Archive for the ‘young adult lit’ Tag
“In the Blogosphere” is a series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week (usually).
I’m making one of my resolutions to be better with these blogosphere posts. *Well, I’m trying, but I’ve been reallllllly busy!* I’ve saved a lot of great stuff, though, and it’s all definitely worth a read.
Here on Pub Rants, Kristen Nelson of Nelson Literary Agency shows you four easy steps for a “killer” opening—or, four things that will KILL your opening.
Does writing in the young adult genre appeal to you? Or, are you already doing it but are unsure if you’re doing it well? Mary Kole of Andrea Brown Lit pimps Regina L. Brooks’s book, Writing Great Books for Young Adults.
LET’S GET TECHNICAL
Here, YA Highway’s Amanda Hannah helps you strengthen those sentences, simile-and-metaphor style.
Feeling tense? Claire King is feeling first person present tense—and she makes a case for when and where (and why) it’s appropriate.
After checking out what Kristen Nelson says NOT to do in your beginning chapters, New York Times bestselling author (Across the Universe) Beth Revis spills on what TO do in order to hook readers in your first chapter in this post on the League of Extraordinary Writers.
Here, Gabriela Pereira of DIY MFA gives some concrete tips and exercises to create concrete characters.
Are you a Type A writer? In this post, author Jody Hedlund suggests that, if you devise and stick to a writing plan, you’re likely to be a more successful writer.
End-of-winter sluggishness contributing to your writer’s block? Here, horror writer of awesome Zoe C. Courtman offers tips on how to sweat through the blockage!
And while we’re on the subject of writing regularly and successfully, organization is key to clearing out distractions. Incarnate author and ferret aficionado Jodi Meadows agrees in this post, where she shares her secret for keeping her inbox organized.
Where is all the time for writing? It’s hard to come by, says D4EO agent Mandy Hubbard, but that’s no excuse. She says you must find the time—and she does it with Debbie Ridpath Ohi cartoons!
I’m looking forward to seeing some writer friends at SCBWI this weekend—can’t wait to tell you all about it!
How about you? Anything fun this weekend?
“In the Blogosphere” is a series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week (usually).
I’m admittedly behind with my Blogosphere posts—I have about 50 links saved, dating all the way back to May/June-ish (oh noes!)—but they are all still worth a look. I’ll catch up eventually, right?
You know how, when you go to some writers’ conferences, they give you a goodie bag? Well, here are some links that are better than that! Yes, they all are from kids’ lit conferences, but the skills are not just for kids’ lit writers.
Here, get soundbites from tons of industry professionals at the recent SCBWI L.A. conference—courtesy of the fabulous Michelle Schusterman of YA Highway.
In this post, over at Adventures in Children’s Publishing, the inimitable Martina Boone presents us with literary agent Elana Roth’s two cents about high concept (from the SCBWI ME/DE/WV conference).
Also, if you *weren’t* one of the thousands who attended this week’s free online writing conference, WriteOnCon, get out from under your rock and click here to check it out. Most (if not all?) of the posts and vlogs are up there. Such a fab event!
YA YA YA
Here *are* some things specific to YA writers.
This adorable post, by the equally-as-adorable Nathan-Bransford-repped Natalie Whipple teaches you how to Tweet and blog like a YA author. Yes, I am guilty of all these things.
I’ve posted links on this subject before (mostly by Andrea Brown lit agent Mary Kole), but here is Deborah Halverson—The Editor’s—take on swearing in YA lit.
Also, over at his blog—The Book Deal—editor Alan Rinzler shares tips on writing YA from three Dystel & Goderich Literary Management agents, Stacey Glick, Michael Bourret, and Jim McCarthy.
It’s all about the mission, baby. The Storyfixer, Larry Brooks, discusses what makes a successful short story.
In this post at See Heather Write, freelancer/editor Heather Trese uses one of my favorite shows (How I Met Your Mother) to discuss character consistency. Or lack thereof.
And while we’re on the subject of characters, Seth Frederiksen talks about how to make leading characters great at Fuel Your Writing.
As a little precursor to a “Pointers from the Pros” post I will be running soon, here’s The Donald (Donald Maass), over at Writer Unboxed, talking about creating tension.
*In case you missed my D.Maass/RWA10 post earlier this week, here it is. Pimping out her own blog? Why, yes, she is! (And talking about herself in third person, too—what a freak-a-zoid!)
I heart these fellow Clevelanders and YA authors, Lisa and Laura Roecker. Here, they talk about how writing novels is a little like peeing your pants.
Oh—and this is why I love YA author John Green:
*See what I did there?
“In the Blogosphere” is a weekly series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week. Most posts will be from that week, but if I find some “oldies but goodies,” I’ll throw those up here as well.
I never find as much time to read blogs as I want, but here are a few posts that struck me this week.
If you didn’t see my post about the Shenandoah Writers Query Symposium I’m helming, please check it out. I’m looking to compile some of best query-writing resources out there and discuss them with my writing groups. I plan to turn this “symposium” into a series of blog posts, so even if you’re not a member of Shenandoah Writers, give me your two cents (i.e., comment or e-mail with your favorite query resources or tips). A few brave souls have even given me queries they’ve written so we can critique them, so there are multiple ways you can get involved.
This is an oldie but goodie. It was actually written on my birthday in 2006 (but I digress) by the long-retired literary agent known to millions only by her scathing pseudonym, Miss Snark. She gives the straight dope on your plot pitch versus a synopsis.
Here, mystery writer Elizabeth Spann Craig offers some ways to reveal a protagonist’s character through self discovery.
I recently discovered young adult fiction writer Jamie Harrington‘s blog, Totally the Bomb.com (love that name, BTW!). And I’ve already found two posts I love. In this one, Harrington talks about five clichés used in young adult lit. And in this one, she dissects the classic love triangle.
This is another oldie but goodie, but at her blog, The Bookshelf Muse, the Jill Corcoran-repped kids’ lit author Angela Ackerman has a great resource for conveying emotion through a character’s body language. It’s not just for overcoming the five clichés Harrington outlines above, and it’s not just for juvenile lit. In this post, Ackerman introduces the idea of the “emotion thesaurus,” (which provides alternatives to having a character shrug his shoulders or roll his eyes). If you look in her sidebar on the right, she’s got a slew of entries under The Emotional Thesaurus.
Blogging making you crazy? Author Jody Hedlund offers some advice on what do to when your blog overwhelms you.
And here, Carol T. Cohn of Compukol Connection explains why you need to edit those pesky blog posts.
Shane Nickerson gives this amusing take on how Twitter slowly takes over your life.
Not sure whether to go with a big agency or a boutique agency? Epstein Literary agent and founder Kate Epstein discusses the pros and cons of both.
And I really felt for Caren Johnson Literary Agency‘s Elana Roth when she posted her thoughts on the protocol with regard to those queries/partials/fulls left hanging when a writer is offered representation. Although she got a bit bashed in some of the comments, she started a discussion that I think needed to be addressed. And she handled the backlash well. Kudos!
POTTER PROVIDES HELP
Dudes—Harry Potter is on the brain! Like it or not, writers can learn a lot from J.K. Rowling‘s famous example.
Last week, I did a post on how to break up a manuscript of epic proportions, and I used the Potter series to illustrate dramatic arcs (in it, I outlined Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone‘s dramatic arc and discussed the overarching arc of the series).
This week, I’m seeing posts—left and right—using Rowling’s baby to illustrate all kinds of things. Coincidence? Actually, yes. I’m not that important! As well, some of these posts are older:
- Here, guest blogger Jim Adams talks “showing” and “telling” in scenes and dialogue on Jane Friedman‘s (of Writer’s Digest) blog, There Are No Rules.
- In this post, Adams is at it again, giving tips on how to stretch the tension in a series.
- On St. Patty’s Day, Adams addressed conflict, according to Potter.
- Here, Friedman provides a complete list of links to all the posts in Adam’s 13-part series.
- And the good folks over at guardian.co.uk‘s Book Blog talk about character names in fantasy (but the post will interest writers of all genres)—with special attention to The Series that Need Not Be Named.
IN THE NEWS
Business Wire reported that Follett, college textbook wholesaler, will join forces with Bookrenter to start a textbook rental program. Where was this when I was in grad school?
Are you a Jane Austen fan? Adept at writing queries? Here’s a contest over at Getting Past the Gatekeeper that combines both of these things—write a query as if you wrote, and are pitching, Pride and Prejudice!
Last, but not least, congratulations are in order. My Writer’s Digest Books editor pal Chuck Sambuchino got a mention in Publishers Weekly for his upcoming humor book . . .
. . . and in the same post, it was announced that young adult fantasy author Beth Revis signed a huuuuuge three-book deal (I don’t really know her, but we have some mutual friends and I’m deciding to share in her excitement).
When I finished my first manuscript—well, the first time I finished it (heh)—there was one nagging question I had in the back of my mind: is the time span too long?
It started with my protagonist in her sophomore year of college, flashed back through some of high school, and ended up just after her college graduation; so, while the span was technically only two years, it seemed like six or seven because of the flashback.
I swapped manuscripts with a few other YA writers—without mentioning my concern about time span. I figured, we’ll see if it slides. For the most part, I received positive feedback, but one woman—the one whose manuscript was the best out of all those I critiqued and the one who, during our swap, landed a literary agent—mentioned she thought I should set the whole thing in high school somehow.
Ugh—I wanted to query—but I knew she was right. So I set out to make it fit within the parameters of my main character’s sophomore through senior years of high school.
NOT SHORT ENOUGH—SHOOT ME, PLEASE
Halfway through the manuscript makeover, I attended the South Carolina Writers’ Workshop and had a critique with Waxman Literary’s fabulous Holly Root. When she said three years is still too long of a time span for young adult lit, although it killed me, I knew she was right. As a friend at that conference put it, “Three years in YA is the equivalent of War and Peace.” So I trudged home, consulted several fellow writers, read several YA books and studied those I’d already read, and even asked YA author Lauren Myracle for some advice.
Myracle reiterated what most people had said, most kids’ books take place over a very short period of time (a few weeks, a semester, a school year at the longest). In addition, she asked if I had more than one arc—because, if I did, I could split the book into two.
GET SOME DISTANCE AND GET OVER IT
During that month of researching and gearing up to edit once more, the biggest thing I had to overcome was wrapping my head around mushing my story from three years into two semesters. I was too close to it at the time, and I just didn’t see how it was possible.
I thought a good deal about what my editor and friend, Chuck Sambuchino of Writer’s Digest Books, had said when he reviewed my pages: there was a lot I could cut—if the reader “gets it” with just one scene, why drag it out and have three similar scenes? He said he often sees this when writers add autobiographical elements to their manuscripts; they want to stay true to “how it happened” and they end up sacrificing story because of it.
So, with some distance from my novel and armed with lots of great advice, I put marker to dry-erase board and plotted out my story. I looked at every scene and evaluated its worth to the overall story. With the fictionalized autobiographical scenes, I let go of the “how it happened”—and in most cases, I eliminated them altogether. It all began to click into place.
SO . . .
It took about a month of revisions, but what I now have is a much tighter, much better, much more marketable story. I ended up changing my focus pretty much completely, playing up my hook, adding/deleting scenes—and it still wound up being 20K words shorter.
I’m not saying this process won’t likely happen all over again when/if a lit agent is interested in it—and then probably again when/if a publisher is interested in it. But the most important lesson here is that, if you’re too attached to the “how it happened,” too in love with your words, and too close to your manuscript, you cannot be an effective editor.
In the below Vlogbrothers video, YA author John Green talks editing. He says he deletes over 90% of his original words and that all the things people like about his books emerge in later drafts. Enjoy!
One of my faves, YA author Lauren Myracle, posted a video on her Web site of her son’s school doing a reading promo video, using a book-related rewrite of the Black-Eyed Peas‘s “I Gotta Feeling.”
It’s called “Gotta Keep Reading.”
Besides because of its general adorableness, I got psyched because, at the end, one kid holds up a book – QUAKE! Disaster in San Francisco, 1906 – which was written by children’s lit author and fellow Southeastern Writers Association conference presenter Gail Langer Karwoski.
I don’t know why (because it essentially has nothing to do with me), but it made me feel really awesome to have made that connection! It’s just so cool to have interviewed both these women.