Sunday, March 28, 2010

Wannabe Writers #9

Wannabe Writers is a meme created by Sarah of Confessions of the Un-published!

One of my goals right now is to move my literary ambitions out of the box and onto the shelf, by which I mean that I no longer want to ignore how much I enjoy writing. I love the idea of this meme, and I'll quote from Sarah's post here:

I often find myself searching the web for information during my struggles as a new writer. So I wanted to start a place where us future young-adult authors can come together to ask those questions, share our stories, and get feedback.

I'm going to be offline for the day, but I will read your lovely comments and get back to y'all on your blogs ASAP Monday. :-)

Where I am in the writing process:  Novel #1 received some editing, including a new opening (or maybe that was last week...), and I wrote a new query letter. It's still not right, but I'm letting it soak, trying to get past the in-over-my-head feeling I have regarding this query letter. I hope they're not all this hard. I also started a short story about a tragic ancestral event (not to be overly dramatic or anything...). Novel #2 is about 5000 words longer on top of all that, so in all, it was a great writing week.

My current problems:  Ummm...query letters? Openings? Oh, yes, why is my novel not YA? The protagonist is 18, and she's dealing with insecurities and questions and has lots of who-am-I moments? Is that adult or YA? I've read a lot of YA novels where the protag is an older teen. I thought maybe my first 10 pages make the character seem older so maybe only the first few chapters aren't obviously YA.

My question of the week then:  What makes YA...YA?

Question(s) this week: Writing Romance? How to develop a relationship out of thin air and make it believable? (And not just lust)

I have trouble with this too. To get by the problem right now, I'm having the relationships develop pretty slowly. The characters are teens so there's a lot of flirting and a few cheesy lines (from the guy) and some mild insecurities and is-this-the-right-guy-for-me-right-now type things (from the girl). That's the kind of thing I remember from high school.

In Novel #1, the character Jay was supposed to be the MC's, Zee's, love interest, but then he revealed himself to be a jerk (to Zee and *I* at the same time; boy, was I surprised!) and someone else showed up. I didn't think Cee (the 2nd guy) would be very good at it, but he stepped up to the plate, wooing Zee very calmly and quietly. It was all very strange, since it wasn't what I intended, but I think it works for them.

So I guess...make it feel real. Don't rush it if the characters aren't ready. If they are, sometimes attraction just happens, both in books and in real life.


  1. I am so glad you are joining in this meme! I want to hear more about your thoughts on writing. :)

  2. Hey Erin
    I feel like YA is such a broad range. I got a new book today from the bookstore and I started reading it only to realize that it seems more of a middle-grade type. Like the MC is in 9th grade and I like it when they are 16-18 range (I guess I'm picky) And I've heard more and more people refer to New Adult. Which is like college, age 18-21ish. So don't worry about what to call it. 18--I would say 18 is YA.

    In my current WIP my MC is 18 and about to graduate from high school. And I'm thinking is YA.

    Oh and I always thought YA had to be pretty clean but after reading Perfect Chemistry I now know that's not true either.

  3. Wow... wait are you joking about not knowing it was going to happen because it dosn't seem like it.

  4. J. Kaye--Thanks so much! This meme is one of my favorites (if not my favorite).

    Sarah--Your opinion makes me feel so much better. I was spazzing a little about what I needed to do. Make it older? Make it younger? I'm glad to know this type of story isn't alone.

    Swimmer--Really, I didn't know what was going to happen. I thought the 1st guy was going to be sweet, but when he wasn't, I groaned and went back to edit his character. Then I found out he'd been turning into a jerk all along; I just hadn't realized it. The 2nd guy went from being a minor character to one of the main ones and one of my favorites...I (obviously) don't outline. ;-)

  5. Wow you're doing quite well! In terms of query letters, I saw a wonderful interview with Elana Johnson that may be helpful:

    I agree with your sentiments about making it real. I'm a realist and there are instances when I worry that will interfere with my characters, but it's had the opposite effect.

  6. Sounds like you are doing quite well. Porcelaine has a good suggestion. Elana wrote a great ebook about querying.

    As far as romance is concerned, I agree - keep it real. It depends on the characters, their ages, etc. Glad you joined in.

  7. Boy, I love your blog to the point of ridiculousness. :D

    Anyway, congrats on all the work you did last week! I can't even imagine how in-over-my-head I'll feel when someday writing a query letter. I suppose it must feel like the future of your entire writing career relies on that specific email - although, of course, it doesn't. Brilliance comes in spurts. ;D

    That YA-or-not-YA question is an intriguing one. Have you worked with betas? I'm sure input from a few (or one) beta would help you come to a decision as to whom this book is targeted toward!


    P.S. I love that your character caught you by surprise - that's a good thing.

  8. Recently a new market is up and coming called the "new adult" market, sort of in between YA and adult, for the 18-25 crowd. Maybe that's where your book would fit?

    Query letters - Ugh. I hear you on that. I've written several, but unfortunately they haven't gotten any easier. :( Good luck!