The past couple of weeks, I've had the pleasure to review a copy of WRITING YOUNG ADULT FICTION FOR DUMMIES by Deborah Halverson at DearEditor.com. Not only is Deborah the former editor of Harcourt Children's Books, she is also the author of the novels BIG MOUTH and HONK IF YOU HATE ME. She is the mother of triplets, so she is living proof that writing can still be accomplished with a busy schedule (no more excuses out there, people! LOL).
A Dozen Thoughts:
1. Not only is this book for writers of YA, it's for writers of MG fiction. Deborah uses the term "young adult" in the title to mean writing for teens as well as preteens. So it really is more comprehensive than at first glance, covering novels with protagonists ages 9-18.
2. The book is comprehensive, starting out from setting up a writing workspace all the way to the how-to's of publication.
3. Deborah covers what NOT to do as well as what to do. Nitty-gritty do's and don'ts. Learn them in this book and avoid awkward mistakes!
4. She covers self-publishing along with traditional publishing.
5. She includes really cool checklists for novels, as well as writing exercises that make you think about what's going on with your themes, characters, and plots. I am SO going to use the "Using Your Hook to Shape Your Story" section with its handy checklist, for my next WIP.
6. Sidebars include tips from well-known YA authors and agents. Fun to read! Want to see what Cynthia Leitich Smith (ETERNAL, TANTALIZE and BLESSED) has written about paranormal fiction on her page entitled "More Than Monsters"? Read this book.
7. The book is organized into self-contained logical sections so you can browse it like a smorgasbord, choosing what you want, when you need it.
8. I love this intro sentence, as Deborah's goal for what writers can take away from the book: "…how to think like a kid but strategize your novel and your career like an adult."
9. There are great details for the beginning writer, but also wonderful reminders and juicy new tidbits and food-for-thought for more seasoned writers. I learned new things reading it, even though I've been writing and absorbing info for 10 years!
10. Deborah includes great tips for writer's block.
11. There is a section on keeping track of your bibliography for historical or factual research. For instance, she suggests printing or saving online articles, not merely bookmarking them, because websites have a tendency to disappear. Yikes! Good tip, there.
12. And there's a reminder that Wikipedia is NOT always an accurate or reliable source of info. Always double-check facts from these kinds of unofficial sites.
Bottom line: This book is not just for "dummies"!
Does this sound like a book you could use in your quest to become a better writer?
What other how-to books are your favorites, that have been useful to you?
Do you have a busy schedule--with children or a "real" job--to squeeze your writing time into?
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