Lesson time 8:42 min
Give kids credit—they understand more than you think. Judy explains that authors should never write as adults talking to children.
Topics include: Don’t Write as an Adult • Add Nuanced Teenagers to Adult Books • Energize Your Writing • Read to Understand
We all have to be very, very careful to be the kid when we're writing. So of course, we're never ever talking down to them. We're never ever preaching. We're not an adult telling children a story about being a kid. No, no. We are that kid. That's where we are. We might know a lot more because we're adults, but we don't announce that. That might come through character and action and dialogue, but we never ever are an adult talking down to a child. I don't care if you're five years old. You're a real person. You have real feelings. I'll bet you remember because I certainly do when you were young about certain adults who always talk down to you-- oh, you little cute thing. But really, if I meet a five-year-old, I want to talk to that five-year-old as a person, not as an adult saying you're such a cute little thing, even if she is a cute little thing. And she probably is. So because we don't ever want to lose sight of the fact that children are human beings and they have feelings and emotions and they have curiosity and imagination, and we don't want to forget that. So when we're writing-- now I'm preaching to you. I'm sorry for that everybody. But when we write, we write as we are them. My very best teenage characters are in my adult novels. They're in Summer Sisters. They're in In the Unlikely Event. They're in Smart Women. Those are my best teenage characters. So when I first wrote Wifey, that was the first adult book after many children's books. And I decided that I wanted to write this adult novel. And oh my god, everybody told me this is going to ruin your career and you have to use a different name and you can't do this. And blahdy blah. Well, as soon as you tell me I can't do something, I'm going to do it. That's the bad ass coming out even though the fearful, anxious child grows up into a bad ass woman. OK, so don't tell me what to do because I'm probably then I'm really going to want to do it. Maybe that's childlike, I don't know. But to find a voice for Wifey took me three or four months, to find a way to tell it. But once I did-- the writing, nothing is any different. It's just as hard. Then I wrote Smart Women, which is full of teenage characters, some of my better teenage characters, I think, and also Women. And it's told from various viewpoints. And it's just what world are you inhabiting. And then if you're going back and forth, you're inhabiting this teenage world. And then you're inhabiting this world of parents. But for me, it's fun. I like that. Again, it's a challenge. I like to be challenged. Voice, I think, is equally important for younger readers and adult readers. Pace I think is essential in a book for young readers. Boring is the biggest turnoff. I like energetic writing, and I like fast paced writing. And I don't care what age I'm wri...
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.
Judy's delivery is fantastic. You can see her honesty throughout the entire course. I've been to several writing conferences and I majored in English. If I had had teachers and speakers like her, I'd have started my writing career much earlier in life. Judy goes over everything. I loved it!
I have learned that even the best writers go through struggles and never give up. I have learned with her that rules are necessary but not essential, that imagination as a creative force is the real fuel behind every story.
Great advice. Writing for children can be a discouraging business.
What a great class! Judy felt like a mentor, providing tips, giving encouragement, and sharing her personal experiences to help me in my own.