Good morning! Today’s Tuesday Quick-Write is courtesy of guest author Megan Frazer Blakemore, who writes great middle grade novels like THE WATER CASTLE, THE FRIENDSHIP RIDDLE, THE SPY CATCHERS OF MAPLE HILL, and (new this summer!) THE FIREFLY CODE as well as YA novels like VERY IN PIECES. Megan joins us today with a writing challenge to “feel back” into our younger years.
I used to work in a small, independent high school where the faculty and students ate together. On the first day of each school year, I would watch the ninth graders step into the dining room and freeze.
These kids came from all over greater Boston, and many did not know any other students. They certainly did not know if there was any sort of protocol about who sat where, and none of them wanted to make a mistake. As I watched, my own stomach twisted and I ached for them.
One of my favorite quotes about writing for children comes from author Charlotte Zolotow who wrote in The Horn Book Magazine: “Many fine writers can write about children but are unable to write for them.… The writers writing about children are looking back. The writers writing for children are feeling back into childhood.” As I sat in that dining room, I was feeling back into childhood, to that social uncertainty.
With that in mind, I invite you to feel back into childhood and revisit the school cafeteria. Write a scene that takes place during lunch. This can be autobiographical, of course, but it need not be. Likewise, the example I provided reveals social awkwardness, but maybe your character is quite confident in this space. Working on a fantasy or science fiction? What does lunch look like in this world? Essentially, please feel free to adapt this prompt to your needs, and share a little of what you wrote in the comments if you’d like. I look forward to reading!