Chapter 15 of 24 from Judy Blume

Creating Plot Structure - Part 2

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Judy discusses how settings can act as secondary characters and how to give your book the ending it deserves.

Topics include: Using Flashbacks • Write for Places You Know • Creating Satisfying Endings • Sensing the Ending

Judy Blume

Judy Blume Teaches Writing

In 24 lessons, Judy Blume will show you how to develop vibrant characters and hook your readers.

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I like flashbacks. It can certainly illuminate your characters, and help you tell the story forward, once you know everything that happened. I like backstory. Backstory, to me, is very interesting. If I'm reading a book and I'm interested in the character, I want to know that backstory. That's harder to do, maybe, in a kids' book, because it may be harder for a young reader to go back and forth that way, but don't quote me on that. I'm not sure. But in terms of using flashbacks, I think, fine. And what else I think is fine is write those flashbacks. That's your backstory. And if you don't get to use it, fine. At least you know more about your character, and that's what counts. [MUSIC PLAYING] Settings. In the beginning, I never thought of settings. I was born and raised, and when I started to write in my [? twenties, ?] I still lived in suburban New Jersey, and I knew it very well. So it never really occurred to me to set a book anywhere else. Fudge is an exception. Fudge lives in New York City for the first book, but then he moves to New Jersey. Then he goes back to New York City. So I never gave a lot of thought to the settings. I mean, all the little towns in New Jersey that I knew, I would set the books there, because place wasn't important to me in those books. Later on, I wrote books where place was very, very important, where place becomes a character. And it's interesting, because if you know a place really well and you read a book that someone has written set in that place, you know, that person doesn't know this place. It's OK. It could still be a really good book, but you know that. And so I didn't want to ever do that. Summer Sisters is set on Martha's Vineyard a place where I had spent 20 summers, and I understood how it worked. And I knew it, at least from a certain point of view. I knew my view of Martha's Vineyard, and I understood it, and I understood the island. And I felt that Martha's Vineyard was every bit as important a character as Vix or Caitlin, in that book. When I wrote Smart Women, I lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and, again, the story in Smart Women is falling in love again at 40 and bring all your baggage and your children with you, and what is that like. And I wrote the book set in Santa Fe. And then I read it, and I thought, no. I can't do this. I knew Santa Fe really well, but Santa Fe was a small town. My teenagers were there, my husband's teenager was there, his ex-wife was there, our friends were there, and all the children's friends were there. I didn't want to hurt anyone, and I also didn't want people to play games. "Oh, I know who that is. I know who that is. Oh, did they really do that?" And of course it's fiction, but it was set in Santa Fe. So I decided to go on a quest, and the quest took us-- George went with me-- to places around the country wh...

Write timeless stories

Judy Blume broke the rules. Her refreshingly honest children’s books were banned by hundreds of libraries—and loved by generations of readers, who bought 85 million copies of classics like Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret and Superfudge. In her first online class, the award-winning author teaches you how to invent vivid characters, write realistic dialogue, and turn your experiences into stories people will treasure.

Watch, listen, and learn as Judy teaches her first-ever writing class.

A downloadable workbook accompanies the class with lesson recaps, assignments, and supplemental material.

Upload videos to get feedback from the class. Judy will also critique select student work.

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Judy Blume

Judy Blume Teaches Writing