by Margo Sorenson
Editor’s Note: Award-winning author Margo Sorenson, who has published more than 30 books for young readers and has been an SCBWI member for over 30 years, will be available to chat with you on Twitter this Friday (March 20) from 12 pm to 1 pm (Pacific Time). Keep on reading for her tips on how to write what you know without oversharing, and get your questions ready for this Friday’s live Twitter chat!
We’ve all heard the maxim, “write what you know,” but how can we leverage our true-life personal experiences in our writing without making our manuscripts shameless (blush!) tell-alls? In our upcoming live Twitter chat this Friday, March 20, we’ll explore some ways to use our past histories without incurring the possible wrath of family and friends or the excruciating embarrassment of having all our “deepest secrets” aired to (gasp!) young readers—but still keep our artistic integrity and creativity intact.
Acclaimed author Virginia Hamilton once wrote, “Writing is what you know, what you remember, and what you imagine.” Feelings and emotions are integral in writing, and when we stop and reflect, we really do know our emotions. Creating a main character that will resonate with young readers is often jump-started by tapping into these feelings. Those emotions we remember as kids—joy, fear, shame, love, and betrayal, among many others—will make our characters seem real and true to readers. However, it is key to separate “our real selves” from those strong, self-revelatory feelings that make us so vulnerable. That way, we can avoid turning our manuscripts into cringe-worthy “oversharing.”
How do we do that? Continue reading