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Posts Tagged ‘young adult’

I have almost finished my YA urban fantasy, Lupus Rex: Blood on the Moon. Seventeen-year-old Will discovers that he is unique and has two werewolf genes, Double Alpha, which makes him Lupus Rex. He is not sure he wants the title or the werewolf life, and someone is stalking him to prevent him from becoming Lupus Rex.

I have taken the Arthurian myths, added Lupines (werewolves), and transported them to the present in the real world.

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Obvious you say. I am a storyteller and write whatever genre or age is appropriate to my story, but I often write for children. I belong to SCBWI (Society for Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators). The rule of thumb is that children like to read books whose main character is their age or slightly older. Recommended ages for readers & main characters vary from publisher to publisher, so these are general guidelines:

Picture Books: Ages 3 to 7, main character’s ages 5 to 9 (Board Books for younger readers & Easy Readers for slightly older readers extends range in both directions)

Middle Grade (Middle Reader’s): Ages 8 to 13, main character’s ages 10 to 14 (slightly younger readers may read Chapter Books—early middle reader’s books with a limited number of illustrations; slightly older readers may read Tween fiction involving dating)

Young Adult: Ages 14 to 18; high school readers. Main character’s ages high school freshmen to seniors. (New Adult, Young Adult fiction geared toward college-age readers, is becoming popular but controversial for its sometimes adult themes)

Here are the issues the main characters usually deal with for each category:

Picture Books: Searching for Security. Children this age, even while playing & having fun, need to know their parents are there for them with love, protection, and life’s necessities. The Llama Llama series of books by author/illustrator Anna Dewdney features a baby llama enduring various adventures & challenges, but above all, Mamma remains nearby.

Middle Grade: Searching for Identity. Children in this age are not certain who they are or what their abilities are. They often do things in groups to obtain peer approval, because they lack self-confidence and self-identity. J K Rowling’s early Harry Potter books are an example. Harry didn’t know he was a wizard with powers or that he would have a quest. And he didn’t know who his allies (his group) would be, but he gradually learned.

Young Adult: Searching for Independence. Teenagers are famous for their rebellion against parents, sometimes called “attitude.” Psychologists have described this as subconscious psychological efforts to separate themselves from their families, so they can become adults. Most people think of the Hunger Games as pure survival. Katniss lost her mother, but she is seeking independence from the oppressive, totalitarian society that replaced her parents.

New Adult is often described older teens &/or undergraduate college students exploring their new-found independence. My thriller, Experiment 38, is New Adult. The main character has just graduated from high school. She quickly learns that independence from parents has its dangers.

Adult or Children’s Book?

Your main character can be a child and can deal with mature (non-sexual) themes, so your manuscript would be adult. Another peculiarity of writing for children is that boys prefer to read books where the main character is a boy, but girls will read books where the main character is a boy or girl.

My favorite rule for writing is: Take your reader where they are not expecting to go. This also applies to children. Once you know your audience you can take them to destinations unknown and even undreamed of.

spearfinger-cover-test-draft

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Completed and edited, looking for an agent:

17-year-old Sy dreams that he is Osiris, & then he finds Lisa, Isis, but a detective accuses Sy of murder because 3 people die while Sy watches. After Seth & Anubis take Sy’s little sister hostage, can Sy and Lisa rescue her and defeat them? Does Osiris have to die again in the twenty-first century? Osiris Must Die is a YA urban fantasy that takes place in the real world.

IreadYA-select

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Revisions: My Love-Hate Relationship

My YA thriller, Experiment 38, was released 2015 by 4RV Publishing after years of revision. My first attempt at a thriller, I titled my first draft, Emily Always. After attending several writing workshops, I learned that I had written YA, because Emily, my main character, was eighteen.

I did my homework: YA was for teenagers, often involving an adolescent’s search for independence from their parents. Thrillers needed hooks at the end of each chapter and plot twists. And Emily Always was a dull thriller title. I rewrote it as YA, calling it Experiment 47.

Then I joined SCBWI and learned more: SHOWING was good and TELLING was bad. Avoid passives (was, etc.). And Experiment 47 was a bad title for a book about chromosomes, because 47 is the number of chromosomes for Down syndrome and many other chromosomal syndromes. I rewrote it, naming it Experiment 38. (38 is a specific number, but you’ll have to read the book to find out why)

An acquisition editor suggested that I rewrite the first five chapters. Over a six-week period I rewrote them several times. Then she gave me a contract! I was all set. So I thought. The working editor told me to eliminate backstory and start the novel where the story really begins. I cut the first five chapters that I had sweated over for so long and revised the remaining chapters as requested. I thought I was done. A second editor made minor but time consuming suggestions. Then a third editor made more suggestions taking more time. I was almost afraid to ask, but finally I finished.

Yes, I hated the revisions. No, I don’t regret them. I have a book that I love to send to reviewers and submit to contests.

Experiment 38: Eighteen-year-old Emily, small for her age, lives alone with her scientist-father and learns too late that he holds a terrible secret, one that might destroy her life.
As she and her boyfriend, Nate, try to unravel the mystery behind her father’s secret, they face danger and uncertainty.

Buy:

Indiebound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781940310022

4RV Publishing: http://www.4rvpublishingcatalog.com/charles-suddeth.php

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/experiment-38-charles-suddeth/1121211605?ean=9781940310022

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Experiment-38-Charles-Suddeth/dp/1940310024/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1424283309&sr=1-1&keywords=experiment+38

Books A Million: http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Experiment/Charles-Suddeth/9781940310022?id=6239457417777

YA thriller, publication TBA

YA thriller, publication TBA

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22 Rules adapted from Pixar

 

Rule 1: How hard a character tries counts more than his/her success.

I.e. it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all (Bill Shakespeare maybe?).

 

Rule 2: Make it fun for the reader, not fun for the writer. I.e. keep the reader in mind. I am sometimes guilty of that.

 

Rule 3: Themes are important, but they often aren’t apparent until the end of the story. Worry about theme on your rewrite.

 

Rule 4: Once upon a time…Daily…One day…Because of that and that…Finally. A story progression more for cartoons or picture books.

 

Rule 5: Keep it simple. Maybe even combine characters. If you stumble on something in your story, go around it, come back later(maybe). I heard it as KISS-Keep It Simple, Stupid.

 

Rule 6: What are your main character’s strengths? Throw the worst at them. Can they handle it? (I always heard it as ruin your POV character’s day)

 

Rule 7: Figure out the ending then worry about the middle. I’ve been told that at workshops.

 

Rule 8: Even if it’s not perfect, finish your story. Learn from it. What’s the prefect story look like?

 

Rule 9: When you get stuck, make a list of what won’t happen next. Hopefully the next step will appear.

 

Rule 10: Dissect the stories you like. Your story will be a part of you, but you have to understand it before you can write it.

 

Rule 11: Don’t leave a story in your head, get it on paper even if it’s flawed.

 

Rule 12: Plot twists—don’t use your first idea or the second and so on. Surprise yourself.

 

Rule 13: Make your character strong, even opinioned, but never wishy-washy. (Charlie Brown had opinionated secondary characters)

 

Rule 14: Why do you have to tell this particular tale? If you don’t have a reason, maybe you shouldn’t.

 

Rule 15: You have to experience your POV character’s emotions, feelings etc. as if it’s really you.

 

Rule 16: Raise the stakes. If the character fails in the middle of the story, raise the stakes anyway.

 

Rule 17: Don’t throw away manuscripts that don’t work. Someday you find a need for them.

 

Rule 18: Do your best and don’t worry about failure.

 

Rule 19: You can use a coincidence to get a character in trouble, but not to solve their problems.

 

Rule 20: Exercise: Take a story you don’t like. What would you do to make it a good story?

 

Rule 21: You have to identify with your POV character. You have to understand why they act and say the way they do.

 

Rule 22: Do you understand the heart of your story? Is your story buried in your manuscript? I.e. have you overwritten?

YA thriller, publication TBA

YA thriller, publication TBA

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Review for Experiment 38

Experiment 38 is a thrilling read from start to finish, with a sweet romance and friendship throughout. I loved Nate’s devotion to Emily, especially given the dangers that lurked around every corner. I also loved Nate’s friends who helped no matter what catastrophes could befall them. They seemed to like the risks! But, I didn’t expect to be so enthralled as it is a young adult book. I figured it would be an enjoyable romance novel, with a simple mystery thrown in. I also didn’t expect to be guessing until the end what the heck was going on with Emily! Was she a robot, a real girl, something in between? To find out, read Experiment 38 by Charles Suddeth. You won’t be disappointed!

By Shawn Simon, author of Stepping into a New Role, Stories from Stepmoms.

Website: StepmomShawn.com

Facebook: Stepmom Shawn Simon Says

Twitter: @shawnsimon44

 

Experiment 38: Young adult thriller, 4RV Publishing, paperback: ISBN: 978-1-940310-02-2

YA thriller, publication TBA

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Review for Experiment 38

Experiment 38 is a thrilling read from start to finish, with a sweet romance and friendship throughout. I loved Nate’s devotion to Emily, especially given the dangers that lurked around every corner. I also loved Nate’s friends who helped no matter what catastrophes could befall them. They seemed to like the risks! But, I didn’t expect to be so enthralled as it is a young adult book. I figured it would be an enjoyable romance novel, with a simple mystery thrown in. I also didn’t expect to be guessing until the end what the heck was going on with Emily! Was she a robot, a real girl, something in between? To find out, read Experiment 38 by Charles Suddeth. You won’t be disappointed!

By Shawn Simon, author of Stepping into a New Role, Stories from Stepmoms.

Website: StepmomShawn.com

Facebook: Stepmom Shawn Simon Says

Twitter: @shawnsimon44

 

Experiment 38: Young adult thriller, 4RV Publishing, paperback: ISBN: 978-1-940310-02-2

YA thriller, publication TBA

Read Full Post »

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