Congratulations to Vijaya Bodach who won Rory's Promise on last week's blog.
Last Saturday I attended the Florida SCBWI's mid-year workshop. I spent the entire day soaking up information from two talented women, Erica Rand Silverman and Jacquelyn Mitchard. Since they generously agreed to share the content of their workshop, my blog posts over the next few weeks will be from my notes. I will be listing the main speaker for each topic, but my notes include contributions from both women.
|Erica and Jacquelyn
Why Write Young Adult?
- Protagonist and (usually) the antagonist are teenagers. They do the heavy lifting; they're the ones who get in and out of trouble.
- They're usually 16 or 17.
- Rules about writing are there. You can break them if you do it with authenticity and class.
- Young Adult literature is relatively new. Catcher in the Rye (1950) was first YA book.
- Voice--the way in which things are said--is so important. "Young adult literature often expresses the alienation that even happy teenagers feel."
- Young adult is the only segment of publishing that has been growing for 20 years.
- The topography of teenagers' emotions is huge. "In high school they are changing on a molecular level into another person."
- In the 20th century, psychologists realized that an adolescent had to separate from family to become his/her own person. This was reflected in literature such as The Chocolate War and The Outsiders.
- Young adult is often written in an intimate, conversational style. Reader can connect with the characters on a friendship level. Adolescents still have enough of the child inside of them that they believe characters are real. (Reason why they'll get dressed up as a character for a book signing.)
- New Adult is already over.
- As an editor at Merit Press, Jacquelyn is looking for realistic contemporary fiction. "Hormones and heat, but not foul or graphic."
- Write large, not subtle. Don’t attempt young adult if you don’t read it and enjoy it.
- Unusual set-ups are good. Fresh. Not contemporary slang that will give the book a shelf life of two years.
- In young adult fiction, layers are pealed back. Emotions are up front and genuine. The teen's survival (either physical or emotional) is at stake.
- One half of young adult readers are adults because dark and light are more extreme.
- Young adult brings rebels to life. Readers can live vicariously through characters.
- Love and respect your teen audience. "When you do this kind of writing you can change the world without preaching."
- When she is in the middle of writing a book, before she goes to sleep Jacquelyn thinks, “I’m going to be X now.” This taps into her sub-conscious.
- A book can’t be about an issue, like a parent's alcoholism. It’s about the conflict that is raised within the protagonist as a result of the parent's alcoholism.
- If you want to write young adult, you better be reading it.
|This is one of the books from Merit Press.
Written by my FB friend, Christine Kohler,
it's on my TBR list!