Writing

Writing for Younger Readers - Part 1

Judy Blume

Lesson time 14:30 min

Learn how to tap into the childhood version of yourself to authentically relate to younger readers. Kids have big questions and want their lives reflected in the books they read.

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Judy Blume
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In 24 lessons, Judy Blume will show you how to develop vibrant characters and hook your readers.
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I have this feeling that those of us who write or maybe work in any creative field-- there was something about the way we were born, something about the way we were children, that set us apart. We're not better. We're not worse. We're not really different. But this is something that we have inside us. Maurice Sendak once said, I've never had children but I was a child. And I think that's true of all of us who write for children. We are in such touch with the children we were-- that little Judy, whoever she is. I mean, she's right there, you know, and I have such memories. Can you remember the way your classroom smelled on a wet winter day. All of the details-- I have them. They're with me. Other people don't. And that's fine. But I think that's a difference between those of us who choose to write for children, and those of us who don't. If I were trying to get you to go back into your childhoods, maybe I would start with school, and I would say put yourself into your whatever grade-- put yourself into a third grade classroom. Who's your teacher? Who's sitting around you? What are you doing? I mean, I can go back, today, into my third grade classroom, and it's all there. You have to make a real effort to do that-- to go back and to find those details no matter how long ago it was, and how much things have changed. And you know what? If you can't really get there, then absolutely go into schools. Ask if you can help out at a classroom where you're writing a book and you need to observe. I know lots of people who do that. During the course of writing a book, you want to be able to see it. I hated secrets when I was growing up, and I remember that. They were always keeping secrets from the children. Don't tell the children. Don't tell the children. Don't tell-- tell them what, what, what? And what I made up in my head-- in my stories-- was usually much worse than what I would have learned had my parents told me the truth. So I think there's that-- secrets that adults are keeping from children. Things that they think children don't understand that children actually do understand or want to understand. So I like writing from that point of view. But again, you have to put yourself back into the child that you were. But a lot of times, adults want to forget about it and block it out because it was tough. Because there's no kid who grows up without having a lot of problems. Nobody. And the things that you have to come to terms with and go through, and the way you're treated, and the way you've treated other people. But sometimes you have to force yourself back there. When I started to write, and I got the first two books out of the way, then I knew that I wanted to write about kids on the cusp. I liked the idea of the 11, 12-year-old just on the edge. Because somewhere around that age, ...


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 writing class, the award-winning author teaches you how to invent vivid characters, write realistic dialogue, and turn your experiences into stories people will treasure.



Reviews

4.7
Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I love this lady, and commend her for her fearlessness as a writer! Heaps of useful information within this class.

I really enjoyed this MasterClass and I am excited to put what I learned into my writing. It has given me the confidence to not give up and an insight into what it takes to work on and complete a book. Thank you!

I feel inspired after taking this class with Judy Blume. I've been reading her books since I was little, and it was a thrill to take a class with her. She's a great mentor, and I'm glad I had this opportunity.

I took the class because I was curious about writing for younger audiences, as it is not my area. Judy has some great advice. She has such a warm heart and emotional connection to what she does. I love how she keeps notes about stories and characters, as it's a lot like what I do. Very inspiring.


Comments

A fellow student

Judy's knowledge, experience and energy are all important factors that make her lessons engaging and binge-worthy.

Therese P.

Judy was amazing! I love that she really wants to tap into who these young people are versus telling them who to be. Applause! Thank you!

Eileen N.

She is just great. Love the enthusiasm. Found that a couple of her books were banned (this makes her even more appealing), subjects too realistic and in opposition to what most adults want children to believe. I remember reading a book about teenage pregnancy, cannot remember the title. The younger sister may have been Joan who perfected a snort of derision, the best friend was named Suky (who looked like hair was combed with an eggbeater) and the boyfriend called his pregnant girlfriend Funny Face. Does anyone remember this?? i don't think she tells him about her condition until maybe the end of the book if at all. Is it Jean and Johnny by Beverly Cleary? (that just came to me)

A fellow student

So much to think about. So many questions and so many answers. Life can be full of complications, whether we are children or adults, but perhaps children need to find answers in a special way, like in books that authors like Judy Blume write.

A fellow student

This is amazing! Judy is amazing! I actually have access to an author who brought such joy into my life when there was so much sorrow. I appreciate the practical suggestion of visiting a classroom or a location to spark memories for needed details.

Mary H.

In an era of absolutely out-of-control propaganda, Judy Blume is a breath of fresh air. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Bernays

Mary H.

In The Unlikely Event by Judy Blume is posted in WorldCat, along with this important book titled Geoengineering: A Chronicle of Indictment by Dane Wigington http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1011501472

Mary H.

"Tell children the truth so they won't be surprised when bad things happen." - author/Illustrator Ashley Bryan

A fellow student

Is it possible to download some lessons so that I can watch it without wifi?

Deborah

Judy's point about messages is good to keep in mind. Allowing the reader to discover what is meaningful to them is more motivational.