• Jennifer Mattern

A Community of Writers (& an introduction)

Updated: Jan 7, 2021

It's fitting that this is my first post, because without my community of fellow writers I wouldn't have had the courage to move into this bold new world of websites and blogs. In applying to PitchWars 2020 I finally met my people, the ones I've been looking for ever since I began this journey.

Submitting a manuscript to a mentoring program like PitchWars or Author Mentor Match is nerve racking, but meeting other writers makes it all worthwhile. Early in the submission process, I was fortunate to stumble across a tweet from another participant inviting middle grade writers to join a private Twitter group for PW participants. One thing led to another, and the #MGwaves was born.

We started out describing ourselves as ripples, but after two of our members got PW mentorships, followed by three others landing literary agents, we decided we were starting to make waves in the writing community. And since we're scattered all over the globe, we're rolling from coast to coast. If you're interested in learning about some of the other Waves, you’ll find links to members’ blogs at the bottom of this page.

Allow me to introduce myself

I’m Jennifer (or Jenny, when you get to know me). Middle grade literature is my sweet spot because I’ve been reading it aloud for over twenty years, first as a fifth-grade teacher and later in my most important job—raising five children. It is my unshakable belief that well-crafted MG literature is a powerful bridge between age levels. I distinctly remember reading aloud with four kids gathered around me (number five didn’t come until later) and knowing that none of us would choose to be anywhere else in the world at that moment. When I write, I write to create those moments.

Favorite middle grade book

My favorite MG book of all time was published nearly eighty years ago. The Saturdays, written by Elizabeth Enright, tells the story of the four Melendy children who live in New York City with their father. When the siblings create the Independent Saturday Afternoon Adventure Club (ISAAC), they decide to pool their allowance money and take turns spending the whole amount. Elizabeth Enright was a genius at weaving timeless stories that speak powerfully to the young and the young-at-heart. Even now, my fingers are itching to pull out the tattered copy from our jumbled bookshelves and read it again.

Writing Tip:

A writing teacher once told me, “Tune your goals to your capacity.” That’s it. That’s the tip. (I’m still working on mastering it.)

The Waves

As promised, here are links to websites/blogs so you can acquaint yourself with some of the other Waves. We each have a unique perspective, so be sure to “meet” everyone!

Malia Maunakea

Anushi Mehta

Daria Pipkin

Thushanthi Ponweera

Beth Gawlik

Susan Leigh Needham

Maureen M. Mirabito

T.C. Kemper

Sabrina Vienneau

Rebecca Chaney

Kathryn Faye

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