Writing For Kids | Middle Grade Ninja: Author Jeff Norton



yeah yeah ask you you've talked about pulling in reluctant readers and as I was reading alienated I noticed obviously you've kept the chapter short there's a lot of action you're never going very long without action and there's a lot of humor is that markedly different than when you're writing for older readers and can you talk a little bit about what techniques specifically employ for middle grade writing yeah I think you know in a weird way and this wasn't that conscious but if you remember those choose are an adventure books they were very short chapters and then you got to make a decision and I think one of the things I wanted to do with alienate it is I wanted to have fairly short chapters so that a reader could feel a sense of accomplishment I think when you get to the end of a chapter if you're a reluctant reader you feel like man that's good look I just I've just read ten chapters or 20 chapters and I think part of what I can do is a writer for that audience is I can offer them that sense of accomplishment the humor helps right because if you keep people laughing they want to keep going and we all love to laugh but I think the idea of having sort of short Clippy chapters helps because you just get this sense of hey I you know I can keep going I can do this I'm gonna read one more oh it's only a few more pages I'll keep going I think it's something that we can offer the reader it's a nice feeling of accomplishment when you get there and get there quickly that's exactly right yeah I think that's right and I think for people who are you know are building up their level of confidence you know my hope is I mean alienate is it you know it's not an easy read I mean I there's some big ideas and there's some big concepts and there's even some big words but I'm also a big believer that that somebody who might be a bit of a reluctant reader maybe there aren't gonna get a hundred percent of the vocabulary that's in the book but they're gonna understand what's going on and that maybe don't graduate out of alienated and they'll they'll tackle you know will tackle some something that's a bit a bit beefier a bit Meteor but at the same time I just hope they have a great a great ride and what what is it you're hoping that most other than a great ride that readers will take away from alienated you know I think there's a lot of lessons in here you know I think there's there's there's definitely a big lesson about inclusiveness and about friendship and being friends with people who are you know in the most extreme way fundamentally different from you you know and I think one of the things that not only we as people who are looking after the interests of young people but just people frankly on the planet you know there's a lot of division out there right now and there's a lot of people who are seeking to exploit division I actually think one of the themes have alienated is you know what we're kind of all the same deep down we should we can just get along we can just get along so that's probably the biggest thing for me is this idea of you know and I know there's lots of words that are thrown around diversity and representation inclusion but you know fundamentally this is about the most diverse character set you can get and really everybody gets along in the end in a way that's really really beautiful actually so that young readers might say well okay some of the kids in my class are different for me but we're all humans at least we're not that different we could find a way to make this work that's good that's kind of the gag yeah that's kind of the gag is you know you know we I think we as human beings do all sorts of things to make ourselves be different from other people culturally religion whatever you name it but actually we're all very very similar and I think if we remember that we can get along a lot better and I think whether that's in a classroom environment or whether that's at a geopolitical level I think it's a it's a lesson worth remembering and it's a lesson that comes very organically through the drama and the comedy and alienated

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