Where’d You Put the Good Stuff?

kavya artMy niece, all of six, is a published author. Okay, okay, she’s published by Walmart’s print-on-demand imprint, and it’s a (quite lovely) story about a windy dragon. But the point is, her childhood musings have been commemorated and shared, and will be saved for all perpetuity.
Me? Not so much. I know that from a young age, I was a voracious reader, and that I at one point owned every edition of the original Baby-Sitters Club series. I know that, along with my sister Meena, I scribbled countless missives, all no doubt with flawless characterization, impressive arcs, and strong structure. But you’ll have to take my word for it. Because unlike Karma’s mom, my mom didn’t save any of them. Granted, she was busy running her own pediatrics practice and chasing three kids, but still. Really Mom? Not a single one?
The earliest scribblings of Sona Charaipotra that you’ll find are those from my teen years, when it began to occur to me that maybe I should save them myself. In those days, I was writing riffs on Norma Klein’s classic teen romances, all set in Upper West Side apartment buildings I never set foot in. Looking back, it’s interesting to note that all my characters were white, and all their romantic dilemmas were things that I had no clue about.
I also wrote some love-lorn poetry, which came in handy when I started my first YA novel, back when I was at the New School. Oddly, when we workshopped that particular piece in class, my professor said it sounded too teen. Go figure.
But the first complete work I have hails from college, when I started writing funky, circular short stories for a class on absurd works. They’re fun to go back and re-read, but it’s also embarrassing to see how far I’ve come.
In any case, all this is to say: I aim to be like Karma’s mom, and save every piece of storytelling genius that either of my kids ever comes up with. After all, they’re growing up in a house of writers. We know the good stuff when we see it.



Author: Sona Charaipotra

An entertainment and lifestyle journalist published by The New York Times, People, ABC News, MSN, Cosmopolitan and other major national media, SONA CHARAIPOTRA currently curates a kickass column on YA books and teen culture for Parade.com. A collector of presumably useless degrees, she double-majored in journalism and American Studies at Rutgers before getting her masters in screenwriting from New York University (where her thesis project was developed for the screen by MTV Films) and her MFA from the New School. When she's not hanging out with her writer husband and two chatter-boxy kids, she can be found poking plot holes in teen shows like Twisted and Vampire Diaries. But call it research: Sona is the co-founder of CAKE Literary, a boutique book development company with a decidedly diverse bent. Her debut, the YA dance drama Tiny Pretty Things (co-written with Dhonielle Clayton), is due May 26 from HarperTeen. Find her on the web at SonaCharaipotra.com or CAKELiterary.com.

12 Replies to “Where’d You Put the Good Stuff?”

  1. Ha! Baby Sitters Club – I was a Sweet Valley High girl. The good old days. And your kids will be so lucky to have all those treasures.

  2. I have recently purchased a lovely box to house all my kiddo’s works of art — and at the end of each school year I go through it and turn some into art for the walls, save a few special pieces just because, and ditch the rest. We haven’t entered book-writing age yet, but I suspect it’s on the horizon and I can’t wait to get her first stories bound! Setting the goal is half the battle, right? 😉

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