I started writing a young adult fictional novel last week. I’ve been reading quite a few of them lately and I really like the genre. Plus, it’s something, perhaps, that my God Daughters can read as they grow (if I ever finish it, that is).
I started originally with a story about a young girl, full of spunk, who had just lost her father. I wrote the first chapter quickly and was very thrilled with how it came out. But it quickly went no where. Do you know why? Because I am not a girl full of spunk and my Dad is still alive. I had no idea where to go next with this character. She was not me – and I had no idea what she would go through.
I neglected the first rule of writing: write what you know.
So I started again and began to draw, instead, on my own life story. Now my protagonist is a bit of a nerd. She longs to do more and be more adventurous. She looks to others for happiness. And she has pretty low self-esteem.
I’m hoping that she’ll have a bit more fun than I did as a kid growing up though – I was much too serious and strait-laced.
As I draw upon my own life, I wonder what things, besides some of my traits, she’ll encounter.
Will she have some of the “toys” I did (even though she is fifteen and not really playing with toys anymore.) My parents had a small set of the President’s through the ages. I loved that thing. It wasn’t really a toy, but I played with it and learned all my president’s with it (up to Nixon anyway). They were plastic and had bases that said what years they presided over our country. I remember that Taft was rotund. Washington his white wig. Lincoln had his weird beard. Unfortunately, and much to my chagrin, my parents sold the set a few years back. It was like part of my history was gone. But when I decided not to have children they decided to get rid of it. Now I wish I had it to show Megan and Naomi, but it’s gone. (Ebay maybe…)
Will my protagonist have a friend with an old beat up station wagon with the bumper sticker “Hug your kids at home, belt them in the car” like my friend Casey had?
Will she meet someone who moved to her state when he was young and still said “pop” instead of “soda”?
Will she fight with her best friend, who is like a sister to her really, the way I did? Stomping home to sit on her porch and “covertly” watch as her friend went about the day – seemingly oblivious to her anger?
I’m so excited to see what bits and pieces of my own life show up in my novel and so ready to get writing now that I know I have stuff to pull from. I can’t get this story out of my head really and it needs to be on paper. But I do hope my main character will come to some realizations long before I did (after all I can’t write a YA book about her from the age of fifteen to the age of forty…) and I hope she does have a bit more fun sooner than I did.
I guess I can go write that now. To make sure she does.