"Here's a question: do any other YA authors out there get asked if they have kids of their own? Because when I say no, I get this look..." - Claudia Gabel.
When Claudia* twittered this out, it got me thinking. "Write what you know" is a great way to tap into pure feelings and experience. You can explore real-life texture and detail from your own life. You can provide genuine emotion, and finally take advantage of some of the crap you’ve been through by spinning it into fiction. But you can also get tangled up. You can get set in, “But that’s not how it really happened,” and force your story to follow a narrower path. I’m a big believer in spring-boarding real feelings into new creations. It’s just that when I do it, I have to remind myself to balance what’s best for the story. Real life doesn’t always translate into believable fiction!
I say: whether you have kids, know kids, or were one (what feels like) two seconds ago, don’t let anyone give you the look! Have faith in your gut and your imagination, prepare an answer for the doubters, and do what feels right! Plus you know, if we had to wait for writers to write “what they know”, there’d be no Labyrinth, no Neverending Story, and not even a George’s Marvellous Medicine (I hope!)
Do you think that having kids is key to writing YA?
Do you write what you know?
(Or if it is true, and you have to have kids to write YA, and be in love to write about love, etc. Let’s not ask what’s happening over at Stephen King's place...!)
*Claudia is super-sweet, super-talented, and has an AMAZING new publishing deal. I was lucky enough to work with Claudia on my book The Jelly Bean Crisis, and can say without hesitation: she rocks! Yay Claudia - so excited to read Elusion and Etherworld!
Keep kicking ass!