Reynolds crafts young adult action books
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.
“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.jasonwritesbooks.com.
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.mwawritersroundtable.org/submit-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.