Today I'm delighted to host author Victoria Hanley, whose newest book is Wild Ink: Success Secrets for Writing and Publishing in the Young Adult Market. Now here's a book I wish I could win! Prufrock Press has generously offered a giveaway of this handy guide, so please come and comment in order to enter!
Plus for each tweet of the post 1 extra point; each Facebook post one extra point. Just let me know in the comment that you've helped to spread the word. And include your contact info so I can let you know if you've won.
The contest will run for the next two weeks. Here's Victoria:
Want to Be a Young Adult Novelist? Bring on the Conflict
Writers tend to fall in love with our characters. Their quirky voices fascinate us, and their motivations drive us to keep going for hundreds of pages. Yes, we love them, and we want to ... be mean to them.
What? No! We don’t want to be mean to them. They’re so young and tender, and we love these people! Wouldn’t it be nice if things would just go well for them?
Nice, yes. Good story, no. That’s why you haven’t read any page turners—YA or otherwise—where the characters had it easy.
It can be hard to resist the urge to intervene for your characters as soon as they begin to suffer. I’ve seen plenty of new writers set up convincing conflict only to take pity on their protagonists. This is one of the biggest and most frequent mistakes a new writer can make. It’s a bit like tying off a balloon before there’s enough air pressure. Instead of soaring high, the story will be flabby and drag on the ground.
YA characters are going through the crucible known as “coming-of-age.” A sweet phrase, really –coming-of-age—aw, look, isn’t it pretty?
Let’s hope not.
Whether your YA is a contemporary novel, dystopian fiction, romance, sci-fi, fantasy, horror, or some other subgenre, coming-of age will be horribly grueling for your characters. They’ll have to face down challenges from which there is no escape and no rescue. Depending on your style, they’ll endure physical, emotional or mental pain—or all three, as happened in The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.
Take a look at the conflict you have going in your novel. How much pressure have you put on your protagonist? Have you eased up on the heartache and hardships and angst? Have you allowed the adults in the book to resolve things? Oversimplified an issue or even skipped over it? If so, it’s time to revise!
Choose conflict that fits your characters, message, and plot. Then keep up the pressure until the climax hits. Bam! The balloon explodes. Your protagonist finally gets resolution, and your readers get a book to remember.
Check out this free download of Chapter Two of Wild Ink: Getting Your Book in Shape, Novel Writing 1 http://www.prufrock.com/Assets/ClientPages/pdfs/Wild_Ink_Excerpt.pdf