Reynolds crafts young adult ac­tion books

The Calvert Recorder - - Community - Lawrence McGuire of Wal­dorf

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 Calvert Recorder 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.

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.mwawrit­er­sroundtable. 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 Sub­mis­sion Cer­tifi­cate.

Se­lected prompts will be pub­lished next month.

Oc­to­ber’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

Malfi breath­lessly crept through the dark al­ley of the eerily aban­doned movie set. From the cor­ner of his eye, an an­gry flash of bril­liant orange and yel­low flames hun­grily licked at his frame.

Fev­er­ishly try­ing to out­pace his ag­gres­sor, he tripped over a bro­ken, jagged edged shovel, which cat­a­pulted in mid-air, fi­nally rest­ing in his left tem­ple.

Mo­men­tar­ily blinded by the driz­zle of blood stream­ing down his face, he was able to make out the hazy shadow of a fa­mil­iar face. No! It couldn’t pos­si­bly be the barista who had made his skinny venti latte with RIP etched atop the foam. Toya Dover of Brandy­wine Metal scraped con­crete. Delv­ina Trace, clutch­ing a flash­light, fol­lowed the din to the un­sound “Slaugh­ter­house Live” set. She found fel­low barista, Gra­nia Gaines, kneel­ing there, arms mov­ing from left to right.

“Gra­nia, our ur­ban ex­plor­ing’s over. A storm is com­ing.”

“I am the storm.”

“Where’s Kee­sha and Erin?”

“I killed them. With this.” Gra­nia showed off a shovel, its han­dle bro­ken, its blade honed to a blood­bright edge. She rose, mar­i­onette-like. Her eyes gleamed orange.

Delv­ina knelt in trash, warm, soaked, and salty-smelling. “E-E-Ev­ery god needs a prophet.”

Out­side, the storm un­leashed a flood that drowned the thing’s cleav­ing laugh­ter.


Au­thor Ja­son Reynolds writes young adult ac­tion books.

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