Category: brave the page

Just one week until our new book, Brave the Page, comes out!…

Just one week until our new book, Brave the Page, comes out! Here’s a snippet from author Jason Reynolds’ introduction.

“See, I know a little (just a little) about writing novels, and what I can tell you is that the process is just like moving from one home to the next. Your character are your boxes… Your job is to take them from a familiar place, a place where they feel they belong, and get them to the truck.”

—Jason Reynolds,
Brave the Page Pep Talk author 

Preorder your copy of Brave the Page.

BRAVE THE PAGE Excerpt: Idea-Catching Mechanisms

Brave the Page, our brand new NaNoWriMo handbook for young writers, is available for pre-order! Partly a how-to guide on the nitty-gritty of writing, partly a collection of inspiration to set (and meet) ambitious goals, this is our go-to resource for middle-grade writers. Check out this Brave the Page excerpt on generating novel ideas:

Idea-Catching Mechanism #1: Mine Your Life 

“You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored,” author Neil Gaiman wrote. “The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it.”

When you mine your life, you look back through your past to extract sparkling sapphires as well as pieces of combustible coal. You dig deep to uncover experiences and emotions and memories and dreams, and then you gather them in a pile and watch as they ignite and spark story ideas. 

The nuggets you mine from your past don’t need to be epic or amazing or tragic (though they can be). They can be simple moments or heated conversations or the smell of your favorite holiday. It can be tat time when you were three years old and used your mom’s lipstick as a crayon on the freshly painted wall. Or that feeling you got when you aced (or failed) your math test. Or the color of the sky after you saw your grandfather for the last time.

Your memories might lead to wild new ideas. Or they might serve as a foundation upon which you build your story, as with author Joyce Hansen’s book The Gift-Giver, which came out of her past experiences. “I recalled my own childhood as I created the story, so that underneath what seems to be a contemporary middle-grade novel is actually a nostalgic memory of my years growing up in a Bronx neighborhood in the late 1940s and early fifties.” 

To get started on mining your life, take 10 minutes to write down (or draw) as many memories, experiences, and dreams as you can. Include a lot of details or a single word-whatever works for you. Do this every day for a week. 

Here are a few prompts to guide you if mining memories from your whole life feels too big:

  • Holidays or special gatherings
  • A time you tried something new
  • School events or field trips
  • A time that was particularly funny, happy, or sad
  • Family members or pets
  • A time you were scared or embarrassed
  • Your earliest memories

The Newest NaNoWriMo Book is Available for Pre-Order!

We’re over-the-moon excited to announce that Brave the Page, our brand new NaNoWriMo handbook for young writers, is available for pre-order

Partly a how-to guide on the nitty-gritty of writing, partly a collection of inspiration to set (and meet) ambitious goals, Brave the Page (published by Penguin Random House) is the go-to resource for middle-grade writers. Narrated in a fun, refreshingly kid-friendly voice, it champions NaNoWriMo’s central mission that everyone‘s stories deserve to be told. The volume includes chapters on character, plot, setting, and the like; motivating essays from popular authors; advice on how to commit to your goals; a detailed plan for writing a novel or story in a month; and more!

As our Kirkus Reviews starred review put it: “a wonderful instruction guide for writers of any age.” 

Pre-order your copy (and support our non-profit) today!