The Merry Month of May!

Happy Wednesday! May is here! Time for some literary merriment and whatnot.

Create more what?

More middle grade novels, of course! The best way to do that is by partaking in the wild and crazy May Mid-Grade Madness!

That meme is a little weird, but this sounds intriguing. Tell me more.

No problem! The main idea is to write a 20,000 word middle grade novel over the course of four days in the month of May. For all the details and history of this wacky idea, which dates back to 2012, head over to Laura’s post “Are you ready for some May Mid-grade Madness?” in which our fearless (and lovely) MMGM Leader Kara Laughlin lays down the ground rules and gives words of encouragement. Check out the Facebook Group and don’t forget to join if you decide you’re all in!

What a great concept! I really want to do this, but I have zero ideas.

Don’t let that stop you! Here’s some suggestions to kick the muse in the rear:

  • Pick a character from that young adult WIP that’s at an impasse or between revisions and write a nifty little prequel about him or her.
  • Got a clip file? Sift through it and see if something clicks.
  • Choose a favorite literary or movie romantic couple and write a story of how they meet as children (Can you imagine Lizzie Bennet and Mr. Darcy first encountering each other as nine year-olds? I imagine Darcy would end up face-first in the mud at Lizzie’s hands!).
  • Have some fun and write a fractured fairy tale.
  • Are you into history? If you find any one era or event of particular interest, try your hand at a mid-grade set during that time period.
  • Talk to your older relatives about their childhoods. Ask them to tell you about their best friend, schoolyard nemesis, treasured pet, standout vacation, athletic accomplishment or greatest disappointment.
  • Ask these same questions of yourself. Mine your own life!

Okay, fine. I do have one or two ideas. But, it’s already May 3rd and I have no outline, no character sketches, no setting…should I go on?

What are you waiting for, then? Get on it! Seriously, if you’re going to write 20,000 words in 96 hours, then surely you can take a week to establish a storyline and flesh out the main characters.

But, after that I have to pack and leave for my three-week luxury vacation.

Write when you get home. Now, go away before I hurt you.

All snarkiness aside – and I love being snarky – give it a try. The worse that can happen is you exercise some serious writing muscle and the best is you accomplish something you’ve never done before.

I’m in and hope you’ll join the insanity along with myself, Kara, Laura and others. The more the merrier!

Happy writing and illustrating!

About Susan Mannix

Susan worked as a biomedical research editor for the Department of the Navy for fourteen years and has been a member of SCBWI since 2007. She writes young adult and middle grade novels. When she isn’t writing, she spends her time doing all things horses, including attending her teenaged daughters’ many competitions. Susan lives in Maryland on a small farm with her husband, two children, an adorable black lab, two cats, and three horses.
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