I loved David’s recent post on the five things about the business that surprised him and I agree on all fronts. Then I got to thinking about whether there was anything in particular about writing YA that surprised me (since I try to bring the YA perspective to the table whenever I can). While there’s a lot of overlap, I thought I might piggy-back off of David’s post and add my own thoughts about what surprised me in publishing YA. Most of these are just my observations and, like any other thoughts about this industry, there are always exceptions to the rule.
1. The time — there is a lot of it between selling and book release and in casual conversations with adult authors I’ve found that YA seems to (more often) have a longer lag time between sale and release [for an overview of this process, click [...]
Continue reading On Publishing: 6 aspects of writing YA that surprised me
I’m a little late to the game this year (what else is new!) but I still wanted to take the time to talk about goals and resolutions. I totally understand those people who think making New Year’s Resolutions is a waste of time — after all, why not just keep focused on your goals all year long? I do somewhat agree with that but the same time, I really love the start of a new year because I enjoy stepping back from the bustle of life and really thinking about where I’ve been, where I am, and where I want to be.
The 2011 Recap:
As I mentioned in my goals post last year, several years ago I felt like I wasn’t taking enough steps to go after my dreams of getting published. I didn’t have any finished projects, I hadn’t submitted anything, and I worried that I was [...]
Continue reading The Recap/Resolution Post
I may have mentioned this before, but when I began writing The Forest of Hands and Teeth (which ended up being my first published book) I was convinced it wouldn’t sell. But I was okay with that because I loved the story and I became obsessed with writing it. So, for much of the initial drafting the story existed only in my own head (and whatever I’d read aloud to my husband) and that was it. Beyond that, I had few expectations and for that reason all I could really focus on was writing the story.
That all changed once I hit 30,000 words. I’d recently become friends with a published author who I admired greatly and we’d both begun new fantasy projects that were outside of what we’d traditionally written. We decided to trade stories and so I sent her what I’d written. I’m pretty sure that the moment [...]
Continue reading Ignoring everything but the writing
Everyone’s faced that point writing when you stare at the blinking cursor and think, “Okay, what’s next?” Some people call it writer’s block, some people call it being stuck, and some just call it a day that ends in y. There are times when you have the luxury to step back, take a walk or a shower or a nap and let the story sink in with the hope that the threads sort themselves out but there are other times, like when you’re under deadline, that you have to keep writing and forge ahead. So what do you do?
Sometimes getting stuck in a book is your subconscious telling you that you’ve taken a wrong turn and need to go back and re-route. I know one author who puts her finger on the delete key and holds it down until she’s sure of the story again — whether that’s a [...]
Continue reading Facing the Blinking Cursor
Recently I hosted a panel at the SCBWI-Carolinas annual conference that was basically just an open forum for unpublished authors to ask the published members of the chapter anything at all about the business, the writing life, craft — anything! At the end I made a comment about exceptions that I think I mangled so I wanted to take the chance to clarify what I meant.
I think there are two sides to the “exceptions” coin. On the one hand there are a lot of people who talk about the “rules” of writing such as never use adverbs, never start with a dream, don’t use fragments, beware the verb “to be” in its many forms, etc etc. There are tons of these “rules.”
But what I’ve found is that the only true rule in writing is that there are no rules. There are hugely successful authors who use fragments, who [...]
Continue reading Re: Exceptions
Confession: When I first started writing, I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the names I chose. For my first romance novel I named the hero Cole and the heroine Cassandra and I didn’t bother to check whether those names even existed during the time period when the story was set (mid 19th Century South East). All I knew was that I’d read an article about how “strong” romance hero names tended to be “strong sounding” with lots of hard consonants and sharp looking letters. And yes, that’s how I chose the name Cole.
My next two novels both had protagonists with the name Katie. Apparently me and about a million other chick-lit authors all fell in love with that name at the exact same time.
Later, when I sat down to write The Forest of Hands and Teeth, I began with that same laissez fair attitude toward names. [...]
Continue reading On Naming
One of the questions I get asked frequently is how I found my agent so I thought I’d share my thoughts and process. This isn’t a post about whether you should work with an agent (personally my answer to that is yes) but is more geared to how you go about finding an agent once you’ve decided you want to work with one.
Often I think writers are so excited about finishing a book and wanting to move to the next step that they begin to rush the process. This can mean short-changing the amount of time they take to revise their book (which is what I did with my first book) or not spending enough time doing research on agents. The very first time I sent out query letters (for a romance I wrote right out of college) I took the mindset that I had in ninth grade when [...]
Continue reading Finding an agent