From Judy Blume's MasterClass

Writing for Younger Readers - Part 1

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.

Topics include: Tap Into the Child You Were • Use Your Childhood Themes • Deal With the Complications • The Real Stuff • Make Them Feel Normal • Don’t Do Themes

Play

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.

Topics include: Tap Into the Child You Were • Use Your Childhood Themes • Deal With the Complications • The Real Stuff • Make Them Feel Normal • Don’t Do Themes

Judy Blume

Teaches Writing

Learn More

Preview

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 am an aspiring writer. This class has helped me to dream. It encouraged me that I can write regardless whether I know right grammar or not. English may not be my native language, but, I have story to tell. I will keep writing. I will keep looking for writing class to teach me the skill. Thank you so much Master Class.

I connected with everything Judy said. We had the same viewpoint and writing style. This was helpful for me to see how she applied it in order to produce richly developed stories.

I am in love with Judy Blume, in french i would call her "à fleur de peau"... she is mesmerizing and gave me hope that i can do it. Now it's up to me. Let's hope i can deliver. Maybe one day my book will grace the shelves of her bookshop. Thank you masterclass. And thank you Judy.

Having Judy affirm and re-affirm a few key guiding principles is invaluable. It is a great comfort to hear her advice and encouragement. Not all reviews/rejection will go down easy but if you don't put your stories out there you won't be a writer. Thank you for the course!

Comments

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.

A fellow student

These are very good lessons. There is a reason why my dad enrolled me in MasterClass

Brenda M.

I'm not sure about not having a theme. I've always thought that a theme is your purpose for writing. Maybe I have a different idea than others about theme.

Kay R.

I agree with no themes...trying to serve a theme is like a noose around your neck. It's so constricting and it's all you think about, and miss out on so many other avenues and opportunities. We can't force the reader to extract what we want them to...it's a horse and water situation.

Kai D.

"Their lives are complicated." That one line really rang true to me and I think it will be invaluable for my writing of characters that so far have only been on the sidelines. I feel like some of my characters read like a hollow shell and I hope this course will teach me to fill them. So far so good. :)