Friday, February 17, 2017

Why I Write Middle Grade

A Wholesome Escape 

When I was growing up, C.S. Lewis regularly lured me into Narnia, all the way through high school. Every finals week, in fact. Battles with witches and hags involving grand forces of good and evil really broke up the monotony of studying.

Middle Grade fiction has a great capacity to draw readers in and entertain them for the rest of their lives. We all nurse a soft spot for our favorite early novels. They provided an escape from the sometimes harsh realities of life and an introduction to new places and ideas.

I'm a kid at heart and easily relate to 8-12 year olds. They’re fun, silly, inquisitive, and apt to pop off with unexpected comments and connections. When I teach creative writing to 4th and 5th graders, their insightful questions and wild imaginations always keep me on my toes. The middle grades are a crucial time of development, where tweens are discovering their interests and trying out new aspects of their personality. I love working with and writing for this age group because it’s a chance to help them see themselves as brave, courageous, loyal, and strong.

Middle Grade Fiction Inspires

My favorite MG novels taught me to believe in myself. If Karana could use her wits and courage to survive alone on the Island of the Blue Dolphins, I could use mine to solve drama between friends. If Meg from A Wrinkle in Time managed to save her father and brother from an evil telepathic brain, I could build love in a family torn apart by divorce.

I still relish the wonder found in MG novels, how they tackle tough issues in ways 8-12 year olds can understand. And frankly, the rest of us, too. Who hasn’t cried their way through Bridge to Terabithia, only to find peace at the end?

This is what I hope to create as a MG writer, books that enchant young readers, drawing them into a lifetime of reading. Books that inspire and motivate, opening their minds to whole new worlds.

Middle Grade is a time of wonder, a time of discovery, where our understanding of the world expands. What better time to explore fictional worlds as we’re struggling to understand our own? And who ever outgrows that struggle?

When I first started writing, I experimented with various genres, trying to find the right fit. Then my husband said, “Why don’t you write what you love?”

Well, now I do and I couldn’t be happier.

A Little About Me

My pen name is R. H. Roberts, but you can call me Renee. I'm Mom to seven awesome kids who don't mind eating burnt pizza when I'm writing (or so they say). I love cats, monsters and the sea, but not necessarily all together. Whenever I can, I SCUBA and snorkel to research for my upcoming underwater fantasy novel. I'm thrilled to join the blogging team here at Middle Grade Minded! Come say hello at my blog.



WendyMcLeodMacKnight said...

Love this piece, Renee!

R. H. Roberts said...

Thanks so much, Wendy!

Mirka Breen said...

Being a mom of seven would be reason enough to inhabit the world of Middle Grade stories. And you've got many to tell!

Unknown said...

A mom of seven who finds time to write. I am inspired!

Shari Green said...

Awesome post, Renee! So glad to have you joining us here at MGMinded! :)

R. H. Roberts said...

That's so true! I live and breathe Middle Grade through these kiddos!

R. H. Roberts said...

Thanks, Stephanie. It's what keeps me sane :)

R. H. Roberts said...

Thank you! I'm so glad to be part of the team. And by the way, cool sea star icon :)