Monday, April 19, 2010

Writing in Multiple Genres: Challenges and Conflict

Dawn Aldrich is a writer and mother, and the author of Auntie's House, a children's picture book. She's also a member of the Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association, and is working on a nonfiction book for adult daughters of divorce.
Here, Dawn discusses what it's like to shift gears to write in a different genre.

AA: What is it like to make such a dramatic shift from children's books to adult nonfiction?

DA: Writing in multiple genres makes me feel a bit schizophrenic at times. While my subjects for both my children's and adult audiences are based on true stories, the words I choose, the voice I use and the focus of my writing must be completely different.

AA: What were the challenges, and how did you resolve them?

DA: Writing my children's book, Auntie's House, was very easy. Based on my relationship with my great niece and the days she spent playing at my home, research was minimal. The simple words worked their way out on paper in the child's voice and in rhyme in one sitting. My biggest challenge was coming up with a problem for my character to solve. As my editor explained, without a problem for the child to solve, all I had was a nice little poem. Inventing the problem took some creative thinking and revisiting my own childhood experiences at several aunts' homes. I asked myself, "What made those visits enjoyable or not so enjoyable?" My answer was the toys or the lack of them. Once the problem appeared, the story took on life and not only entertained the reader but also engaged them in solving the problem of the missing toys!

Visit Dawn's blog, Dawn's New Day or her website Dawn Aldrich.

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