I wrote about 500 words tonight. I wanted to do more, but I had about 35 emails to answer for my work, and that took hours.
I'm having a lot of fun writing this middle grade novel, but I find myself doing a lot more deleting as I start to wander off on tangents that threaten to turn my novel on its side and make the subject matter more appropriate for YA. Yeah, bad things will happen in this book, but they have to be bad in a middle grade sort of way.
No one's going to offer my kids drugs. They're not going to be held at gunpoint by the cops for having a water balloon fight, and they're not going to run away and spend weeks sleeping on the beach. So basically, every time I start to put any of my life experiences into the book, I have to reel it back in. Yes, I'm going to have them in a gigantic water balloon fight, but it's NOT going to end the way it did in real life. It has to be nicer, more palatable. In a YA book, I could totally put in what happened to me and my friends, but in a middle grade book I might be able to use some portions of the experience, but definitely not the whole thing.
It's a much more delicate balance, and so even though I'm spending just as much time writing this one as I did my YA book, my word count is much lower at the end of the evening with this one because I have had to delete so much more.
That reminds me of a funny story. Earlier this year I went to a baby shower for a friend of mine, Shannon. She and I became friends long after the wild days of my youth. The party was held at a waterfront house in Kingston. Small world, one of my very old friends (Kelli) was also there at the shower. I had introduced Shannon and Kelli at some random point, and they had hit it off and so we were both invited to the shower. At one point Kelli and I were looking out the window, watching the ferry pull into the dock. The owner of the house was really nice and very cool, and she stopped by and talked to us for a couple of minutes. When she moved on Kelli turned to me and said, "You think we should tell her we used to sleep on her lawn?"
It was probably best that we kept that to ourselves.
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