Part II in our EXCLUSIVE article by editor, Teresa Kennedy!
DO read writers you admire, but DON’T try to imitate them. Instead, make a mental inventory of just WHY you find a particular author’s work engaging. Is it the dialogue? The emotional lives of the characters? The quirky reality of the urban fantasy setting? The intricate twists of the plot? When you’ve got a clear idea of what makes a book come alive for you, you’ll get a better grasp of the kind of writing skills you need to acquire to make your novel one that others will admire in turn.
DO know your audience. I’m amazed at how many works in progress I read where the authors don’t seem to have a clear idea of just who their readers are. Today’s teens are much more sophisticated than many authors give them credit for, and part of the reason YA is so popular is because writers got brave enough to address the realities of teen life. Drug use, pregnancy, runaways, abuse, sexual identity and a host of other topics have all been addressed in contemporary YA fiction, so don’t be shy about pushing the envelope in your choice of subject matter. Instead, take the phrase “young adult” literally: your characters may be teenagers, but they should be confronting some very adult situations. That doesn’t mean every book has to be serious or depressing, but it does mean that even in a fantasy, you have to keep it real.
Missed part I? Click here.
Check in next week for PART III.