I’ve been trucking along with the 30 in 30 challenge. I missed two days early in the month but I’ve gotten a story done every day since. With a little luck, I should be able to catch up this weekend.
I don’t know if they’re great stories but I think a couple of them have the nugget of something cool and marketable. I just need to polish them a little. My plan is to pick a story that I finished during the week, polish it and then send it off to an online or print magazine. I may as well give someone who might pay me for a story the opportunity to reject them.
(My #2 story I’ll submit to my writing group for advice on what can be improved. )
I also got some reading done during my commute. One was recommended by my writing group, Wild Ink.
I wish I’d scoured the local libraries before parting with hard-earned cash for it.
Wild Ink is subtitled: ‘How to Write Fiction for Young Adults’. It isn’t. It is, barely, a discussion of how the publishing process works along with some frequently-repeated advice better suited to a blog post than the $12 + shipping and handling I ponied up the dough for. Nearly a quarter of the book, perhaps more, is just printed answers to emailed questions the author sent out to every YA author they knew. The author’s input for each of these sections? A paragraph. If it was a printed, in depth conversation with just one or two high-profile writers, that would have been an improvement. I feel cheated.
Here, let me save you twelve bucks and give you the distilled wisdom within: Write from your heart, not with an eye towards what’s popular. Don’t write down to your readers. Read what’s popular in YA right now. Keep your length close to 80k words but write the story at the length it needs to be. Be aware that adult themes, sex and violence will appall some gatekeepers (librarians and parents) but may thrill others.
That’s what’s at the core of the book. Notice, that I didn’t really tell you how to write YA fiction. Neither did Victoria Hanley. It’s obvious she can, she’s a published author. I would have preferred it if she simply had told the reader how she wrote her novels, in detail, the process she uses and what she learned. That at least would have authenticity behind it. As it is, most of what we have in this book is second hand advice. In fact, some sections Victoria Hanley didn’t even try to answer the questions she raises. Yep, for some areas she simply says, “I’m not very good at this, go find a book that talks more about this topic.” In words of the Great Teacher, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?
This books makes a decent introduction to writing for utterly new authors. The details on the publishing process are interesting, though nothing I didn’t already know from going to conventions and talking to editors or sitting on their panels. If someone is just getting started in their career, you could do worse than handing them this book. You can also do better.
Not recommended for experienced writers looking for in-depth discussions on writing for the YA audience.