Thursday, April 29, 2010

If it walks, talks, and acts like a duck ... is it?

My current WIP is actually an older WIP that I'm trying to convert from women's fiction to YA. Voice-wise, it's always belonged in YA. And I'm totally loving the changes.

But here's the deal: I have 2 sisters as narrators. Originally, they were 22 and 25. Now, they're 17-18 and 20-21.

It feels like YA. It sounds like YA. It walks, talks, and acts like YA. But, well, can it really be YA when only one of my 2 protagonists is a teen?

What do you think? Be honest. I'd rather not look like an asshat when I query the thing.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dear YA cult: we have a new convert.

I've been trying to get my little sis to read YA for, well, ever now. She would read the occasional one (mostly out of necessity when she was staying at my house), but she always went back to the adult ones.

And then finally, this week she calls me and says, "So ... All I want to read lately are kids' books. I've been looking through Amazon, and it keeps showing me all these other books I might like, and when an adult one comes up, I'm like, 'Ehhh ... I don't care about your lame adult problems.' I want to read about teenagers, damn it."

My evil plan for total YA domination has taken root. Now, I'm off to convince my husband that there are other great kids' books in the world besides Harry Potter ...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Words of wisdom from the Query Shark

Posted Saturday, on #156:

Really good novels don't have everything on the page. Really good novels are like spiderwebs: the filaments, words, are important but the space they create, the unspoken, is what makes it beautiful.

You must trust your readers to make intuitive jumps with you and to know some of why things happen. They'll be able to do this easily if you write it by SHOWING, not telling.

Beautifully wonderful advice I thought I'd share, in case any of you don't follow the Query Shark blog. Which you absolutely should. So get over there. Now. You can thank me later.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Why spell check just isn't enough.

In case you needed another reason to edit, edit, and edit some more, here's one from my Publisher's Lunch email:

"As for the strangest and most embarrassing international news story, Penguin Australia reprinted 7,000 copies of the PASTA BIBLE due to a horrible typo. A recipe mistakenly called for 'salt and freshly ground black people' instead of 'pepper.'"


Monday, April 19, 2010

Pretty Pink Ribbons

They're soft. They're girly. They wrap things up all clean and pretty. Sometimes, that can be nice, preferable, even. And other times, well ... Other times I just want to shred the pretty pink satin to slivers.

Clearly, I'm not talking about actual ribbons here. I've gotten nothing against the frilly things. But when it comes to books and movies and television shows, I could stand a few less of them.

Or, if you're set on pink ribbons (hey, they definitely have their places), at least slice them up, let them fray at the edges. Because happily-ever-after perfection can get a little tired, a little cliche. Plus, it's not that realistic.

Yes, I read for a release, for an escape from the real world. And yes, I know it's fiction. But I'd still like to be grounded somewhere on this planet. I'd still like to feel, "Hey, I know these characters. And I believe what they're going through, because this is something that would happen in the real world."

What about you? Do you like your ribbons new, sliced, or completely absent?

Monday, April 12, 2010

If I Stay: A book that broke my heart, in the best possible way.

I love YA. I do. But it's been a long time since a book really got to me--made me stop and think or laugh and cry, made me feel something, long after I read the final pages. A couple of YA books have come close, but something didn't completely click. For whatever reason, I wasn't as sucked in as I wanted to be.

But then this weekend, I took the very good advice of Jodi Meadows and finally read a book that's been in my TBR pile for months: If I Stay, by Gayle Forman.

And can I just say ... Wow.

I don't know what took me so long to read it, but I'm glad I finally did. It's written in first person present tense, but it was so well done, I didn't even notice. By page 14, I was so devastated I wanted to put it down, or throw it against the wall, or something. But I couldn't. Because I couldn't stop reading long enough to do any of those things.

I can be a bit of a baby, I'll admit, but I haven't cried over a book since ... geez, maybe back in Nicholas Sparks' better days. But If I Stay didn't just make me cry over the characters; it made me think--about love, family, music, and loss. And while I was thinking, I bawled like a little girl.

It reminded me that those books, the ones that are powerful enough to stop and start your heart, they're still out there.

If you haven't read it yet, you should.

That is all.