Thursday, April 28, 2011
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Lately I've been reading a lot of great teen novels, but, uh, in case you haven't noticed, there's a lot of serious/dark/murderous/evil/monsterly elements going on in YA fiction today. That is why I am loving me some MG right now. Besides Jack's book mentioned above, some other authors are doing readers of all ages a favor with their upbeat, humorous MG novels. We need something to balance out the demonic faerie vampires!
So that's how I've been dividing my MG and YA reading right now: when I want something more upbeat, I pick up an MG; and when I can handle a dark premise, I go for the YAs. Age of the characters really has less of a factor on my reading habits right now than the mood the novels convey.
What trends have you noticed in MG v. YA fiction lately?
Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
No matter how much older I get, I never seem to loose my teen spirit and mind set. Always having that eternal optimism or the feeling you can conquer the world, but having no idea where to start. Most YA writers are probably the same.
It's much easier to write from a teen perspective if you are easily in touch with your teenage self!
In the Great YA vs. MG debate, I'll Forever be a Teen. There's no getting around that. Maybe it's because of my love of romance and kissing.
Even though I know I'll never jump the fence fully and become Team MG, I'm still having fun dabbling in the Middle Grade World.
What's not to love?
- You get to be even more odd with your characters and throw weird challenges at them. If you want to have a talking bird named Cat, it's not a stretch.
- In middle grade fiction, you can have action that's faster paced and stories that move quickly along and get to the point. (And having read a lot of literary fiction lately, it's a nice change of pace :)
- Your characters are truly just discovering boys and there's so many fun awkward moments you can write in for them because of it.
- And life is so much fun at the that age!
So which team are you on MG or YA?
Monday, April 25, 2011
What is a middle grade voice? What is a young adult voice?
Some people would advise writers to stick to the voice they are best at. Others would say it's better to write both--then you can have two books in the market at the same time that don't compete with each other.
Is it possible to be equally adept at both voices?
I find that my young adult characters are smarter and I get to use bigger words, which is fun. Also, they're less inclined to react to situations with sarcasm and frustration. As the mother of a 12-year-old, it seems like 12-year-olds react to EVERYTHING with "This stinks! It's so not fair!" My older teenage characters already know that life isn't fair. They worry more about if they are being fair to others rather than if others are being fair to them.
But I think it is possible to learn to write both points of view well. In fact, as I drag into X number of years of writing, I'm less convinced that we have a natural "writing age." We've all been 17 and we've all been 12, and we can all tap into those feelings.
Although I'm not finding field research to be very helpful. My older teen nieces and nephews don't want to reveal their private lives, and being around groups of 12-year-olds gives me migraines. (God bless those middle school teachers. I don't know how they stay sane.)
Do you think you have a natural "writing age"? How often do you try to write for another age group, including adults? Could you develop your writing for any aged audience, or do you think it's true that most writers have a specific voice?
-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages
Friday, April 22, 2011
Want to know what else I'm reading and what I've enjoyed? Check out my LiveJournal blog for a running list. Here's a taste:
I WILL SAVE YOU by Matt de la Pena
Kidd runs away from his group home to Cardiff by the Sea and starts on a better path with a father figure boss and a girl friend, but his old friend Devon finds him living in the campgrounds and threatens to tear down everything good he has built up. The way the author wove together the present, past, journal entries, and other memories flowed perfectly; and the ending was worth every word from page one. This YA tale of mental illness and the desire to heal was brilliantly written.
Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
It's always fun to relive the teen years here on A2A, and talking about what we wanted to be when we were younger brings back great memories. I actually had a slumber party with my nieces and nephew this past weekend and asked them the same question. Their answers: a race car driver, a teacher, and a writer (yay!).
From about the time I was 10 till a freshman in college, I wanted to be a lawyer. I loved mystery books and solving crimes, and thought I really like to try to help put away criminals. I loved my law class in high school and participating in mock trials. Really anything to get me to argue with others was tons of fun for me :) But then I realized how hard the job would be and how much I wouldn't want to defend someone I thought was guilty, so I switched thoughts to business and marketing.
Amongst my friends, I think most of them thought I'd grow up to do something very analytical, like business, law, or even education. My SAT scores were always better in math than English.
As it turns out, I'm really in more of a creative field, since my job in the library is Public Relations. Not really what I or anyone else thought I'd get into.
But I've always loved being creative, designing things, writing (obviously!), and it was a natural progression. And I love my non-writing job, especially since I work in a library.
One of the best decisions I ever made was switching from Marketing to Advertising as a Junior in College. It's a subtle difference, but one is much more creative than the other. And I couldn't be happier.
Monday, April 18, 2011
Friday, April 15, 2011
Thursday, April 14, 2011
I loved reading magazines as a teen! And I still do now though I call them research. ;-) These days I love reading the glossy gossip mags like Star or Ok. And back when I was teen I also was all about the magazines with the glossy pictures at least. But mostly these kinds with my cutie pie New Kids on the Block on them.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
I LOVED reading teen magazines in my tween years. I subscribed to Teen, YM (Young & Modern), and Seventeen at different times, and the ones I didn't own I checked out from the my library. My friend and I did all the quizzes, picked out which prom dresses we would wear, and wrote fake "embarassing moments" and sent them in hoping to get published (we never did). We wrote our own quizzes, and spent hours pouring over new and old editions. When I started writing for tweens and teens, I wrote some pieces for Girls' Life but never heard back on them. Sigh. I would love to write for a teen magazine to contribute back to the medium that provided me with years of entertainment. Now, I browse through magazines in waiting rooms or in quick passing, but I don't buy them anymore. I just don't have time to read them cover-to-cover, or to store them with the intention of getting back to them later.
Still, if Girls' Life wants me, I'm here!
Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
I know we just talked about our love of libraries a few weeks ago, but I thought I'd give a second shout out to them since this week is National Library Week (and today is National Library Workers Day).
Now I know everyone reading this blog probably already loves libraries and uses them on a weekly basis. But I'm constantly amazed that there's still people out there that don't know what a library has to offer. Even people that use libraries weekly. And sometimes I stumble on resources that I didn't know existed either. So I thought I share just of the top of my head several services that I can think of that many libraries offer that benefit writers (and maybe other people could do the same in the comments):
1.) Access to LOTS of books. I know this is a given, but reading is the key to great writing. Having access to loads of books in the genre you want to write, or access to non-fiction materials is invaluable. Then there's all the books on the writing craft, finding agents, and even those on weird things like crime scene tips or books on a specific career or field of study to help build characters or settings.
2.) Free writers groups, workshops, or author visits. Every library I know of has author visits throughout the year. And many have weekly, bi-monthly, or periodic writer's groups.
3.) Movies that can be checked out to use for inspiration or ideas.
4.) Reliable databases to use for research. Do you need to know how much a bullet weighs? Or how big the state of Texas is? There's probably a database for that.
5.) Access to audiobooks that provide another format to listen too (especially since audio books are more expensive). But for me listening to books in multiple ways helps expand my writing.
6.) Check out CDs to help get you motivated, get you in the mind of your character, or just to provide stress relief after a difficult writing session.
7.) Used Books Sales throughout the year to provide you access with more books that you can keep and reference when writing.
8.) Travel books to help learn more about a setting or location.
9.) Internet access if you are trying to save money and living the "struggling" writer life-style.
10.) If you have a book, a place to give talks and bookmarks for them to distribute. Which is why making friends with your local librarians is always a good idea. Because if I know anything, librarians talk...and they like authors a whole lot! And what's even better is that librarians often have teen groups that might like to meet you and learn about your book as well!
11.) Reference assistance if you have a tough questions you can't find the answer to.
And there's tons more. But I'll stop the Library Love for now.
If you are curious, our library has a "Library Use Calculator" that helps you calculate how much money you save by using the library.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Friday, April 8, 2011
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
This week we are discussing Spring Break reads at A2A. Unfortunately, everything I've been reading lately is adult literary fiction (not really my cup of tea). I'm on a committee at work that's helping pick a one book, one county selection. But Water for Elephants wasn't too bad and the movie looks fantastic, so I guess I can't complain too much.
In between all the stories that seem to be what I call "historical with issues," I'm trying to get in some more fun reads. Since I enjoy reading books classified as Spring Break or Beach Reads any day of the week, this is easy for me.
Some of the books I've enjoyed lately or have coming up...
Call Me Irrestible...it's not a YA book, but I'm in love with anything by Susan Elizabeth Phillips at this time, and her books are so fun that I'm sharing it anyway. This one features former golf-player Ted Beaudine (who's been mentioned in several other books). He's about to get married to the daughter of the former president, when the maid-of-honor steps in and persuades her friend to break off the wedding.
At first, I didn't know if I was going to like the romance, since it's between Ted and the free-spirited maid-of-honor Meg Koranda ( the daughter of Hollywood royalty). But in typical Phillips fashion the characters are well rounded and very likable. And when the entire town of Wynette, Texas seems to turn on Meg you can't help but root for her. Very cute read.
And I just bought this book because of the title...Killer Cruise by Jennifer Shaw. It's a few years old now, but it's about several mysteries about a cruise ship. That pretty much has "winning book" written all over it.