...and we are all lucky that you write such hysterical and heartfelt middle grade stories! Thanks for sharing your middle grade beginnings:)

Melyssa Mercado said...

*smooshes your face* YOU are super awesome, Jackie!! xo