After feeling so incredibly inspired from Mindi Scott and all her thoughts I’m thinking about asking other authors to throw their thoughts into the mix. In short, how would everyone feel about some kind of series on writing contemporary (realistic) YA?
It would address things like: plot, pacing, conflict, character development, setting; all within a contemporary context. I’d love to know what questions you have and what you’re finding to be a particular struggle. Hit me up in the comments.
If you’re a contemporary author and would like to be involved feel free to shoot me an email or harass me on twitter. I’m not sure of the format of the posts yet but I’m thinking an interview type style.
I’m excited! *jumps around*
I recently listened to part one of a Clear Eyes Full Shelves podcast on Personal Agency. If you’re a writer of contemporary (and if you’re not) I can’t recommend this enough.
When I first delved into the writing world I inhaled all the advice I could find on craft and structure etc but I felt a disconnect between what I wanted to write and the examples workshopped in so many posts and books. Everything seemed very action focused: good guy vs bad guy etc and I struggled to find anything that would break open a contemporary novel and study all its parts.
In this podcast, Sarah and Laura talk to author Mindi Scott about her novels within the context of personal agency. About characters becoming aware of their place in the world and how they choose to act. The subtleties in story and character development that Mindi unpacked were amazing. My favourite thing she said was how she thinks about her characters in terms of what they can’t do and by the end of the novel can they do that thing now. (Wow, I butchered that quote…and sentence)
Creating a page turning, satisfying story in a slice-of-life contemporary novel can seem so much more complicated than having your characters face down actual bad guys. So often the characters are warring with themselves and the ‘death’ that’s hanging over them is emotional and can seem dismissible. Mindi talks about latching onto that thing they want, that they can’t do or have and bringing them through to the other side.
Bonus Side Note:
Here are some of my favourite books on writing:
Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott
Elements of Fiction Writing – Conflict and Suspense by James Scott Bell
On Writing by Stephen King
What are yours?
on repeat, yo
Why hello there, weekend! You certainly snuck up on me.
This week has been nothing short of brilliant. I had the privilege of being part of Pitch Madness which led to some amazing requests and new writer friends. If you’re up to querying I strongly recommend entering the next Pitch Madness (whenever that may be). It was such a positive experience. Normally I find writing competitions or critique opportunities make me feel a bit ill. Having your work just sitting out there for anybody to read and have thoughts about is pretty nerve wracking. And sometimes those critiques, wow, they can smart.
Not so with Pitch Madness. Everybody was so encouraging and supportive and I just felt so encouraged and supported! I existed on very little sleep, from checking the results on twitter to late night revisions to my two-year-old deciding to wake up at 2am, and in this constant surreal state of mind. It was a definite high.
It could just be me coming down from this high now and feeling all weepy but man I love the writing community! Never underestimate the power of encouragement. I really value all the kind words I’ve received from my peers. Seriously. I owe the hugest of thanks to Brenda Drake for putting in all the hard work into this competition and a very special thank you to my team leader Shelly Watters. Thank you! And I wish so much luck to all my fellow Pitch Madders (and Pit Madders!) I can’t wait to read all of your books!
*takes a really long nap*
Had a lovely day of writing and now it’s time to cook dinner for the tiny child. We have a rule in our kitchen: if you’re in the kitchen you must be dancing! There are no exceptions…just ask the cat.
Pieces of Sky
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