Writing YA with Mr M.

Bryan, my science teacher, was totally cool…not Fonzi cool…surfer dude cool. He paddled from Los Angeles to Catalina. After hearing this news I convinced my father that we needed to buy paddleboards. Besides Bryan, I only remember the books I read. Young adult books can leave an imprint on a reader.

The relationship between reader and writer can be deep. It can’t be taken away. It  is something to be cherished. Think about it. Someone spent time loving something you or I wrote and yet we have never officially met. I know that reading YA books shaped my perspective.

One such book was The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. The main character, Ponyboy Curtis is one of my favorite character voices of all time. He was able to navigate between two different social classes. As time went on I devoured other young adult books like The Catcher In The Rye. This was the first time I realized that characters can have a bitter tone. Soon I went through a Steinbeck phase and later a Louis L’Amour phase. I loved reading about a family that he created called The Sacketts.

Later, I enjoyed movies about teens like the Breakfast Club, War Games, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. They were heavy on character, voice, and tone. For example, in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Matthew Broderick’s opening monologue immediately tells the audience that he most likely has a high intellect, a good sense of humor, and the ability to lead. Below is just one statement he makes while getting ready to leave the house in the morning.

“Not that I condone fascism, or any -ism for that matter. -Ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me." Good point there. After all, he was the walrus. I could be the walrus. I'd still have to bum rides off people.”

His dialogue is pure poetry. Whether I am writing or reading I crave characters with strong voices. What movies, books, or television shows have shaped your perspective about the YA genre?

About Mr M.

Mr. M graduated from Chapman University with a BFA in Film and Television Production. He received his MFA in screenwriting from the American Film Institute. As a television executive at CBS, UPN, and ABC he worked with writers and producers supervising comedies and dramas for the networks.

Some of the shows Mr. M worked on were Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Girlfriends, Alias, George Lopez, and the short lived Invasion. Mr. M was always interested in teaching and decided to make a career change.

He attended Pacific Oaks College where he earned a Masters of Human Development and a multi-subject credential. The Magical Adventures of Brian Leonard is his first young adult book!

Mr M can be found on the web at.




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