All posts for the month January, 2021

New Beginnings

Published January 23, 2021 by Elsa Pla

A new year has begun, full of hope and positive expectations. Moving forward after so many months of sadness and anxiety won’t be easy, but definitely possible and almost certain. I’ll be taking it slow—there’s no other way for me—but steady and with new-found purpose. The darkness has cracked and light is finally getting through. Things will surely get better. Not right away, I know, but soon.

My writing goal for this year is simple and therapeutic: Have fun.

I’ll be jumpstarting my writing with the following well-known exercise:

Identify an author whose writing style resonates with you. Find a few passages in his or her books that you love and admire. Copy those passages, word for word, imagining that you are the one who’s creating them. As you do, reflect on the author’s use of elements of fiction. When you’re done, jot down what you learned about the writing craft that you could apply to your own writing.

I’m starting with one of my favorite authors: Hilary McKay, and her recent book: The Time of Green Magic.

From the British Council Literature website (

“Hilary McKay is most well-known for her novels for middle-childhood readers (approximately 9-13 years), particularly her two award-wining series, The Exiles and the Casson Family Series. The families she depicts are usually endearingly eccentric and chaotic, flawed but loveable, and she creates authentic and well-rounded child characters with whom young readers can easily identify. Critics often praise McKay’s talent for domestic comedy, which enables her to address serious issues (from everyday worries to bullying, adoption and family secrets) with lightness and humour. McKay writes with humanity and compassion and depicts her characters’ emotions acutely and perceptively, yet her comic touch, along with lively dialogue, maintains an upbeat tone throughout her stories.”

What I admire most about McKay as a writer is how well she understands the child’s mind. Her characterization is superb, depicting all the different emotions and states of mind of children, both positive and negative. I hope to learn something about how she achieves this through this exercise. Plus it will be fun!