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.
Sorry for the pic, lol. Short notice to find something else. Just wanted to say I’ve been published by The Fringe Magazine! It’ll be online at first then considered for print. Here’s the link: http://thefringemagazine.blogspot.com/ It’s a suspense/thriller short story.
Finale (conclusion to the Caravel series) by Stephanie
Garber. 2019. FlatIron Books.
Amazon’s blurb: Welcome, welcome to Finale,
the third and final book in Stephanie Garber’s #1 New York
Times bestselling Caraval series!
A love worth fighting for. A dream worth dying for. An ending worth waiting
It’s been two months since the Fates were freed from a
deck of cards, two months since Legend claimed the throne for his own, and two
months since Tella discovered the boy she fell in love with doesn’t really
With lives, empires, and hearts hanging in the
balance, Tella must decide if she’s going to trust Legend or a former enemy.
After uncovering a secret that upends her life, Scarlett will need to do the
impossible. And Legend has a choice to make that will forever change and define
Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all
has begun. There are no spectators this time: only those who will win, and
those who will lose everything.
Welcome, welcome to Finale. All games must
come to an end…
My Review: Tella has been having dreams of
Legend and Jacks. Neither, however, makes an appearance during the day.
Disgusted, she begs Scarlett to watch over their mother and goes to track down
Legend. What she finds, she wishes she hadn’t. Going back to the hotel, she
finds Scarlett and her mother gone. Following her mother’s trail, she is shocked
to witness her murder, paralyzed to not interfere. Jacks finds her and takes
away her pain. Meanwhile, Scarlett has gone to meet with the Count Nicholas.
Who should show but Julian who is bent on chaperoning the event and making her
see that they belong together. Scarlett announces that the two can fight for
her in a game. On the way back to the hotel, they discover that the Fates have
come to life and are using their powers on innocent people. Tella searches for
a way to kill her mother’s murderer, while Scarlett discovers hidden powers
within herself that may lead her to a cruel fate. Will anyone get a happy
I LOVED it! This game is such an
extraordinary world. The Fates. Legend. Jacks. They’re all there and all worth
the wait for an exciting battle to see where each ends in the game.
Book Talk 12/14/18: Roshani Chokshi’s TheGilded Wolves
The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi. MacMillan. Jan. 15th, 2019. Netgalley.
Amazon’s blurb: From New York Times bestselling author Roshani Chokshi comes a novel set in Paris during a time of extraordinary change–one that is full of mystery, decadence, and dangerous desires…
No one believes in them. But soon no one will forget them.
It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.
To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.
Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive.
My review: The story is told in five different viewpoints, making it a bit tough to follow at first but then you get into the meat of the story and it’s a good read. It kind of reminded me of the movie, Now You See Me. Each of the five have different strengths, different lives they lead. They are biding their time together until a better day comes along. However, they’ve all made fast friends and are sort of a family. When one of them is kidnapped by the Fallen House, the others set out to rescue him and may lose all they hold dear.
Her heart raced. There was a crushing weight on her chest that made it impossible to catch her breath. The voicemail alert went off and Sophie shook. First her hands, then her teeth, chattering like it was the dead of winter.
Did she want this night ruined too?
Wasn’t it already ruined?
Reaching for her phone, she swiped the message, letting the voicemail play over speakerphone. She stood in her kitchen, pot of noodles on the stove she no longer was hungry for, and waited for her world to come crashing down all over again.
“Hi Soph. It’s Dad. It’s around six here, so nine there. I figured you might be home by now. Maybe you’re at work.”
Sophie raised her eyebrow. She hadn’t heard from him since their Skype chat at Christmas. It was normal for them, Sophie’s schedule making keeping in touch with anyone difficult, not counting the physical distance and time difference between Buffalo and Seattle. She’d send him a rambling e-mail here and there, but phone calls were in short supply.
“I was just calling to see how things were. I, uh, talked to your mother and wanted to run something by you. See if you’d be open to the idea. Anyway, give me a call when you can. This is my new number. My old phone now lives with the giant squid. Love you, kid.”
Pouring the now-cooked pasta into the strainer, she pondered over the voicemail. It made sense they’d get a new number; he’d kept his one from here despite living out west for almost two decades. To finally assimilate to his new home was a big step.
She called him back, phone on speaker as she finished dinner.
“Hey Dad. Giant squid, huh?”
He laughed, warm and sweet as memories. It was the warm summer afternoons she played out on rock beaches as a kid. The Earl Grey and honey on days when it stormed. This had been the way things were for as long as she had been able to make memories. It was only when she started working that her summers with him stopped.
“Yeah. I was trying to take a picture of some orcas I saw while I was on the ferry and, well, I dropped my phone.”
“Seattle’s way of forcing you to become one of them?”
“I guess so.”
Silence fell between them as she scooped the pasta into a bowl. Dinner for one, but enough for two. She’d have leftovers for tomorrow.
“So,” he started, “I guess I should tell you why I called.”
“Yeah, probably.” Sophie laughed. “Or we can keep talking about how Seattle is swallowing you whole.”
“Well, I actually sold my place in the city.”
“Oh?” The loft had been her favorite. She could sit on the floor, legs crossed, watching the ebb and flow of traffic, both car and ferry. The space had been bright and modern, from what she understood of the word as it applied to interior architecture. But more than that, the loft reflected the mix of new and old Seattle embraced. Sophie wanted to live in something similar one day — a dream closer to becoming a reality the more real estate developers took over Buffalo’s deserted buildings.
Selling the loft should have felt like a bigger betrayal. Like she was losing a piece of her, the way it had felt when her mom sold the house Sophie and Will had grown up in. Sophie’d hated painting over the drawings on her closet wall, the mural on her ceiling, any piece of personality so potential buyers could really see themselves living in that space. But the loft wasn’t home. It was the place Sophie and Will would spend a night or two when they’d come visit during the summer just to do city things: Pike’s Place, catch a Sounders game, explore the EMP. It was a stepping-stone in between SeaTac and the ferry that ushered them out to the peninsula for the summer.
“I’m a full time Port Townsend resident now. Port . . . Townie?”
Sophie rolled her eyes and laughed. “Port Townsend . . . ite. Maybe. I don’t think they’d appreciate you calling them townies, Dad.”
“Yeah, I’m still figuring out the terminology. One of the big tech companies wanted to buy the building, so between that and retirement, I figured what the hell.”
“But you kept the summer house, right?”
“That’s where I’m living full time.”
The summer house sat outside a quiet Victorian town that saw more tourists than locals.
To Sophie, it was the version of home she equated with her dad. She loved the area, how quiet it was, protected between mountains and ocean. As a siren bounced off her apartment building, Sophie wished she was at the summer house now, waves her lullaby instead of the sounds of the city.
Lake Effect is a raw exploration of human emotion and what it takes to save your own life.
After the death of her fiance, Sophie Daniels is struggling to keep herself together. Painting is the only way she’s able to clear her head and stay grounded. For her art isn’t a hobby—it’s her religion.
With a semester away from finishing graduate school, she knows that, despite her loss, things are going to get better. In fact, her thesis advisor has even taken a special interest in her. Sophie’s convinced that she’s found the mentor that she’s been looking for. When he shows he’s interested in her in more than just a student/teacher way, she obliges him. Until his wife leaves him.
Sophie learns the hard way what happens when a man cannot take responsibility for his own actions.
Now she’s back to square one in pulling herself back together.
She hasn’t just lost her fiancé anymore: she’s lost parts of herself she’s not sure she’ll ever get back.
Nicole Tone has always had a passion for writing. She has her BA in Creative Writing and Literature and an MFA in Writing. Nicole is a freelance writer and editor with pieces in Heels Down Magazine, Hello Giggles, Femsplain, and more. She is also the editor-in-chief of Pen Name Publishing.
When she isn’t writing, she likes to dabble in photography, horseback riding, and traveling. She has a deep love for herbal tea, craft beer, and good coffee.
Nicole lives in Buffalo, NY, with her husband, three cats, and two very large dogs.
Generations of Jillian Cley’s family have been tasked with a strange duty—tending the burial plot of Gabriel Vane, whose body was the first to be interred in the Hode’s Hill cemetery. Jillian faithfully continues the long-standing tradition—until one October night, Vane’s body is stolen from its resting place. Is it a Halloween prank? Or something more sinister?
As the descendants of those buried in the church yard begin to experience bizarre “accidents,” Jillian tries to uncover the cause. Deeply empathic, she does not make friends easily, or lightly. But to fend off the terror taking over her town, she must join forces with artist Dante DeLuca, whose sensitivity to the spirit world has been both a blessing and a curse. The two soon realize Jillian’s murky family history is entwined in a tragic legacy tracing back to the founding of Hode’s Hill. In order to set matters right, an ancient wrong must be avenged…or Jillian, Dante, and everyone in town will forever be at the mercy of a vengeful spirit.
End of Day can be read as a stand alone novel or as a follow-up to book one of the Hode’s Hill series, Cusp of Night.
End of Day is available for pre-order through this link
and available to add to your Goodreads to-be-read list here.
Connect with Mae Clair at BOOKBUB and the following haunts:
Legendary: A Caravel Novel by Stephanie Garber. Flat Iron Books 2018.
As always, Amazon blurb: The instant #1 New York Times bestseller!
Stephanie Garber’s limitless imagination takes flight once more in the colorful, mesmerizing, and immersive sequel to the bestselling breakout debut Caraval
A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.
After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.
The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister’s. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever.
Welcome, welcome to Caraval…the games have only just begun.
My review: This book is AMAZING! I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it! I think I even liked it more than the first book, lol. The mystery is even more tangled. From the moment Tella sweeps onto the page, her dislike of Dante and yet being reluctantly attracted to him, is mesmerizing! She is beholden to a criminal and must find the name of Legend or lose her mother forever. As the games begin, that fate is turned further as the Prince of Hearts kisses her and if she doesn’t win Caravel, she will die. With a slow beating heart, she struggles through the game, not sure who is on her side, even her sister, Scarlett, hides things from her. Will this be the end for Tella?
The characters are fantastic! Tella and Dante are just—breathtaking. Scarlett and Julian take a back seat here, but you can’t help but feel that both couples are in for more than they bargained. I’m pretty sure there will be another Caravel novel given the ending. Can’t wait for it!
Told from six narrative strands, this cleverly woven and utterly compulsive novel challenges preconceptions; makes you second, third and fourth guess yourself; and holds an uncomfortable mirror up to the way societies and systems treat those they perceive to be on the outside.”
https://mariacatalinaegan.com/2018/06/16/the-unholy-by-author-paul-deblassie-iii/ ”The Unholy, an excellent novel by Paul DeBlassie III, keeps the reader engaged throughout in mystery, suspense, and church politics. In addition to vividly depicting the beautiful landscape and culture of New Mexico, it exposes and strengthens the traditional work of the medicine women of the Southwest. I am looking forward to Dr. DeBlassie’s next book.” –Eliseo ”Cheo” Torres, author ofCurandero: A Life In Mexican Folk Healing, professor, and university administrator.
https://tinafrisco.com/2018/06/15/author-interview-billy-ray-chitwood/ “The storyline? Meet a mother from hell! I ran across the California newspaper clippings from years ago about a Northern California mother who tortured her six kids – the three girls most specifically – with beatings, dark-closet punishments that could last for days, eating lard and their own retch, standing erect or on their knees for hours at a time. She kills two of the girls by fire, leaving one girl to fear for her life…an amazing story, fictionalized with lots of true elements!”
https://mythcreants.com/blog/lessons-from-the-rambling-writing-of-handbook-for-mortals/ “Last year, Handbook for Mortals by Lani Sarem cheated its way to the top of the New York Times YA bestseller list. It wasn’t #1 for long, though. Observers quickly noticed how strange it was that a book no one had heard of by a brand new publisher had soared to the top. The book wasn’t in stock at most retailers, and the website Fakespot rated the book’s Amazon reviews as suspicious. Also, everyone thought Handbook for Mortals was really bad for a bestseller. After investigating, The New York Times removed the book from their list. You can get all the juicy details on Pajiba.”
http://storitorigrace.blogspot.com/2018/06/5-ways-classic-pc-adventure-games.html “It’s no secret that I freaking love PC Adventure Games. I’ve been playing them since I was seven-years-old. My mom had a lot of them on floppy disc. Yes, floppy disc. If you don’t know what those are, look them up (It’s also what your save icon is in Microsoft Word). XD Then later on with CD-ROM (Now we have snazzy disc-less download stuff. I’m so grateful for that.). So I have many fond memories get on our dinosaur of a computer in the office after finishing my schoolwork for the day and spending time with some of my pixel best friends. I wouldn’t be the same writer I am today without the many skills I learned by playing these games.”
https://stevelaube.com/author-says-agent-hears/ “Many aspiring authors communicate things they think are positive, or at least in the spirit of honesty and transparency, but end up being understood entirely different than the intended message.”
https://stevelaube.com/the_wild_pitch/ “It is the third month of the Major League baseball season, so I thought it would be fun to explore the concept of having a quality pitch. As with baseball, the author needs to pitch their ideas in an effective manner. But it doesn’t always work out that way.”
https://mythcreants.com/blog/why-historical-accuracy-isnt-a-reason-to-exclude-diversity/ “As someone who critiques media for a living, I run into this argument all the time. I see it from the darkest depths of YouTube to the comments section of this very blog. Some people use the argument as a smoke screen to hide the fact that they simply don’t want diverse stories, whereas others genuinely think that history requires stories to be full of bigotry. Either way, the argument is wrong, and here’s why.” I have to agree. All types of people should be in our stories. There’s room for everyone!
http://mybipolarmind.com/2018/06/16/my-2018-vacation-is-in-12-hours/ “I am looking forward to taking lots of pictures and walking on the beach. I would bring my laptop on the sand and stare at the ocean view and write or blog because that is actually on my bucketlist — to write by the ocean — but I am too worried that I would get sand on it or that it will get wet, broken, or stolen. I need my laptop because, well, I am a writer. Or at least, I try to be.” I am going on vacation, too, just not away for one. Well, at least I don’t think so. Instead, I’m taking a writing vacation.
http://www.adventuresinyapublishing.com/2018/06/amy-mcnamara-author-of-flicker-in.html “Many years ago my daughter struggled with a needy, domineering and self-destructive friend. It made me think of my own attraction to a glamorous mess when I was her age. It took me far longer than it took my daughter to realise there is a vast difference between caretaking and genuine friendship and that real friendship is an ongoing balance between give and take.”
https://www.thebookdesigner.com/2018/06/book-promotion-do-this-not-that-june-2018/ “More and more authors are seeing that the ADD TO CART button does not place an order with the author/publisher like it used to. This is not a new phenomenon, but for the last year, Amazon has been awarding the button to the lowest-priced seller and that is often not the author. This has, in some cases, resulted in a dramatic drop in their CreateSpace sales.”
https://selfpublishingadvice.org/indie-authors-ebook-pricing-seeley-james/ “One of the many advantages of being an indie author is that with access to your own dashboard on the book distribution sites (KDP, Kobo, iBooks, etc), you can set your own pricesfor your books, in whatever format you’re self-publishing them, and change them until you hit a sweet spot for profitability.”
https://jamigold.com/2018/06/are-sneaky-plot-holes-lurking-in-your-story/ “Despite the term plot hole, illogical and/or inconsistent events and details in our story can exist in more places than just our story’s plot. And no matter the source, those breaks in logic affect our readers the same way, so we need to watch out for them the same way we keep an eye open for logic holes within our story’s plot.”
https://www.janefriedman.com/the-power-of-silence-in-a-pitch-situation/ “When writers ask me for advice about pitching their work in-person, my favorite tip is: Get the other person talking and asking questions. Rather than dominating the conversation with everything youwant to say, figure out what’s going on inside the head of your target. That’s where the valuable information is. The nature of their response will help you learn the publishing business and how to position your work.”
https://writershelpingwriters.net/2018/06/occupation-thesaurus-entry-business-tycoon/ “Overview: A business tycoon is someone who is extremely successful in their industry. Tycoons tend to be entrepreneurial, coming up with innovative ideas or solutions that help them rise to the top in their fields. Some (Henry Ford, J.P. Morgan, Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffet, etc.) are so famous as to become household names to the general public, while others are simply well-known by those in their fields. A person can become a mogul in any industry—automobiles, banking, social media, finance, media, real estate, etc. Because of their success, these leaders tend to be very wealthy.”
http://www.thepassivevoice.com/morality-clauses-are-publishers-right-to-police-writers/ “As the pressure has mounted, London-based authors’ agent Lizzy Kremer has taken pre-emptive action – drawing up a new, industry-wide code of conduct on behalf of a coalition of authors, booksellers, agents and publishers. The voluntary code was partly inspired by London’s Royal Court theatre, which constructed one in reaction to its own sexual misconduct scandal involving a former artistic director. Among the theatre’s first responses was a call out for testimony about sexual harassment to help it to identify “patterns and scenarios”. In a detail that chimes strongly with the publishing industry, the report drew attention to the dangers of a “blurred social context”: “13.3% of reported incidents happened at work parties … with alcohol.”
http://booksbywomen.org/waiting-for-inspiration-by-penny-kline/ “Sitting agonising never works, at least it doesn’t for me. Obviously, if and when I have a wonderful moment of “inspiration” and the two themes combine into a story, there are still many gaps to be filled and, most importantly of all, characters to create, but where the story came from I couldn’t say. Somewhere in my unconscious, I suppose.” I often have to do something else as well.