Chapter 7 of 24 from Judy Blume

Writing for Younger Readers - Part 2

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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

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

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 thought Judy's videos were heartfelt and informative. I'm so inspired now to write my own books, Thank you Judy.

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.

Emotional, inspiring and really useful for me who is someone with an idea and a story but wanted guidance on how to develop. I love Judy Blume (even more than I did when I read her books as a 14 year old 20+ years ago!) Very satisfied.

Judy Blume is delightful and inspiring. I started a new novel while taking her class. I recommend this class highly.

Comments

Eryn B.

Judy seems really sweet and she's nice to watch but I can't say I'm getting anything out of her class. I find she'll say something, and it's true, but there aren't firm examples of how she goes about achieving what she says or she doesn't elaborate on key points...I mean, perhaps I'm tuning out a bit too much because I'm not hearing anything new (which isn't her fault) but I think her class lacks depth. I won't be continuing beyond Chapter 7.

Brenda M.

So true! You can't love writing without loving to read. And you love to read because you love to learn. I was a teacher for 28 years. I believe to be a teacher you have to love learning.

Wanita K.

I don't see myself writing a book. I read and love to read the writings of children. This class is energizing my short stories. This is a joy.

Rachel M.

I remember when I was in preschool, I got in trouble a lot for...I can't exactly remember what it was but I think I was making too much noise. But I do remember the principal yelling at me and feeling scared and not knowing what I did wrong. Every adult who wasn't my mom or dad made me feel scared, even my grandparents. My parents said I was being rude but I was really just scared of getting yelled at. The problem carried over even through high school. I was afraid to speak or make any kind of noise and when I did it came out wrong and I got in trouble. I got in trouble for speaking and I got in trouble for not speaking. I couldn't win. So I turned to stories. Reading and writing them. They were something I could do quietly and by myself and I wouldn't be bothering anybody.

Rachel M.

"Alice in Wonderland" remains one of my favorite stories, the book and the movie adaptations (especially Disney). As an adult I now realize why I loved it so much. I identified with Alice. There were times where I was trying to make sense of the big, crazy world around me and all I got in return from the adults was responses I didn't understand and they would talk down to me like all the adults in Wonderland did to Alice. But Alice who was around seven (according to the book) definitely wasn't stupid, but highly analytical with her little monologues and musings, though she didn't always make the smartest choices. As confusing as the story is, it's definitely one of my favorite examples of a young heroine.

Victoria

Judy is amazing. I wish I'd read her books when I was young... probably would have been a whole lot easier to grow up. ;-)

Olie K.

When I read to get ideas I make sure to take notes on descriptions, dialogue, names, and small summary's of scenes.

Antoinette C.

Thank you. I am reflecting on my children and how they perceive me now verses how they perceived me before their fathers campaign against me vs how they felt when they were very young when they were nurtured. It is based on how their fathers feel about me. Since both were heartbroken over me wanting to leave, they turned my children against me and told them I did not understand them. It does not take much to turn children's minds. The reality is that I understood them all better than anything. My only crime was caring for them and wanting them not to self destruct.

Young Dreamer

..."I fell off the sofa laughing"... I so very much agree! Beverly Clearly and Judy Blume were, (and still are), my favorite authors.

Mia S.

'Voice, I think, is equally important for younger readers and adult readers. Pace is essential in a book for young readers. Boring is the biggest turnoff. I like energetic writing, I like fast-paced writing, and I don't care what age I'm writing for, although I know an adult audience will give me (I'm not at all sure of that) 100 pages before they put your book down. Kids are not going to do that, you've got to hook them right away, because they're not going to give you 100 pages. Certainly when you're writing for a young audience, you want that first sentence to be like, 'Wow, I really want to know what this is about.' Try to get them on that first page. And even with an adult audience, you want it to be compelling right away. What I did do when I was starting out was I went to the library and came home with armloads of books, I would sit down at night and read them and then put them in piles: 'Boring, don't want to write books like this,' 'No, this doesn't appeal to me,' 'Oh this is fabulous.' There's no way to explain Beverly Cleary except that she was a genius and probably didn't know that either, she just did it. Bringing home the children's books just inspired me and let me know what I wanted to do and what I didn't want to do. Sometimes figuring out what you don't want to do is every bit as important as what you do want to do. If you say, 'I don't want to write books like these,' then that's helping you figure out what you do want to write, and why. See not just the great books, the classic books that are out there, but the books that are being published at the time when you are going to try to be published, because that's very important too: 'What is being published now?' Here's the big thing: How do you really learn to write? You learn to write because you're a reader, and you read and read. How else could you possibly know how to put a book together? You read and you see, 'Oh I see how it's done, and you can start here, you can start with dialogue, action, an interior voice. There's no right or wrong way.' But you would never know any of this, if you weren't a reader. When I meet people who say, 'I want to be a writer but I don't really like to read' I know that they're never going to be writing, because how could you possibly? I always loved reading, always. By being a reader, you're always studying how to be a writer, and you never stop. I never cease to be inspired by a good book. That's the homework, isn't it? To keep reading, keep studying."

Transcript

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...