Au­thor Reynolds crafts young adult ac­tion books

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The Mary­land Writ­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion this year is cel­e­brat­ing its 30th an­niver­sary with the Writ­ers’ Round Ta­ble Pro­gram to en­cour­age writ­ers, po­ets, play­wrights and au­thors through monthly ar­ti­cles and ac­tiv­i­ties.

The No­table Mary­land Au­thor ar­ti­cles and associated Fun With Words writ­ers’ prompts are the cen­ter­piece of the 30th an­niver­sary pro­gram. Each month, The En­ter­prise and other news­pa­pers in the state will fea­ture a Mary­land Writ­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion ar­ti­cle about an au­thor. Mary­lan­ders are en­cour­aged to read the ar­ti­cles and try their hand at the writ­ing prompts each month.

Au­thor Ja­son Reynolds

“When it comes to books and read­ing, we have to get cre­ative.” — Ja­son Reynolds

Genre — Young adult (YA) ac­tion is fic­tion writ­ten for young read­ers (ages 12–18). Reynold’s books are writ­ten for mid­dle-graders and teens and ad­dress dif­fi­cult sub­jects, but they aren’t scary. They re­flect his un­der­stand­ing of the fears and chal­lenges that all young peo­ple ex­pe­ri­ence. They also re­flect his aware­ness that to­day’s kids face huge dis­trac­tions and that his sto­ries must be ex­cit­ing to keep their in­ter­est. As he says, “I don’t write bor­ing books.”

A par­tial read­ing list in­cludes “When I Was The Great­est,” “Ghost,” “Patina,” “Sunny,” “As Brave As You” and “Miles Mo­rales: Spi­der-Man.”

Born in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. and raised in neigh­bor­ing Oxon Hill, Reynolds found in­spi­ra­tion in rap and be­gin writ­ing po­etry when he was 9 years old. He didn’t read a novel cover to cover un­till he was 17. It was Richard Wright’s “Black Boy,” and the “mis­chief in that book,” he said, “re­minded me of the mis­chief that my friends and I had done.” It sparked in him a love of language and he be­gan writ­ing.

He at­tended the Univer­sity of Mary­land. Ja­son pub­lish­ing sev­eral po­etry col­lec­tions be­fore he pub­lished his own first novel, “When I Was The Great­est,” for which he won the Coretta Scott King/John Step­toe Award for New Ta­lent. Seven more nov­els fol­lowed in the next four years, in­clud­ing “Ghost” and two more books in what be­came his New York Times best-sell­ing Track se­ries, “Patina” and “Sunny As Brave As You” earned Reynolds the 2017 NAACP Image Award for Out­stand­ing Lit­er­ary Work for Youth/ Teen. His lat­est re­lease is a Mar­vel Comics novel called “Miles Mo­rales: Spi­der-Man.” Learn more about Reynolds at www.ja­son­writes­

Fun with words

Mary­land Writ­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion in­vites res­i­dents to have fun with words.

In 100 words, write a Mar­vel young adult se­lec­tion, weav­ing to­gether a YA char­ac­ter, the Mar­vel su­per­hero he/ she be­comes, a se­cond char­ac­ter they res­cue, the sit­u­a­tion they are res­cued from, a fam­ily pet and a sport.

To see a sam­ple of how this might look, visit www.mwawrit­ers-round­table. org/fun-with-words.

Read­ers who re­spond to the prompt are en­cour­aged to paste their re­sult at the web­site www.mwawrit­er­­mit-fun-with-words by the 20th of the month and re­ceive an MWA Writ­ers’ Round Ta­ble Sub­mis- sion Cer­tifi­cate.

Se­lected prompts will be pub­lished next month.

Last month’s reader se­lec­tions

In Oc­to­ber, read­ers were asked to weave to­gether the main char­ac­ter (a barista), a se­cond char­ac­ter (you pick), an aban­doned movie set, a bro­ken shovel, a flood and the color orange.

Here are some lo­cal se­lec­tions: Thomas was in the car, on his way to work as a barista at Java Loco Café. He passed the movie set that has been aban­doned since the flood; and thought he saw a woman cov­ered in blood throw down a bro­ken shovel and run into the woods.

“Maybe they are film­ing there for some rea­son,” Thomas thought, “but where were the cam­eras?”

Thomas looked in his rearview mir­ror back at the aban­don movie set but the bright orange glare of the ris­ing sun was all he saw. Mar­cel Jewell of Me­chan­icsville “The wa­ter’s ris­ing!”

You’ve landed a speak­ing role and you’re sure this is your big break. You re­peat your line, em­pha­siz­ing each syl­la­ble dif­fer­ently, test­ing them on your tongue, try­ing on var­i­ous dra­matic fa­cial ex­pres­sions.

The barista, on de­liv­ery, im­pa­tiently moves aside a bro­ken orange shovel to set the steam­ing paper cups on the desk.

“It’s about a flood,” you say to his re­treat­ing back as he glances at the de­tri­tus on the va­cant movie set, ex­its, and leaves you to won­der who or­dered cof­fee.

You have a sin­gle line. This is your only chance. This has got to work. Tif­fany But­ler of Deale


Mary­land au­thor Ja­son Reynolds writes young adult ac­tion books.

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