Looking for some tips for YA writing? The following instances may help you especially when you’re stuck or facing that blank page and unsure of what to write about.
These seem to help YA writing a lot. In truth, ANY writing. Prompts give us something to consider. Something to figure out. More to envision. They give us a lead down another road. Or into a cave. High diving from an airplane. Do something uncomfortable. Unusual. Your character picks up the weapon while leaning over a body is so cliché. But what if the body fell on them or was discovered in their luggage?
Practice some poetry. It’ll do wonders for your work. It’s helped me with my visuals. It’s given me stronger words to use and helped me not to settle for the ordinary. Within reason, of course. You don’t want to use a fancy word when a simple one will add better clarity. But form some charm and a twist, a more precise phrase could make the sentence all that more potent.
Writing as Often as You Can.
Nope. You don’t have to do it every day. I take the weekends off. It avoids burnout. Instead, if you just practice as regularly as you can, it’ll help. Even if it’s only ten-to-fifteen minutes. Whatever time you can manage and keep at it will get you to your goals eventually. Are you writing a YA novel? Depending on the genre, they can be 25-80k with fantasy running a bit longer but not much. Novellas run closer to the 25k mark though.
You can always check with whatever agent you query, per their recommendations for that level. Even Nathan Bransford was more along the lines of 35k-65k.
POV stands for point-of-view or whose viewpoint the story’s in. Is it first person-the “I” reference? Or second-the “you” reference. Or the usual, third or “he/she” view. Any of these should be okay but the you one is the hardest, be forewarn. First is what I learned to write in. I then went to third and occasionally find my way back to first from time to time. I like both viewpoints. The first and the third can grow tiresome if all you use are “I, I, I,” or “he/she” continuously. Mix it up. Get in there and learn to switch your sentences about.
Twist them, tangle them, break them apart. Learn the rules then learn how to break them. If you SHOULD break them. Hint: it’s all right from time to time if it better the point you’re trying to get across. Keeps inside the character’s head, so to speak.
Write the Blurb First.
If you don’t know what the blurb is, it’s the summary on the back of a book that hooks the reader. You may find them on short stories, magazine articles, etc. They’re meant to pull the reader in. Most readers know whether they want to read the book by the first paragraph or not. I go by the blurb more than the cover, though a good cover helps in the purchase.
Writing the blurb first helps give you a guideline of what your book is about. Sure, there will be changes along the way but it’s easy to bring the blurb up to date. Second, when you get lost along the way, it will guide you back to where you want to go.
So, there you have it! A few tips for YA writing. Hope it helps! Have a great week, take care, and God bless!
How about some more entertainment? For laughs: Monty Python movies: one, two, three.
I’m reading Kalona’s Fall: A House of Night novella by Kristin and P.C. Cast, Uglies by Scott Westerfield, So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer, Through The Nethergate by Robbie Cheadle, Chosen by Kiersten White, Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas, Subject A36 by Teri Polen, The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco, The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith, The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman, How to Write a Children’s Book by the Children’s Institute of Literature, Sightwitch by Susan Dennard, How to Write Kidlit by Mary Kole, and How to Write & Sell YA by K.L. Going.
How are you doing amid the crisis? Do you have all the supplies you need? Cleaning supplies: one, two, three, four, and five.
Thinking of starting your own website? Try Bluehost, link to left, WordPress, link to left, or Rubix, link to left. I use Bluehost and WordPress, they’re both easy and reliable. Then there’s Jetpack, link to the left, security for your website. Definitely use this!
Stay safe and peaceful! There’s a lot of craziness out there, don’t let it get to you, or worse, become you. Take a deep breath. Remember, we’re all in this together. Take care and God bless.
Okay, so it’s February and some time’s slipped through your fingers in regards to your goals. That’s okay! It’s fine! You can always reaffirm your goals at any time. I like to take stock on things when Feb. hits to see how I’m doing.
I’ve been trying to make more time in the morning to talk with God. Or pray, however you want to consider it. It was hard at first but it’s becoming easier. I still worry he’ll point me in a different direction than writing but every morning he helps me to realize snippets of stories, titles, characters etc. Sometimes I wait on him before writing my blogs to help me decide on what topic to post on. He always lends me an ear and insight.
I have been able to spend more time with them, a priority for me as they grow older. It’s not always easy to make that time but we try the best we can. We’ve been able to go out to eat, watch a movie, and spend time talking about things that aren’t really important in reality but to us, they are part of us. Our favorite shows, food we like to eat, sometimes politics, or religion. The list goes on and on.
You knew I’d get around to it, lol. I stumbled getting back into writing over the holidays, I do admit. I’ve been faster at returning to the short stories and poems. The edits have been going slower but then edits are meant to, to catch things. I feel frustrated that I’m not moving faster but then health concerns have forced me to focus on them and pull away from what I love. I’m doing better in some areas but in others, not so good. I hate to lose more time at this point as I’ve lost so much already. The reality is, I feel as if time is slipping away from me and I’ll never get it back. That I’ll miss my chance, my opportunity. That hurts. It’s like a withered part of me that dies a little each day. I fight back as hard as I can, but the truth is that other things take me away from writing. Errands. Driving to dr. apts. Etc.
Things have lightened up now that I’ve got my other website up and finished. I do still have three to run but it’s a little easier to spread the focus then concentrate just on the one. Plus, it helps me work faster. Yes, I like to have more than one project to juggle just as I like to do the same with reading. That way, I always have something to turn to while I’m considering what’s gone before. Writing is the same.
With the websites, I plan to continue with the links on Loleta Abi as three links for each subject, and five on Traci Kenworth. These lower numbers help me to be able to catch up on nights when I’m behind. Like I said, a lot of time has been spent on A Dash of Seasons lately, to get that in shape and where I wanted it. I’m going to be adding some stories to the site and bring in some hacks. We’re working on the other areas such as beauty, fashion, video games etc. The humor & fun will stay but they’ll be other areas in addition. I’m having fun with the humor & fun bits. I have a bit of a comedian in me, I guess. Jesstyn is going to add another cartoon to the mix and changing that post from Fridays to Tuesdays. We’re doing a bit of a switch around as her days off have recently changed and Friday is now a work day.
On Loleta Abi, I hope to bring some of that humor & fun in. Not sure how yet, but we’ll see. It’s been running a bit behind the other websites so I’m exploring options on bringing more romance in. Wondering if I should continue the He Said/She Said bits or find new stories to add. This is all about the writing after all and I’ve noticed most writers have stories/poems on their sites, perhaps both, if not excerpts of their books from time to time. I’m not at that point yet, but hopefully, in the future.
On Traci Kenworth, I think everything is going well. From the links to the poetry to the book reviews. Book reviews have been some of my biggest blog posts across the blogs. I enjoy doing them. I’m trying to see how to improve on them. I still don’t like to rank them with stars unless I’m posting on Amazon or Goodreads. There’s something just so impersonal about that to me. I like to tell the parts that affected me and maybe others will feel the contagiousness for that and pick up the book to read. I do want to bring in more YA readers though and I’m hoping not only the books do that but whatever else I can cook up.
Two Drops of Ink.
As you may or may not have heard, I’m now a monthly contributor to Two Drops of Ink: a Literary Community. I’m excited to work with Marilyn Davis and others. I had been hoping to join another platform to increase my exposure to readers and this was unexpected but much appreciated. I still will find my way to do guest posts here and there. I enjoy doing that as well. I’d actually like to expand that area. There are a lot of writing sites I’d be honored to post for.
Personal Health & Exercise.
This has been a crisis area for me so long. I am feeling better in some areas but I’m also out of control in others. I need to start exercising, walking, dancing, yoga, something! I also need to reduce my portions of food. This is really hard for me, to be honest. I just get SO hungry with the bipolar meds and when I ask about it at my drs., they just shrug and say it’s hard. Yeah, so help me! And then when I see my family dr., or my diabetes dr., they can’t understand why I can’t keep things on the healthy side. As someone else recently said, fruit & veggies are expensive. And when you’re on a budget, it’s even more of an invisible product at times. In the summer, I can do better when I go to the farmer’s market but in the winter, it’s just a no-go.
I hope to begin a new project this year, maybe even two new projects. I pushed editing back over the holidays, so I’m just now getting back into that. How are you all getting along with your goals? Are you ready to quit? Or can you find it in you to fight and get back into the spirit. I’m not saying you have to climb Mt. Everest, that’s a great goal, but keep things realistic for you. Try smaller steps to reach your goal.
Have a great week, take care, and God bless! #blogs #craft #family life #writing #reading #websites #editing
My original links for this week were lost
by Overdrive. It was my first and last time trying it.
“I’ve been doing a series on licensing for writers, which is subtitled
“Rethinking the Writing Business.” Normally, I would put this particular blog
as Part 8 of the series, but I’m afraid that would prevent a number of people
from reading the post. And I think all writers need to read
this blog post, whether they’ve read the previous licensing posts or not.
Initially, I got the idea for this post
last year, when I was reading Emilio Estefan’s book, The Rhythm of Success.
(Please note I use Amazon links, not for any particular political reason, but
because I’m lazy.) You might know of Emilio Estefan as a member of Miami Sound
Machine or Gloria Estefan’s husband. But he’s an international businessman
whose work crosses a number of industries, from the restaurant industry to the
hotel industry to the music industry to the television industry. He moved to
the U.S. with no money and is now worth at least $500 million. (That number has
remained the same since 2015, which tells me that the sites that compile
celebrity net worth can’t penetrate all of his businesses to see exactly how
much he’s worth. I’m not even bothering with a link. Google it yourself.)
His entire book, written in 2010, focuses
on his personal life with an eye toward the attitudes that made him successful.
Those attitudes were the key. No matter
who tried to stop him, he barreled forward, making sure that he achieved
whatever goal he set his mind to.
For his entire life, he has expected
success. Because he works toward it.”
“Everyone loves being an author. Talented authors relish the process from the
first twinkle of an idea to thinking about characters to plopping them into
impossible situations. Or for the nonfiction author, the challenge of imparting
knowledge that will help others is fulfilling. When I was writing books for
publication, time dissolved as I typed away.
Despite my joy in writing, some afternoons
dragged as I struggled with getting characters from Point A to Point B; or my
plot didn’t work as well on paper as it did when I was musing about it earlier;
or … fill in your struggle.”
When I first started writing, I was fresh
out of university with a degree in English literature. I was determined to be a
literary writer. To me, this was what being a writer meant. Never mind writing
about the things that suited my personality. I would write big important novels
for adults, and short stories with lots of sentence fragments. And never mind
finding my own voice; I wanted to sound like Margaret Atwood.”
I’ll admit, I’m a long-time fan and
probably one hundred percent biased here. But you can’t watch Lindsey’s
America’s final Got Talent performance, listen to the judges pretty much tell
her she doesn’t belong on stage, and look at how far she has come thinking,
“Eh. So what?”
I could write an entire series of posts on
what writers can learn from her story. But for now I want to talk about Lindsey
Stirling as a performer — particularly, why she didn’t quit her national tour
after finding out her dad wasn’t going to survive his cancer diagnosis.”
The writing. Blockbuster novels need
larger-than-life characters, a dramatic question, an exotic setting, and high
The $500,000 advance. Blockbuster
novelists need LARGE checks.
Since my life as a #1 has given rise to my
need for #2, I’ve decided to write a blockbuster best seller. While some
critics feel the public demands originality, others believe that authors should
only write about extraordinary events they have personally experienced.
However, this approach does not explain the continued success of popular
fiction authors such as Robert Ludlum (who has published an impressive 31 books
since his death in 2001), the Victoria’s Secret Catalog, Sean Hannity, or
Samanta, tell us about the revision process
during Pitch Wars.
It was intense! Carrie was so on top of it
and gave me my edit letter well ahead of the deadline, which was such an act of
generosity given my hectic schedule. I woke up every day at 3 or 4AM to work on
my revisions during that 10-week period. My rewrite wasn’t as extensive as
others’ I’ve heard from, but I ended up creating a new character, reading two
books (about scurvy!), and creating some needed subplots.”
“Anybody remember the phrase ‘Reading is Fundamental’? First, I didn’t
realize it was a nonprofit child literacy organization founded in 1966.
Thought it was saying used in Public Service Announcements. In fact, I
used to think it was connected to this blast from the past:”
I estimate it’ll be another two to three
weeks before I’m satisfied with the state of Guns… and then I have to decide
what to do. I’m leaning towards submitting Guns to a few shortlisted publishers
and agents, meanwhile continuing to write Book II. If I get a nibble, all well
and good. If I don’t, then I’ll consider self-publishing Guns AND I’ll have
Book II done or well on the way to being done.”
Some Things More Serious:
“On August 5th, 2014, the Japanese biologist Yoshiki Sasai hanged
himself in the offices of the Riken Institute’s Center for Developmental
Biology in Kobe, a research center for which he served as associate
director. While the content of several letters found among his belongings
has not been made public, it is known that at least one letter was
addressed to Haruko Obokata, a young researcher whose work Sasai
supervised. Eight months earlier, Obokata had been the first author of two
articles published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature.
The experimental results described in these articles
seemed breathtaking. For over 15 years, biologists around the world had
been fascinated with stem cells, a type of cell that can both divide
indefinitely and differentiate into any kind of cell found in the
human body. The ability to culture stem cells would enable a form of
regenerative medicine in which tissues damaged by disease would
be replaced by these therapeutic cells. Unfortunately, the isolation
and culture of stem cells remains complex, and control of their differentiation is
still rudimentary. Yet in the January 30th, 2014, issue of Nature, 32-year-old Obokata
and her 13 coauthors announced that they had discovered a disarmingly
simple method of transforming an adult lymphocyte (a type of white
blood cell) into a pluripotent stem cell—in other words, a cell capable of
differentiating into countless types of cells.”
Recently, an author on Twitter told me off
for not using universal links. Duly chastised, I took another look. It seems
that this capability has progressed a lot since the bad old days, lol. And
still, it worried me to try it. Before I did anything, I made sure to research
the heck out of it.”
“What happens when a kept woman refuses to take her ridatemp and begins
thinking for herself? In If Nothing Else, Eve, We’ve Enjoyed the
Fruit; she begins talking to bunches of grapes and cantaloupe that
convince her to commit murder. Through her visitations with fruit,
the woman learns that a gender war can be reversed by traveling back
in time and eradicating the Tree of Knowledge and its villainous
apples. The fruit persuade her by telling her four other stories:
Boys Will be Boys:
A spa is turned into a concentration camp:
just don’t ride the elevators!
Ripped to Shreds:
Pregnant Jody Burkhoff’s body is changing rapidly, but not as quickly
as the lupine metamorphosis of her husband. First the neighborhood
animals are mutilated, then the neighbors are viciously murdered.
Which proves to be more dangerous, a monstrous creature or a hormonal
Khaki Barlow enters a pageant in which only one woman survives. She
must complete tasks that are both mentally and physically daunting,
all while trying to learn the meaning of the words left by the
eliminated: I am here. Does she face incredible fears? Does a
one-legged duck swim in a circle?
The Prison of a Man:
Told as an ethnographical project, Lara Thomas researches the deaths
of shoppers at a mall embedded in a small town, and encounters the
legendary Goat Man.
If Nothing Else (Prologue):
Readers learn the final decision in the gender war.”
However, I have so much written it seems a
waste not to use it at all so I’m seriously considering the publication of this
material as a novella series or a single book. Here’s a short portion of what I
wrote about a character named Sramsurash who is a monk who’s done something
quite rash. He’s now thinking back over what he’s done which is what this scene
describes. Read on and I’ll share more of why this was cut at the end:”
“The scene is so familiar. A group of friends headed out to the great outdoors,
all staying in a cabin in the woods. As diverse a group as you’d find, each
with their own quirks and agendas. There’s camaraderie, romance, one-upmanship,
and tension, especially sexual tension. Yet, something feels a little … off.
One of the group senses that they are not alone, and this fear spreads. Is
there someone else out there, hiding in the trees, staying close to the
shadows, lurking in the dark, waiting for the prefect time to strike? There are
tales of strange people who make these woods their home, how they have weird
customs that don’t fit in with the rest of the “civilized” world. That guy who
worked at the gas station along the way sure was strange. And those meats under
the glass at the counter, surely that was just road-kill, right?
Springing from the Southern Gothic,
Hillbilly Horror is a massive trope within horror, and one that is often
misused and abused, even with the best intentions. Mark Twain probably helped
this genre come about, but early literature has examples from Edgar Allan Poe,
H.P. Lovecraft (‘The Call of Cthulhu’ is but one example among many), the work
of William Faulkner with his weird characters and macabre undertones, and of
course, the queen of Southern Gothic, Flannery O’Connor, whose work literally
oozes with the trope. The hillbilly aspect doesn’t necessarily have to be set
in the south, as there are rural areas in every state and country throughout
the world. With a few exceptions, most of these writers barely dabbled with
horror, but yet it permeates the work through and through with a mastery of
tone and atmosphere, so much so that you wouldn’t be surprised to read of
ghosts or other supernatural entities within the pages. In fact, it would be
welcomed with open arms.”
“If you know me, what I’m currently reading may surprise you. I’ve read
nearly all of D.G. Driver’s novels (she’s practically a neighbor, living in
Nashville). All the Love YouWrite is the continuation of
a novella (here)
I read by this author a few years ago. The interfering ghosts mentioned
in the description are Mark’s grandparents who left behind love notes they’d
written to each other while his grandfather served in the Vietnam war. I
challenge you to read this and not have every heartstring you possess tugged
on. Such a sweet, heartwarming story.”
At first, this
both worried and discouraged me. Could I even still call myself a writer if it
wasn’t what I did “for a living”? When people asked me what I did for work,
could I even still say I was a writer? The title was so embedded in my identity
that I was almost afraid I wouldn’t be the same person — the same “me” —
3. https://charlesfrenchonwordsreadingandwriting.wordpress.com/2019/03/09/dining-with-characters-part-4-revisited/ “At the beginning of Stephen King’s epic The
Stand, Larry Underwood is a dissolute rock and roll emerging star, who has
fallen prey to temptation, drugs, and a very dangerous crowd. He comes back
east to visit his mother just in time for the outbreak of Captain Trips. If you
have not read this book, I will go no further with the plot, but I do recommend
it highly. King acknowledged that this book was his homage to Lord
Of The Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien and the same level of epic sweep and
individual morality and action occurs here. For Larry Underwood, his most
powerful moment is that of personal sacrifice.
As a writer, a
reader, and a teacher, I am very interested in how characters change within the
arc of a story. I would want to ask these three how it felt to achieve
their most powerful changes at or near the climax of the pieces.” I have to
agree with this character.
6. https://thesilenteye.co.uk/2019/03/10/seeds-of-reality/ “Every year, the garden catalogue drops through my
letterbox and I start to daydream. I mentally design flowerbeds when my body is
too busy to be doing any of the other things my mind ought to be doing, adding
in all the plants I would love to grow for their beauty, all the fruit and
vegetables I would tuck in between them, all the herbs I like to use for home
remedies. It is a relaxing pastime that costs neither time nor energy, because
I know from experience that the reality will never match the dream.”
7. https://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com/2019/03/09/date-night-kind-of/ “Friday was my only writing day. I went through the
Serang MS with the intention of deleting a chapter. I know we’re supposed to
kill our darlings, but in this I failed. I deleted 10 words.” I can be ruthless
when editing then regret it, lol. Sometimes I chop away the parts I need to
When I arrived at
Inverness in the Scottish Highlands I enquired about historical points of
interest. The words Culloden and battle were
reverently spoken in many a conversation which led me to stand, for the very
first time, on what was once called Drumossie Moor – boggy, heather-clad
moorland, south-east of Inverness.
It was there I
learned about the plight of Bonnie Prince Charlie and his Jacobite forces.
Hundreds of the Prince’s army, predominantly Highlanders, lost their lives in
less than an hour in a battle fought against the Hanoverian forces commanded by
the brutal Duke of Cumberland.”
“I would like to
paint the way a bird sings.” -Monet-
“Great things are
done by a series of small things brought together.”
“Color is a power
that directly influences the soul. Color is the keyboard. The
artist is the hand that plays.” -Kandinsky-”
7. https://scvincent.com/2019/03/12/dramatic-license/ “It was the morning coffee conversation, the one
where I perch on the end of my son’s bed while he considers getting out of it.
Even fuelled by good, freshly ground beans, that can take some time, especially
if we start talking… and that invariably happens.
Today, the subject
that caught out attention was the media…. TV, films, books, the works… and how
fiction inevitably draws us in to a place where our own lives can seem bland in
comparison to their imaginary ‘reality’. From the formulaic drama of romantic
novels, to the condensed ‘reality’-bytes of the soaps, their storylines raise
unconscious expectations and, in contrast, our own experience of life can
appear to be lacking in the essential ingredients, plot twists and the
rollercoasting emotions that are their stock in trade.”
1. https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/2019/03/09/bloghop-survival-of-the-fittest-by-jacqui-murray/ “Chased by a ruthless and powerful enemy, Xhosa
flees with her People, leaving behind a certain life in her African homeland to
search for an unknown future. She leads her People on a grueling journey
through unknown and dangerous lands but an escape path laid out years before by
her father as a final desperate means to survival. She is joined by other
homeless tribes–from Indonesia, China, South Africa, East Africa, and the
Levant—all similarly forced by timeless events to find new lives. As
they struggle to overcome treachery, lies, danger, tragedy, hidden secrets, and
Nature herself, Xhosa must face the reality that this enemy doesn’t want her
People’s land. He wants to destroy her.”
3. https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2019/03/10/meet-guest-author-john-t-l-lu/ “his project, like many formidable tasks, began as a
casual conversation after my wife and I watched the movie ARGO in 2012. The
action thriller kept us on the edges of our seats, and at the end of the
theatrical rendition of the otherwise discreetly executed CIA mission, my wife
suggested that I write down my tour experience during the 1989 Tiananmen Square
incident. I had told the story numerous times to friends and families, but had
never documented in words.”
I wrote about some of the books I was reading last week. I’ve added to the pile: Maeve Grayson’s Katie’s Highlander, Roald Dahl’s Book of Ghosts, Gemma Files’s Experimental Film, Joyce Meyer’s Beauty for Ashes, Writing Irresistible Kidlit by Mary Kole, The Breakout Novel by Donald Maas, Happiness is…by World Publishing, How to Write a Novel by Nathan Bransford, Setting by Jack Bickham, The Business of Being a Writer by Jane Friedman, English Grammar and Composition, and The Confident Woman by Joyce Meyer. I read most of these craft books on the weekend or days I have off of running my kids.