Shannon Stacey

The young reader

Have I told you about my biggest fan? She may even be a fangirl. My titles and release dates are written on her fridge. She called me, squealing, from Borders when she saw Forever Again on the shelf.

She’s my little sister, and she’s 10. (8 weeks younger than my son, and they are the best of friends.)

Imagine how hard it is to be an enthusiastic fan when you’re not allowed to read the books. (While Forever Again has no sexual content, it does have adult “themes”, I guess you’d say, and it will probably be a couple more years before she can read that one. The others…never.) But she manages, and she does it so well she can make her big sister feel like a star.

So I’ve been a little distracted lately by wanting to write a book for her, and for my own son, of course, though he shows much less interest in my career than my sister. I would love to write a book she could read and love and show her friends.

But I know nothing about writing books for that age. I don’t even know what it’s called. Young YA? Middle readers? I have no idea. And I bet those books—the ones with blessedly short word counts, larger fonts, lots of white space—are a bitch to write. I’d even go so far as to say fiction for that age group is one of the hardest genres there is to write.

And yet, here I sit, dwelling on what I could write for the percocious, wicked smart, funny, christian-schooled 10-year-old girl who totally rocks my world.

4 comments to “The young reader”

  1. Beth
      · May 18th, 2006 at 1:41 am · Link

    I think the term you might be looking for would be “Tween”

    I work in a library. We just did a 6 month book club for that age group (10-14 roughly). We named it “Tween Reads”

    They are the hardest to find books for. I always want to give them Young Adult books.
    Three of the books we used for the club were Holes by Louis Sachar, Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey and Eragon by Christopher Paolini (just to give you an idea of the types of books that worked for us with that age group.)

  2. Bryan
      · May 18th, 2006 at 8:09 pm · Link

    I don’t think I could even contemplate writing for my neices and nephews. Even if I was to try a Peter Pan-esque story, I’m still pretty sure they wouldn’t be allowed to read it until after they turned 18 (Wendy was hot!) :shock:

    Well, tomorrow is another Starbuck’s day for me. I hope everybody writes 10 pages and gets a good caffeine buzz (or gets a good caffeine buzz then writes ten pages).


    I’ll let you know how things went on Saturday.

  3. Shannon
      · May 18th, 2006 at 9:56 pm · Link

    What’s sad is that before the short kid was born I was the children’s librarian in our town. But I think 1—two totally different parts of my brain and 2—I think juvenile fiction has changed in the last 6 years. I don’t know if it’s Harry Potter or what, but it seems to be revitalized, somehow.

    I’m going to have to check out a bunch of books and see what’s what.

    And my tall kid loves Paolini! :nod:

  4. Crystal*
      · May 19th, 2006 at 5:52 pm · Link

    Juvenile fiction. That’s the age group your sister has. If she were a bit older-12 to 13-she might qualify for Teen Fiction.
    That’s lovely to have such a fan.


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