By Felicity Pulman
I’ll be talking about ideas: where to look for them and how to build on them at the upcoming CYA conference, and I’m hoping you’ll find these remarks (and questions) helpful to think about in the interim.
What comes first for you when thinking about a story for children/YA? A character, a situation, a mystery to solve or maybe a problem at school or at home? Any or all of the above could be a powerful and motivating force to start putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) bearing in mind that, in the first instance, you are writing for the child within rather than for an audience ‘out there’.
It’s also important to know your writing style: are you a ‘pantser’ or a plotter? Do you jump in with an idea and just go with the flow (ie fly by the seat of your pants) or do you like to have everything neatly plotted out before your start? There is no right or wrong way: primarily you need to go with your gut feeling and write what feels right for you (and for your characters.) BUT – as I discovered to my cost when writing the first published version of my Shalott trilogy – you should always have some outcome/destination/ending in mind for your characters, as this will be the engine that drives your narrative even if, at the start, you have no idea how you’re going to get there!