Community, Writing journey

#MGWaves: An ocean of possibility

Hi! I’m Thushanthi and I’m a writer from Sri Lanka. Thank you for visiting my blog!

A bit about me

I live in Colombo, where I’ve lived all my life, with my husband and two kids. I did my degree in Management and prior to being a stay-at-home mom, I have worked in PR, branding, and marketing. It was only recently, with the encouragement of my family, that I decided to seriously pursue writing creatively.

Since then, I have written a few picture book manuscripts that I’m really happy with and am currently querying while working on more. My poetry has been published in lit mags. I’m also in the process of drafting my very first middle-grade novel since I think that my inner child is pretty much stuck at adolescence which I can relate to once more since motherhood has been quite the transformative experience (and that’s putting it lightly!).

Favourite advice or resource

My advice is based on my own limited experience as a writer but it’s also the best advice I could give to an up-and-coming one like myself (apart from the obvious ones like improving your craft which I’m sure my fellow #MGWaves writers will give you tips – check the links below!).

Find your people. I haven’t officially been a ‘writer’ for too long, nor have I ever written an MG novel before. But what my experience with the kidlit community has taught me is that it’s vital to have an A-team of your fellow writers to critique your work and share this journey with. I have an amazing picture book critique group and have been as active as time allows within the picture book community, and know the value of it. I’ve learned so much and met some amazing people.

And so, while drafting my MG book, I realized I needed to immerse myself in this community too. I tweeted about it and Anushi, who is in a PB support group I’m in, added me to what is now the brilliant #MGWaves critique group. I love how relaxed and honest and inviting everyone is and how our shared love for writing is balanced with nudging each other towards publication success someday. The constant messaging is a creative outlet in itself, and as a mom of young kids, a welcome one!

Read, read, read. There are so many truly amazing books in middle-grade both recent and older classics. Check which have won awards, been on longlists and shortlists. Look to see who writes about the topics you like to write about, whose characters are similar to yours or have been through similar journeys. And read to get inspired. Since I’m writing a novel in verse set in Sri Lanka, I found these books a wonderful starting point. I found this list of MG verse novels useful too, and I hope to work my way through it!

Start learning. I’m a huge advocate for just writing without overthinking. I find that it’s when I do my best work and it allows my creativity to flow unhindered by thoughts of wondering if this is what I should be writing. However, I can’t deny the usefulness of spending time to learn the craft of novel writing, which will be instrumental in your story being published. Whether you do this at the beginning, or after your first draft, you should do it at some point. There are plenty of blog posts and YouTube videos by others who have done all the hard work of research, and I suggest you make the most of this. I found the 15 beat outline of the Save the Cat! method the most interesting and flexible. If you want to learn about craft in more detail, K.M. Weiland’s website is excellent. I also find Agent Jennifer March Soloway’s advice on Twitter a great resource to figure out what agents are looking for when reading your manuscript.

The other waves

My fellow group members are all in varying stages of their writing careers. Some are even agented! These are only but a few of them, but be sure to check out their posts by clicking their names below to learn more about their journeys and their writing tips & tricks.

Malia Maunakea

Anushi Mehta

Daria Pipkin

Jennifer Mattern

Beth Gawlik

Susan Leigh Needham

Maureen Mirabito

T.C. Kemper

Sabrina Vienneau

Rebecca Chaney

Kathryn Faye

My son and the sea. Trincomalee, Sri Lanka.

Thanks for reading!

4 thoughts on “#MGWaves: An ocean of possibility”

  1. P.S. I’m so glad you have found a good writing support group. That has made all the difference to me as well. I’m in two different writing groups; one has been meeting for over twenty years (!) and one has been meeting for over fifteen years. I could have never published the books I’ve had without the advice and encouragement from my fellow writing group members.

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