In February I took a class from Judy Blume.
YES that JUDY BLUME! She teaches it through Masterclass.com which, if you don’t know about it you should. I have three classes I signed up for but I have only taken one, hers. Writing lessons from Judy Blume? I couldn’t wait to take them.
If you are even thinking about writing middle grade fiction you should learn from the master.
Judy Blume writes fiction that is honest and straight forward. She is a straight shooter who writes it as it is. Her fiction spans from middle grade and a bit younger to adult fiction. Her voice is her voice and it is recognizable in any genre.
What is also true is that as adults and as kids she never writes down to us.
She wrote mg fiction for an mg audience that she respected. Back then I felt that she was one of us. She didn’t write stories about us she wrote as us. Judy Blume helped us navigate the world of being a kid to being a young teen to adulthood. She made it ok to discuss, periods, making out, sex, family life, friendship, and sibling rivalry.
While she is writing less, she and her husband are running an independent book store in Key West. There they get to connect with readers every day and encourage kids to keep reading.
What did I learn from her?
It is a mix of what I learned as a reader of Judy Blume and what was reinforced by listening to her classes. Here are the 5 writing lessons I learned from her.
1) You should always treat your characters honestly.
This goes to my brother’s advice, Characters will do what is in their perceived best interest.
2) You should use the language that is realistic for that character but also remember your audience.
If you are writing for MG readers you probably want to keep the bad language to a minimum but there also may come a time when it is necessary to the event.
3) Readers are smart. Readers are, by definition, well read.
4) Don’t write down to kids.
When you were a kid did you want to be talked down to? Didn’t think so.
5) If it doesn’t advance the story or illuminate the character it goes.
That is the best single sentence about writing anything but especially for a younger audience.
Check out Masterclass.com there are classes for all types of artists, writers, performers and more. If you are writing for Middle Graders or really anyone at all, take Judy’s class. There is much to be learned from a master and an author who has consistently published for 50 years knows what they are doing. I can’t tell you how many times I wish I had my dad around to ask questions of and discuss writing.
Click below for more info on Judy Blume’s class.