The Not-So-Immediate Turning Point


I've often thought of turning points as those moments when reality reaches from nowhere and smacks you in the face. But I've had to reevaluate because, for me, my turning point in getting the guts to tackle a YA thriller is only visible from my rearview mirror. Here's what happened.

I'd been very happy in my lane, writing upper-middle-grade/tween books... Until I grew frustrated with my inability to make my stories sing like they needed to, like they had in the past. Time for a breath. Or ten.

 Refreshed and re-energized, I approached my agent asking which of several shiny, new story ideas she and the industry might best be able to get behind. We talked. We chose. Then she asked me a question: "Have you ever considered writing a YA thriller? I think you'd be really good."

YA, yes. I wrote a few (bad ones) when I was trying to figure out this whole writing thing. But thriller? Definitely not. Thrillers and mysteries were for other people to write and for me to read. How could any book of mine measure up to those in my lifelong genre of reading choice? And so, I thanked her for her confidence and wrote another book in my comfort zone. The result of that? A big, fat No.

There are those who would look toward that rejection as the turning point which sparked me to write No Way HomeI'm confident, though, that the real pivot happened the moment my agent asked her question. My subconscious merely forgot to alert me.

I'm on alert now. I'm also aware that the turning point which finally brought a new dimension to my writing might, one day, lead to, as yet, unexplored opportunities.
I'll let you know when I see it in my rearview mirror.

Jody Feldman continues her YA thriller journey with a just-finished first draft of a new story and current revision of one she let breathe for a few months. She hopes to show you both very soon.


  1. It's so hard to see a turning point when it shows up! I love the fact that you're writing thrillers.

  2. May this aha be a most fortunate one. I'm struggling with how to avoid making the start of my novels stop being liker the short stories I write.

    1. I'm struggling with my opening chapter myself right now. The best thing I've found is to write some sort of beginning, carry on through the middle, write the ending, then see how your first chapter can mirror, in some way, your ending to make the whole book come full circle. Good luck!


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