|source for this lovely photograph HERE.|
The sky changing colours to a shade named on the spot, like Crayola orange or sun white. The new birdcall that's joined the morning chorus. The NHL flag on the car next door, thereby making the neighbours fellow hockey fans.
To me, this innate curiousity built into youth is an extraordinary thing. It's the plucking of specific details from their surroundings, the blindness to the dog doo-doo they're just about to step in but the complete awareness of the homeless person crouched in the gutter. And the fact that this -- this super power fades, weakens as you grow older adds another layer to the idea.
This is really key, I think, in writing middle-grade. There's an awe, a genuine appreciation of the way things are without the constant worry that grown-ups carry around with them; even I, a not-yet-full-adult, experience gray days where nothing around me seems to give off the slightest bit of light. That's not to say that middle-graders never worry; it's just that they notice things. Things that adults would otherwise miss.
So look for that light. The river: it looks solid enough to stand on, if ice were black. The bus: it just gave off a sound like the fart the geo teacher always lets loose. The clock bells: they ring out the tune of "Yankee Doodle"; the building should probably get that fixed.
So tell me: what's one small, special thing you noticed today?