A Swift Kick in the Rear

Greg and Cynthia Leitich Smith gave a great workshop today at B&N on Writing the Teen Novel. They really did a good job of presenting the information so that it was of use to both newbies and more seasoned writers. A couple of things that really resonated with me were:

1) The YA age range. The YA age range, once 12-18, now is much broader. In addition to the traditional 12-18 year-old range, there is now the “Tweener” age range of 10-14, and the Upper YA range of 14-19. My works tend to skew towards the higher end of the age range.

2) YA vs Adult publishing. Cyn made some really good points on this, as to why an author or publisher would push for a YA novel to be published as an adult novel. I’ve struggled with this concept myself a little (see the last post and Cyn’s comments about my post).

3) Writers Must Read. There is a lot of great YA literature out there now. For those looking to break into the field, the bar has been raised. YA novels really have to be “special” in order to be published, and an author wanting to be published in this field must really look at the type of novels currently being published.

Point 3 really struck home with me. Between working on my own writing, increased responsibilities at work, and being a newlywed, I’ve really slowed down on my reading. There are SO MANY great books out there now, and I’m almost ashamed to admit that I haven’t even tried to read all of them. I’ve made a commitment to read at least 3 books by the end of the year.

In addition to more reading, I’ve also committed myself to writing more this month. Now that Red Polka Dot is out and I’m through with most of my book signings, I should be able to get back to a decent writing routine. One problem is that I have three potential novels vying for attention, and I’m the type of author that can only write one thing at a time. Hopefully, I’ll have it all sorted out by the end of the year.

There were a lot of SCBWIers in the crowd, including Julie Lake, Don Tate, JoAnne Whittemore, April Lurie, Frances Hill, Brian Yansky, Lindsey Lane, and Jerry Wermund. I know I’m forgetting a few people, so forgive me if I left you off.

So enough of the blog for today. I’m gonna write for a few hours, and then I’ll flip a coin to figure out which book I’m gonna read first. The finalists: Brian Yanksy’s My Road Trip to the Pretty Girl Capital of the World or Ellen Wittlinger’s Sandpiper.