Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Once Upon a Time in Real Life

Once upon a time, I believed in fairy tales, and in an end to the pandemic. I still believe in fairy tales.

Yesterday's daily evening half-hour walk extended to over an hour as I rediscovered the wonders of nature along two separate paths. With the sun lowered behind high rises, the temperature had cooled a bit, making for a more leisurely outing. Birds along the parkway playfully zoomed overhead - no internet required for their informal gathering. In the canal, several ducks paddled in the wake of a slow moving motor boat while others congregated along the bank. All was quiet in a town often filled with sounds of police and ambulance sirens, revving motor bikes, and never-ending traffic.

Long ago, I blocked out most daily street noises and prefer the bustle of active life. But lockdowns and extended stay-at-home orders have now become a way of life that requires imagination and patience to navigate. Keeping busy is not an issue, but rather taking time to relax and enjoy small pleasures is what needs reminding - every day.



Wednesday, August 25, 2021


One of my projects has been to explore and experiment in the craft of writing stories in various genres and topics. An example is the 26 short stories I wrote in an eclectic assortment of genres for an April 
AtoZ Blogging Challenge. The research, reading, and writing involved were all beneficial learning experiences for me. (The master plan is to include the stories in a wider project.) 

Many writers focus on one particular genre. Mystery writers can choose from a plethora of subgenres: Cozy Mystery, Police Procedural, Hard-Boiled Detective, Soft-boiled Mystery, and Thriller, for starters. Sub-sub genres can include vampires or fairies or science fiction characters that meld with cops and robbers. But even with all these choices, mystery writers sometimes decide to branch out into a totally different genre, such as Young Adult fiction.

Stories in every genre hold a mystery, and mysteries remain at the top of my list for reading and writing. Yet all genres have unique appeal, with young adult fiction ranking high. Some of the articles concerning YA fiction writing are timeless in their information or advice. Much has changed in the marketing industry, but when writing novels for a specific genre the rules, guidelines, and writing process remain fairly solid. 

As has my addiction to dark chocolate.

Of course, YA and Mystery aren't necessarily exclusive genres, but writing for adults and for young adults can feel like writing for two completely different worlds.

For those of you interested in or toying with the idea of writing YA, several timeless blog posts I've found interesting offer excellent advice for writing in the Young Adult fiction genre.

Links are included below.

Cherie Colyer wrote an article, Writing for a young adult audience, that gets right down to basics of audience, character development, and protagonist backstory.

This is an interview of author Stacy Juba by author/interviewer Judy Penz Sheluk:
plus: 10 YA Sports Novels for Teens and Tweens:

Brian Klems welcomed teenaged writer Jamie S. Margolin to his blog site, The Writer's Dig, to discuss What NOT To Do When Writing YA Books:

This is a post about the " Top 5 Dos of Writing YA Lit" on the WiseInkBlog (actually 4 with a "don't" included):

And here are some writing tips from editors concerning authenticity, subject matter, and trends when writing YA:


With this information at my fingertips, I may decide to write a young adult mystery of my own. Of course, this will require a whole new mindset and a willingness to take myself back to the days of my youth. Maybe I'll begin by stocking up on chocolate - and rereading a good YA novel by a fellow mystery writer to get me in the mood:


Review comments:
The character development is awesome
Wonderfully interwoven twists and turns