Saturday, February 18, 2012

Reference Book Rehash - Week 2 (WGBfYA)

Author: Regina Brooks
Title: Writing Great Books for Young Adults

This week I read chapter 2 in Writing Great Books for Young Adults by Regina Brooks. I'll admit I left it until the last minute - I read it Friday - but I got sucked in and read a couple of chapters before I made myself stop and focus just on chapter 2.

Ms. Brooks does a great job of guiding the reader through exercises that lead to story ideas. All of the exercises in this chapter dealt with remembering emotions from when you were a teenager and using those emotions to come up with story ideas. I was surprised to find that it was easy to call up all of those teenage emotions. The story ideas they conjured were fun, and I'll definitely be adding a couple of them to my list of works in progress.

I didn't expect to be able to call up those teenage, angsty emotions so easily, especially when I can't remember a lot of the day-to-day events that happened then. Here's an exercise for you: try to remember a strong emotion from when you were a teenager. Call up that emotion. Feel it. Now use that emotion and imagine what type of a character would feel that emotion. Who are they? What's the story behind the emotion? Jot down the story idea and see where it goes.

The exercises in chapter two were more specific than this, each focusing on a specific type of emotion. I was surprised at the different places my teenage emotions took me. I went from a 1950s high school girl to a prince in a fantasy kingdom to a newly freed slave on an alien world. Where do your emotions take you?

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Week 1