Thursday, September 1, 2011

Ages and Stages

The family survived post-deployment reintegration with minimal scars. The kids survived the first day of school with minimal drama. And I survived another birthday with minimal irritation.


Since that fateful day, my spam box is now frequently overrun with new ads which read:

50+ dating! Love and seniors is our specialty!


I will concede that I am no spring chicken anymore. My knees remind me of this every time I run or sit at my computer for a few hours. I creak worse than the stairs I limp down every morning.

But I am, in no uncertain terms, anywhere near the makings of a senior. Nor am I in the market for a new hubby.

The author of these emails has no idea who they are writing to. They have no idea about the minor irritation they have caused in a slightly over 40 year old married woman who will never, EVER, use their website.

Because at some point, you have to think about what you're doing. And who you're doing it for.


I agree with the common advice given to young writers (in experience, not age) encouraging them to focus on writing their own novel rather than trying to make it fit into something. The freedom that comes with that experience helps them to learn how to develop voice.

But Chapter Books are not Middle Grade are not Young Adult. Elements such as word usage, theme and style are different for each age group because the audiences are, developmentally, at very different stages.

Most beginning writing I've critiqued, including my own, falls into a grey area. Not because the stories defy categorization, causing everyone to swoon and offer million dollar deals, but because critical elements of language squeak and creak down the stairs worse than my knees. Which leaves your book with plenty of scars, and you to face the drama moment of divorcing your novel and then searching 50+ new ideas to find a new love to work on.

Take time with that new love. Develop it. Take it through ages and stages. Your work deserves more than blind writing tossed to the internet wind of an agents mailbox.