Thursday, February 16, 2012

The ABC's of Middle Grade: K is for Kinetic

Kids move. They move fast. They are full of energy. They are kinetic. When I was a kid, I went through a phase where I cartwheeled everywhere instead of walking. Yes, indeed, I'm certain those were proud moments for my parents. So, taking this idea of busy, moving, kinetic kids, let's apply it to kid's books.

I'm aware that no book exists that every kid likes, nor will there ever be one. But there are books that appeal to larger groups of kids than others, and one thing that makes these books appeal to large and diverse audiences is the movement (the action, the plot, the kinetic energy--call it what you will) within these books. These books go somewhere, and they do it in an enticing manner.

Exactly HOW these books do this is another thing altogether. I can come up with the brilliant observation I did--that books need to move and go for kids to appreciate them--but there are unending possibilities as to how this works within a story. And that, my friends, is what I leave up for discussion today.

How do you build movement in your stories? How do you make your stories kinetic?

10 comments:

  1. I'm thinking a serious goal, or a daunting task or an incredible one can make a story kinetic.

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    1. The idea of a daunting task is so intriguing.

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  2. Great word. I like how kids skip instead of running.

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    1. Skipping kids always make me smile because one must be happy in order to skip, don't you think? Adults need to skip more often.

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  3. To keep the story moving, I try to keep the dialogue short and only what is necessary to the plot, as well as moving the characters from scene to scene. No one wants to read an entire chapter about two boys sitting on the couch commenting to each other about what's going on in their lives. Instead, have them playing sports or working on a homework assignment together or something else. Keeping the characters involved with something helps the reader feel the "action" of the book. At least that's my thoughts! :)

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    1. Two boys sitting on the couch! That made me laugh out loud. Great ideas, Jennifer.

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  4. Throw in a whaling ship, perhaps a "doomed" one...and a race to save the day!

    I like your K.
    It is very mechanical-looking.

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    1. Kristen, hmmmm. Yes. I think I've read a little something about a doomed whaling ship and a race to save the day. :-)

      The K looks like it's moving, too, don't you think?

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  5. Great word. So describes kids and what they like. Like in plots that move fast like them. I've had to cut unnecessary scenes to keep my plot pace up.

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  6. Hmmm...when I write, to help keep things "kinetic," I try to make sure characters are doing something different from chapter-to-chapter, whether it's in the form of them being in a different setting, interacting with someone different than in the previous chapter, etc. Even the slightest change in detail can help keep things fresh!

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