Chapter 6 of 24 from Judy Blume

Writing for Younger Readers - Part 1

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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

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

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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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.

Reviews

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

I found excatly what I was looking for when starting to follow this masterclass : highlights and real moments shared by a true writer. Authentic, professional, human "discussion". Thanks !

Judy inspired me with her authenticity and love. All of us need encouragement - someone in our corner. I am eternally grateful to Judy for her support and enthusiasm and passion. She doesn't simply inspire me to write; she makes me want to be a better person. Thank you. ;-)

This class was encouraging and helpful. Great class!

This so far is the BEST Masterclass I've watched here. What I loved about it is that Judy does not give us the rules of how to write; she just tells her own story, and that will teach you everything you need to know. It's a true masterclass for a good listener. And Judy? I mean come one, what a human! I'm absolutely in love with her.

Comments

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. :)

A fellow student

When she talks about details from childhood, how do you keep from dating your work and introducing things that are not relatable to this generation? For instance, I remember very vividly the coil from the receiver to the base of the phone stretched across a room, but I hesitate to add that detail because I don't want to set my book in the 80s-90s necessarily.

Rachel M.

Yeah. I once attended a panel about themes and how it's actually better to come up with your theme after the first draft. I think it's really something that's more for reading than writing. Everyone's going to take something different from reading the story.

Rachel M.

While I am really more interested in fantasy and adventure than realistic fiction, I get what you're saying about 11- and 12-year-olds. It's around that age you start learning about the world and it can be scary. It's definitely and interesting age.

Alina D.

Many of my childhood memories are found in books....it has been an amazing treat to virtually meet Judy Blume and other writers whom we have met previously only through the lense of their work whether in print or in film. Mrs. Blume and others, thank you for being so kind and courageous to share your personal experiences with us. You inspire me to find my own voice to share with others....:)

Transcript

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, ...