Crafting Authentic Books for Boys

Today’s post is from Darby Karchut, one of the six authors who participated in Write Your Heart Out 2018.  
Each of these talented individuals gave us a taste of the in-depth session they’ll be presenting at Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2018: Cindi Madsen, LS Hawker, M.B. Partlow, Kristy Ferrin, Debbie Maxwell Allen, and Darby Karchut.
For those who missed Your Heart Out, today Darby Karchut shares her expertise on Writing for Boys.Darby has a passion and an uncanny ability to get into the heads of middle-school aged boys. Read up here and consider attending her session at Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2018.  You won’t regret it.  -Gabrielle V Brown, Managing Editor


For folks who weren’t able to attend the 6th Annual Write Your Heart Out (the Pikes Peak Writers Conference’s sneak preview) on Saturday, March 3rd, I’m pleased to share an overview from my presentation entitled “This One’s for the Boys: Crafting Authentic Books for Boys.”
Based on the stages of their brain development, boys are more likely to:

  • act on impulse
  • misread or misinterpret social cues and emotions
  • engage in dangerous or risky behavior
  • unable to see potential consequences of their actions
  • struggle to modify their dangerous or inappropriate behaviors
  • tend to lag socially behind girls, and not catch up both physically and mentally until the teen years

That said:

  • they are capable of great insight and worldly reflections, mature emotions and mature decision-making, but they cannot sustain it for long periods
  • hence the rollercoaster we often see in older children and teens
  • Children mature differently at this age; okay to write unsophisticated teens
  • But, they all have one foot in childhood and one foot in adulthood, especially in MG and younger teen books
  • Dialogue should reflect this back-and-forth

Think about:

  • Starting your story with a bang (physical or emotional)
  • Throughout the story, ask boy questions:

How do I position myself with others?
How do I become a man?
Whom do I model myself after?
What do I aspire to do and to be?

  • Writing up, not down (honor your reader’s intelligence)
  • Making every character the hero of his own story (even the villain)
  • Using smart humor: body fluids/sounds can only go so far
  • Appealing to your reader’s sense of mischief; make them laugh, especially after an intense scene

Something I noticed:

  • Boys act and talk side-by-side
  • Girls act and talk face-to-face
  • Boys touch each other more than they used to (hands on shoulders, etc.)

What my male students told me:

  • Don’t minimize emotions (boys have them, just express them differently)
  • They are more clued into things than adults give them credit for, but sometimes, they don’t care
  • The boys wondered why book after book have horrible parents, so don’t be afraid to incorporate decent adult figures

Writing for boys—especially our middle school guys—is my passion. Why? I don’t know. It just seems that my world view’s default setting is from the perspective of a twelve year old boy. Does it matter? Nope. Not one bit. I write me. You write you. It’s all good. But I can tell you that boys who read grow up to become men who think and feel. Reason enough.


Darby Karchut is a multi-award winning author, dreamer, and compulsive dawn greeter.  A proud native of New Mexico, she now lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, where she runs in blizzards and bikes in lightning storms. When not dodging death by Colorado, Darby is busy at her writing desk. Her books include the best selling middle grade series: THE ADVENTURES OF FINN MacCULLEN. Best thing ever: her YA debut novel, GRIFFIN RISING, has been optioned for film. Her latest book, DEL TORO MOON, releases Fall 2018 from Owl Hollow Press. She is represented by Amanda Rutter at Red Sofa Literary. Visit the author at www.darbykarchut.com

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Solve the right problem

“A great solution to the wrong problem will always fail,” says Nielsen Norman Group’s Sarah Gibbons in her three-minute video on “User Need Statements in Design Thinking.” Nielsen Norman Group consults on website usability. However, much of what Gibbons discusses applies to other written materials, too.

User need statement

Gibbons defines a user need statement as “An actionable problem statement used to summarize who a particular user is, the user’s need, and why the need is important to that user.” Understanding this information will help you write better communications of all kinds. That includes blog posts, articles, white papers, and even emails.

It interested me that she spoke about the need to empathize with the user.

More resources

If you prefer to learn from written materials instead of video, check out Gibbons’ article on “User Need Statements: The ‘Define’ Stage in Design Thinking.”

To learn about my approach to understanding your audience, read my blog post on identifying “What problem does this blog post solve for them?” and my book, Financial Blogging: How to Write Powerful Posts That Attract Clients.

 

The image in the upper left is courtesy of Free photobank torange.biz [CC BY-SA 4.0].

The post Solve the right problem appeared first on Susan Weiner's Blog on Investment Writing.

BEANSTALKER and OTHER HILARIOUS SCARY TALES by Kiersten White / Book Review #BeanStalker

By: Kiersten White
Published by: Scholastic
Released on: July 25th, 2017
Ages: 8 & up
Purchase Links
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Rating: 5 Owlets
An arc of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

What about, once upon a time, a bunch of fairy tales got twisted around to be completely hilarious, a tiny bit icky, and delightfully spooky scarytales; in other words, exactly what fairy tales were meant to be. Grab some flaming torches, maybe don’t accept that bowl of pease porridge, and get ready for a wickedly fun ride with acclaimed author Kiersten White and fairy tales like you’ve never heard them before.

Snow White is a vampire, Little Red Riding Hood is a zombie, and Cinderella is an arsonist — and that is only some of the mayhem the reader will find in this collection of fractured fairy tales.

A laugh out loud debut middle grade book from one of my favorite YA authors. Kiersten White has created my favorite mix of fractured fairytales and nursery rhymes to date! I loved the way she intertwined, and interconnected so many classics, and the spin she gave each one. If having vampires, zombies and stepmothers isn’t enough to entice you, the illustrations, and the narration will be. 

This is the perfect blend of fairytales and nursery rhymes. Who knew you could combine stories like Snow White, The Princess and the Pea, Jack & Jill, The Dish and The Spoon, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Jack Be Nimble, Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, and the Stepmother. White’s intertwining of these stories was awesome! Numerous times while reading this book I wondered how White was able to pull this off so well. 

The narration in this story is my favorite part of the entire book. Talk about sassy! The narrator definitely stole the show in this book. It’s what made this story so much fun to read. It’s not just their self awareness that makes the narrator so appealing either. The narrator would make a great language arts teacher. Numerous times in this story the narrator points out the homonym and homophone words that characters miss. Like The Princess and The Pea. Let’s just say it’s not, well, you wouldn’t want to sleep on that mattress. This narration definitely makes for the perfect, hilarious, read aloud. 

This book is a must read! It’s equal parts hilarious, and spooky, though it is way more hilarious than spooky. It’s spooky in the best way possible, because some of these characters are not the sweet, innocent characters we all grew up reading about. The spooky twists come from some of them being vampires and zombies. This may be written for middle grade readers, but it will definitely be appealing to all readers ages 8 and up. Including adults. It was part of my Halloween read up earlier this week, but this is one book that can be read all year long.