In my thirties I published picture books of fiction. To wided my range I added picture books and full length works of nonfiction. In my fifties I added poetry to reenergize me and hone my writing skills. In my sixties I began co-writing books for teachers.
In my seventies I told you in one of my posts that I wanted to see if I could successfully write middle grade novels. My first story, placed in Peru’s Amazon rain forest, was rejected by editors who said they liked the story but didn’t relate to the voice. I revised the manuscript and tried again. The editors liked the story but didn’t relate to the voice. I revised again. One editor liked the story but wouldn’t accept it because of the Our Own Voices movement: I wasn’t a Peruvian. Other editors said they liked the story but didn’t relate to the voice.
I wrote a second middle grade novel. It takes place in the Arizona desert. Editors so far have said they like the story but don’t relate to the voice. I’m midway into a third middle grade novel but have put it on hold until I figure out how to “fix” my voice. To me both stories are told well, but that’s the danger of being your own critic. Su Hutchens has read both manuscripts and provided wonderful input, a true gift from a true friend. I’ve read a handful of middle grade novels by friends who write them well and thought I’d learned from their examples. I think my next step is to read a LOT more of them.
One thing I won’t do is quit. I’m frustrated but challenged, and that, after all, is one of the main reasons why we all keep trying.