This last week my wife and step-daughter were out of town. This left me with my step-son, 3 biological sons, and our baby girl to play Mr. Mom with. While most of you are shuddering with visions of Michael Keaton in a flannel shirt, feeding his baby chili, I will have to tell you my week was nothing like that. I spent time taking my boys on their paper route, teaching them to make tin foil dinners on a grill, eating out at a pizza place with a play-land, and making various ice cream treats. It was pretty smooth.
Alas, I was not able to get much writing done as a result. I didn't even have time to write my blog.
I have been doing alot of visualizing though. Hanging out with two ten year old boys, with their eight year old brother, as well as my other six year old son, I was able to learn alot about my target audience. First, they have a pretty grown-up vocabulary. Even the six year old. They also are able to get very complex concepts. Finally, I learned that their love of violent video games was deeper than I was comfortable with.
All these things I will take into consideration as I work on my book. Dialogue, complexity, and video games will all play a part in my novel.
I am convinced that it is close to impossible for someone who isn't familiar with children to just decide to write a novel for the middle grade audience. They would talk down to them, miss the correct voice in dialogue, or just totally fail to pique their interest.
Lucky me. I can do research walking through my living room at home.