Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A New Genre? New Adult Fiction, Good News For Young Adult Writers

I do weekly research on the publishing industry and anything writing related. I came across this news about a new genre at jmeadows.livejournal. Read here where the "New Adult" fiction is better explained. And further reading on where NA might go on the book shelves.

It appears to be a genre between young adult and adult, ranging around 20-26 years old. Not completely adult stories, but closer to adult than young adult in ideas and writing.

Personally, I'm glad to hear of this. I've been a bit concerned that younger, and younger children are reading adult level books. For years, I've believed there is a hole in age level reading for what I originally understood as Young Adult. And am I remembering it right that young adult used to be between 20-27? Just because "the powers that be" lowered the age level for a legal adult from 21 to 18, doesn't mean that young people zap into adults at age 18.

Of course as children mature at different levels, some young people are ready for some adult books. But, with many adult literature, children are not mature enough to be processing what it means to deal with grown up issues. Children have enough to handle just being children right where they are emotionally, with the overload of work they take home from school and after school activities. We already know many can be overwhelmed from this alone, not to mention those who return at night to their broken down families. Then, they deal with that.

I'm not one who thinks we should pamper our children and not require responsibility from them, but why would we want our young people struggling to find something to read and choosing a book that's too advanced? And whatever happened to the librarians and teacher's warnings that this is "too advanced" for your age group while learning to read?

Don't you think when a child learns to read well, it shouldn't mean they are ready emotionally for any all all adult themes? From my perspective, I am delighted this new genre seems to be forming. You can be sure that I am eager to see how quickly or not so quickly it takes root.

Any comments on this interesting new genre? I would love to hear from you.

Until next time . . . Write and write daily (during a work week), even it's it one sentence.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Introducing . . . ClaireLee A.D. (After Dislocation)

ClaireLee gazed at shiny buttons all the way up the wool pea jacket, to the scarred face of a tall girl. Her voice boomed like a sports coach in the hall outside of class. “Are ya in fourth, fifth, or sixth grade?” ClaireLee should have looked away. The girl tapped a finger on her chin, cocking a brow. “Lemme guess, ya must be in fourth.”

The girl’s scar fascinated ClaireLee, pushing her good manners out of the nest. Tall girl’s droopy eyelid sagged further. “Whatcha gawkin’ at, squirt?”

ClaireLee’s face warmed. She’d been caught.

Saved by the moving line, ClaireLee walked through the opened door with the other students. Kids settled behind their desks. She found an empty one and slid on in. The teacher, Mrs. Reed, began roll call. ClaireLee’s stomach nose-dived. Please voice; don’t squeak when I say here.

Teacher got to the M’s and said, “ClaireLee Monteiro?”

Her throat froze. She couldn’t even speak, and kids giggled. Mrs. Reed smiled. “ClaireLee is our new sixth grader. Welcome to Gallagher Springs Elementary. I’m assigning Belinda Cruz to show you around.” She pointed toward the back. “Belinda, stand please.”

ClaireLee glanced at the row of desks.

The tall girl stood, staring at ClaireLee. “We already met.”

Mrs. Reed linked her fingers. “How nice. ClaireLee, stick with Belinda until you’re comfortable with the new surroundings.” The teacher clapped. “Okay class, let’s begin with math.” She handed a new book to ClaireLee. “For sixth grade, we left off on page twenty.”

ClaireLee didn’t understand numbers, but that was the least of her problems. She flipped through the pages, feeling Belinda’s stare. ClaireLee planned on learning the layout of the school in record-breaking time.

Okay, this is a bold move on my part. I've pasted my novel's first scene, which earned Letter of Merit in SCBWI's Grant Competition during the years 2004 and 2009.

Now, I'll go hide.

Until next time . . .

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Middle Grade Or Young Adult

I recently read a post about the difference between middle grade and young adult books. You may read the blog post here.

I was especially interested in the topic of MG versus YA. My novel in the making has been a YA. I had to make changes to fit this in MG category, but after years of flip flopping and unsure, ClaireLee A.D. (After Dislocation) is an upper middle grade novel.

My character has been eleven, twelve, and now she's thirteen. Yes, my story has undergone much transformation over the eleven years. And yes, again, I have written and published articles and short stories, and started many, many works-in-progress during this time. My recent work, Granny and the Road Trip, is my first contemporary story. It is not a heavy topic like CLAD, and I laughed with pleasure as I wrote the first draft. This time, the age group is easy to figure, it is for upper middle grade, again.

I think that's my audience for now. Since I'm not book published, I'll write where I'm most comfortable. As to whether or not an editor would decide differently and categorize CLAD or Road Trip as YA, is up to them. I'm not the expert on this decision, as I write from the heart and show determination as I plant myself in the chair and work.

Until next time . . .

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Writer's Life: What I Am Doing

Now that summer is over and fall is winding down, I've squeezed in more time to write and to take care of the business side of writing. I've begun to send out another round of queries for my story, ClaireLee A.D. (After Dislocation).

The declines have been kind with a few of them personal notes. The agents are thoughtful and their professional courtesy makes me wish they would take me and my project on. Agents have to be extra careful when acquiring a new client, because selling books to publishers is harder in this publishing climate. Although I read last week on Publishers Weekly that young adult sales will increase, where as the adult book buying market is expected to decline.

Since ClaireLee A.D. won a Letter of Merit, I know my story has a chance. But, I must work harder, continuing to sharpen my craft. Giving my writing the editorial eye is an absolute must. As I go through the manuscript once again, I pretend I am the editor that has my first twenty pages. She's going to be critical as she reads. I, too, must be critical, as I read the rest of the manuscript.

I've found myself slashing out more lines that don't move the story. Words and sentences I've hung onto for a decade. This is hard, but I ask: Do I want to amuse myself or get my story out for children to read? I must remember my audience is more than me, myself, and I.

Until next time . . .