Read trade magazines for trades you don’t actually practice, or repair manuals, or guides to human anatomy…read things that are very ancient, Assyrian prayers, ancient sagas…there is information all over the place that can expand our sense of what language can do. — M.T. Anderson, in answer to a question at his recent reading at Powell’s. (via ryansara)
YA!flash: So about the so-called lack of boy stuff in YA -
So I have a lot of feelings every single time I hear that people are “angry” or “annoyed” or whatever that they can’t find ONE SINGLE YA BOOK IN THE ENTIRE YA SECTION FOR BOYS TO READ and YOUNG MEN ARE FAILING BECAUSE GIRLS ARE TAKING OVER LITERATURE and HOW CAN BOYS POSSIBLY BE EXPECTED TO WANT…
My opinion is that boys are moving to other entertainment (games) where they are the default. Also, games tend to be more a sign of wealth and privilege and books aren’t.
“This intricately plotted fantasy is perfect for readers interested in stories of political intrigue. Told in third person, the perspective switches between the two princesses, and while the pacing can be slow and the world building lacks detail, the appeal of forbidden romance, powerful magic, and family secrets keeps the story engaging. Readers who stick with this one will be rewarded with a powerful and surprising ending.”
— Sarah Bean Thompson
Looky here! Tammy Pierce lists The Rose Throne as one of her “favorite reads.” This is a pretty short and impressive list to be on. And as always, getting the nod from an author I admire enormously is such a huge thing for me:
I don’t read reviews about myself, even in film and in television, so I wouldn’t read reviews about my art. I think it taints the experience of it. When you do a movie or you are working in television, the people that you work with become your life; it is a very intimate experience that takes you somewhere emotionally. The experience of painting something has the same effect. Whether the painting is a success or a failure, the time that I was involved in it remains the same. To read a review about yourself, whether good or bad, can extinguish your experience and make you feel regretful, and I don’t want to regret time passing. —
Lucy Liu, who is apparently also an incredible artist in addition to be an actor, to Hunger (via malindalo)
This is such great advice. I wish I followed it more fully.
1. YA usually has a YA protagonist (13-19), but not always.
2. YA is usually shorter than adult fiction (60-80k, though fantasy can be longer).
3. YA is usually more quickly paced, with more dialog, less exposition, and fewer subplots.
4. YA tends to be in first person or very close third, and it tends to have a single viewpoint character, sometimes two.
5. YA has plot. Adult fiction sometimes doesn’t.
6. YA tends to have a more hopeful outlook on like. (Despite what you hear about how dark and edgy YA can be, compare with Cormac McCarthy)
7. YA has VOICE. This may be the single most important feature of YA. Adult novels may have narrators who are invisible. YA rarely does.
8. YA is about becoming. There is no ennui.
9. YA often has a first real love, and not a sweet love as in MG. Love in YA is physical, even if it is “clean.” There is a sense of smell, taste, and touch when it comes to love. Everything is sexy, sweat dripping down the face, and the smallest touch.
10. YA is about finding power. Adults may have accepted that there is no real power for them in the world. Teens don’t accept this, and largely, when you think you have power, you do.
LM Sparks writes:
“This is a deeply imaginative story, of two distinctly different young women, their upbringing, their duty to their countries, and their true loves. Each has her own unique power. The two young women, thrust together by the decisions of their fathers, eventually become friends and confidants. The story touches on various levels of love; love of country and duty, love of power, love of music, and love for one another.
The explanation of the various countries in this world was easy to visualize once the vocabulary became second nature. I could see the land bridge that separated the two kingdoms, and feel the fury of the ocean and how it affected those with powers. I was intrigued by the people without powers, the `unweyrs’, and how they were the only ones that easily traversed the lands. So, in the end, even they had powers.
This is a great story for young adults. The romance is sweet, yet powerful. It also shows that sometimes true power lies in not having power at all, and strength lies in knowing when to give power up. I appreciated that Ailsbet’s “true love” was something beyond romance with another - and that it was her deep devotion to music that guided her decisions, and her heart.”
She got it! She really got it!
I am a bit confused by readers who talk about the double romance in The Rose Throne. Issa and Kellin is definitely a subtle romance. And there’s the friendship romance between Issa and Ailsbet. But Ailsbet has no romantic partner in this book. Her father keeps throwing her at the absolutely wrong guys. Her only love is music, and that is what is so great about her as a character! She is complete without a guy because that is who she is.
I also love that she felt the slow and gradual sense of being set into this world. The magical terminology may be a bit confusing at first, but once you’ve read a couple chapters, it should feel like second nature, like this is your world, too.
“I did enjoy the writing and world building, but it left me wanting more.”
Mwahahah! I am flattered. Readers who want more are the best kinds of readers to have!
is tonight at 6:30 at Davis High School! I will be there with Tyler Whitesides, J. Scott Savage, Kim Williams-Justesen, Kristyn Crow, Kristen Chandler, and many others. This is a great chance to get a signed copy of The Rose Throne if you are looking for a chance to get one and to come meet me. I am speaking on How to Find Time for Your Dream.
I recently went to a talk by Victoria Curran of Harlequin on writing for her line. One of the things she talked about was the frequent problem of writers trying to follow formulas and ending up short-changing the story, the emotional impact, and the characters themselves. I was really impressed to hear her say a lot of things about romance formula that I have said myself. TRUST YOUR CHARACTERS, she said. Let them lead you to interesting plots.Let them lead you to new places that other romances don’t go.
I have been thinking for almost a week now about this idea of trusting your characters and what that means for writers. I know that we have this idea that there are writers who outline and writers who discover. But I am not sure this is really a different thing. I suspect that writers who discover-write can have just as many problems forcing characters to do what will lead to the “right” plot as writers who outline do. And writers who outline can outline based on character rather than based on the “right” plot as much as discovery writers do. It’s not really one way or another, once you have written fifteen drafts of a manuscript. You are moving back and forth between plot and character, tweaking character so plot works, and tweaking plot so character works.
That said, I still like the idea of trusting your characters to lead you to interesting plot. I think sometimes we are scared to let our characters veer off script. Even if you don’t have an outline written down for a particular novel, you still have an idea in your head of what is done and what isn’t done in your particular genre. And when a character might have a chance to do something that you have never seen a character do before, as a writer you might have a tendency to reel that character in because you will have an easier time writing the next scene and indeed the rest of the book if the character stays within the kinds of plot that you have seen done before.
For instance, if you have a character in a fantasy novel who decides to leave the magical school s/he is enrolled in, what happens next? That’s not the way those stories are written. If you have a character in a romance novel who decides to leave town just when things get hot and heavy on a year-long world cruise, well what next? You don’t usually have a year gap before the resolution of your romance. If you have a character in a science fiction novel who does something stupid and gets killed, well then who is going to be your main character for the rest of the novel? You put a lot of time and effort into developing this great alpha character and now all you have left is the beta characters running around.
But often the most interesting thing about a novel may be the ways in which it disobeys the formulas and rules of convention. Yes, there are probably rules you can’t circumvent. In romance, do you have to have a happily ever after? Well, actually no. I’ve read romances that didn’t. But readers are not always happy. Still, it can be done and if your characters demand it, then you may end up writing a much more satisfying story that way than by making your characters act in ways that serve the HEA, but take away all the uniqueness and power of the character development you have worked on.
Still thinking about this …