Lindsay Puckett started writing short stories at the age of 10, when her voracious reading habit fueled a desire to reach others. “I just wanted to make someone else feel the shock and tension and excitement I felt when I sunk into a great story,” she says.
She joined the West Carrollton Power of the Pen team in 7th grade, learning lessons that have stayed with her throughout her journey as a writer: “The importance of finishing projects (you can never publish if you never get to “The End!”), working under a deadline, how to handle feedback on my writing, dealing with rejections (my writing was rejected 104 times before I found a literary agent), and always striving to keep learning and improving my craft, to name just a few!” Lindsay says.
Writing for Her 12-Year-Old Self
Lindsay’s debut middle grade novel, The Glass Witch, is being released by Scholastic on October 18, 2022. The Glass Witch is a spooky fantasy in which the main character reluctantly joins a Halloween-themed pageant to rid the town of a vicious witch hunter.
“When I was a kid, girls who looked like me didn’t get to be main characters in stories,” she says. “Chubby girls didn’t go on adventures or slay the dragon, and they most certainly didn’t wear pageant tiaras. In fact, the only fat girls I saw in media were the “mean girls” or the comic relief. I cannot convey the harm that did to me and millions of girls like me.”
Lindsay says she wrote The Glass Witch for her 12-year-old self: “A girl who was complicated. Brooding. Self-conscious. Angry about how the world treated her. But was also loyal and brave and driven and passionate,” she says. “A girl who could be morally complex, who had space to mess up again and again and grow and learn from her mistakes.”
Her goal is to help kids see themselves and others in a different light. “If reading this book can make a difference in at least one child’s life – whether that is seeing their body types positively represented, learning how to treat those different from them, or even just an escape from reality for a small while – then I have done my job,” Lindsay says.
Developing a Writing Career
Lindsay advises Power of the Pen writers to consume as many stories as possible. “Read from genres you love. Read from genres you’ve never tried before,” she says. “Read poetry. Read – gasp! – nonfiction. Read from a background and experience that isn’t your own.”
Look for stories beyond books, as well. “Watch your favorite movies or TV show and focus on how the plot and characters unfold,” Lindsay says. “I promise you will learn something from all of these categories that will teach you something about your own authorial voice.”
Lindsay kept her Power of the Pen tournament materials from 8th grade. Her 8th grade tournament folder, a story from the competition, and her regional qualifier ribbon are pictured here with The Glass Witch.