Saturday, August 1, 2015

0 1st 5 Pages Workshop is Now Closed



Hi Everyone,

Sorry but the 1st 5 Pages Workshop is now closed. Once again, we filled up in a minute! I will email the participants that made it into the workshop today. If you don't hear from me, I'm sorry but you didn't get in this month. Please try again next month! We open the first Saturday in September.

Erin

0 1st 5 Pages Workshop is Now Open!

Our August workshop is now open! We'll take the first five Middle Grade, Young Adult, or New Adult entries that meet all guidelines and formatting requirements. Click here to get the rules. I will post when it closes here, on Adventures in YA Publishing, and on twitter (@etcashman), with the hashtag #1st5pages. In addition to our permanent mentors, we have Lori Goldstein  as our author mentor, and in addition to being a talented writer and a very nice person, Lori is an alum of the workshop! Our agent mentor is the fabulous Caitie Flum.

And remember, we have a new format! The workshop is now four weeks, so the participants have the opportunity to get feedback on a pitch, and Caitie will select one participant as the “workshop winner”- and the prize is that she will review and comment on the first chapter of the manuscript!

August Guest Mentor – Lori Goldstein 

Lori was born into an Italian-Irish family and raised in a small town on the New Jersey shore. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Lehigh University and worked as a writer, editor, and graphic designer before becoming a full-time author. She currently lives and writes outside of Boston. Lori is the author of the young adult contemporary fantasy series Becoming Jinn (Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan, April 21, 2015, Spring 2016). You can visit her online at www.lorigoldsteinbooks.com.



BECOMING JINN



Azra has just turned sixteen, and overnight her body lengthens, her olive skin deepens, and her eyes glisten gold thanks to the brand-new silver bangle that locks around her wrist. As she always knew it would, her Jinn ancestry brings not just magical powers but the reality of a life of servitude, as her wish granting is controlled by a remote ruling class of Jinn known as the Afrit. To the humans she lives among, she's just the girl working at the snack bar at the beach, navigating the fryer and her first crush. But behind closed doors, she's learning how to harness her powers and fulfill the obligations of her destiny. Mentored by her mother and her Zar "sisters," Azra discovers she may not be quite like the rest of her circle of female Jinn...and that her powers could endanger them all.

Purchase it at your local bookstore, or online at Indie BoundAmazonBarnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf on Goodreads!

August Guest Agent – Caitie Flum

Caitie joined Liza Dawson Associates in July 2014 as assistant and audio rights manager. She graduated from Hofstra University in 2009 with a BA in English with a concentration in publishing studies. Caitie interned at Hachette Book Group and Writers House. She was an Editorial Assistant then Coordinator for Bookspan, where she worked on several clubs including the Book-of-the-Month Club, The Good Cook, and the Children's Book-of-the-Month Club. Caitie is looking for commercial and upmarket fiction with great characters and superb writing, especially historical fiction, mysteries/thrillers of all kinds, magical realism, and book club fiction. Caitie is also looking for Young Adult and New Adult projects, particularly romance, historical fiction, mysteries and thrillers, and contemporary books with diverse characters. In nonfiction, she is looking for memoirs that make people look at the world differently, narrative nonfiction that's impossible to put down, books on pop culture, theater, current events, women's issues, and humor.

So what are you waiting for? Send those pages!

Erin

0 1st 5 Pages Workshop Opens Today!

Our August workshop will open for entries today, at noon, EST. We'll take the first five Middle Grade, Young Adult, or New Adult entries that meet all guidelines and formatting requirements. Click here to get the rules. I will post when it opens and closes on Adventures in YA Publishing and on twitter (@etcashman), with the hashtag #1st5pages. In addition to our permanent mentors, we have Lori Goldstein  as our author mentor, and in addition to being a talented writer and a very nice person, Lori is an alum of the workshop! Our agent mentor is the fabulous Caitie Flum.

And remember, we have a new format! The workshop is now four weeks, so the participants have the opportunity to get feedback on a pitch, and Caitie will select one participant as the “workshop winner”- and the prize is that she will review and comment on the first chapter of the manuscript!

August Guest Mentor – Lori Goldstein 

Lori was born into an Italian-Irish family and raised in a small town on the New Jersey shore. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Lehigh University and worked as a writer, editor, and graphic designer before becoming a full-time author. She currently lives and writes outside of Boston. Lori is the author of the young adult contemporary fantasy series Becoming Jinn (Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan, April 21, 2015, Spring 2016). You can visit her online at www.lorigoldsteinbooks.com.



BECOMING JINN



Azra has just turned sixteen, and overnight her body lengthens, her olive skin deepens, and her eyes glisten gold thanks to the brand-new silver bangle that locks around her wrist. As she always knew it would, her Jinn ancestry brings not just magical powers but the reality of a life of servitude, as her wish granting is controlled by a remote ruling class of Jinn known as the Afrit. To the humans she lives among, she's just the girl working at the snack bar at the beach, navigating the fryer and her first crush. But behind closed doors, she's learning how to harness her powers and fulfill the obligations of her destiny. Mentored by her mother and her Zar "sisters," Azra discovers she may not be quite like the rest of her circle of female Jinn...and that her powers could endanger them all.

Purchase it at your local bookstore, or online at Indie BoundAmazonBarnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf on Goodreads!

August Guest Agent – Caitie Flum

Caitie joined Liza Dawson Associates in July 2014 as assistant and audio rights manager. She graduated from Hofstra University in 2009 with a BA in English with a concentration in publishing studies. Caitie interned at Hachette Book Group and Writers House. She was an Editorial Assistant then Coordinator for Bookspan, where she worked on several clubs including the Book-of-the-Month Club, The Good Cook, and the Children's Book-of-the-Month Club. Caitie is looking for commercial and upmarket fiction with great characters and superb writing, especially historical fiction, mysteries/thrillers of all kinds, magical realism, and book club fiction. Caitie is also looking for Young Adult and New Adult projects, particularly romance, historical fiction, mysteries and thrillers, and contemporary books with diverse characters. In nonfiction, she is looking for memoirs that make people look at the world differently, narrative nonfiction that's impossible to put down, books on pop culture, theater, current events, women's issues, and humor.

So what are you waiting for? Get those pages ready!

Erin

0 Lisa Schroeder, author of ALL WE HAVE IS NOW, on not being afraid to fail

We're excited to have Lisa Schroeder join us to share more about her latest novel ALL WE HAVE IS NOW.

Lisa, what scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

I wrote and rewrote the ending. It was hard. I didn't know what to do. I knew what I wanted to do but I worried people wouldn't like it. And yet, when I tried to do the thing people would expect, I couldn't do it. I don't want to give anything away, obviously, but in the end, I had to follow my heart. My YA novels are often popular with middle school students, and when I thought of them reading this book, the ending I went with seemed right. As far as the scene I love, there's a scene where the characters dance to a French song in a little cafe where they eat macarons and drink tea. It's very me, I think that's why I probably love it.

Friday, July 31, 2015

1 Harry Potter Day! A Celebration of JK Rowling's Influence on Writers

Happy Potter Day!


July 31. Since 1997, it is the day that many fans worldwide have celebrated the birthday of a very special character and story. JK Rowling's imagination has touched thousands of lives and inspired millions to read.

But she also inspired writers. And it seems appropriate to us at Adventures in YA Publishing to celebrate on this day, which is also JK Rowling's 50th birthday, the influence she had on so many to create their own characters and envision their own worlds. We've gathered stories from many authors sharing how Harry and Jo influenced them. We hope you will enjoy these treasured inspirations and share your own in the comments.

But as it's Jo's birthday, let us also not forget the many charities she's sponsored. To give a present to a women who has given us so much would mean remembering Lumos (seeks to end institutionalized orphanages and place children in homes), or Gingerbread (provides help to one-parent families), or Book Aid International (works to provide libraries and books in Africa). Indeed, Jo gave so generously, that she was knocked off Forbes' billionaire list.

Happy Birthday Jo! May you have many more, and may we enjoy more fruits of your imagination.



How Harry Potter Influenced Me. A Birthday Celebration of JK Rowling's Influence on Writers!


-- Donna Hosie, author of The Devil's Intern, Website, Twitter
Like many authors, I started writing because of Harry Potter. During the years of release mania, I was lucky enough to be working on The Leaky Cauldron website, a fan site that J.K. Rowling actually named as her favourite. Warner Bros and EA Games asked me to be a fan consultant on some of their movie tie-in products and I would go along to the studios, interview the creative masterminds, see stills, props and conceptual artwork before anyone else, and generally geek out and yell "Expelliarmus" at unsuspecting Muggles!

I went from writing reports of my visits to writing fan fiction to writing my own time-travel novels. Eight years after 'The End', I'm an award-winning author. None of that would have happened without The Boy Who Lived. So Harry Potter literally changed my life.

And I'm still yelling "Expelliarmus"!



-- Claire M. Caterer, author of The Wand & The Sea, Website, Twitter

I can't say I've grown up with Harry Potter, because I was already grown when I started reading about him. But I will say my writing grew up--quite a lot. What I've taken from J.K. Rowling's example are two crucial points: complexity of character and complexity of plot.

Few things have moved me in literature more than the struggle of Severus Snape as the good and bad within him dueled for supremacy. When I sat down to write my first children's book, I knew I needed some characters who struggled within themselves the way Snape does, the way Harry does (forever wondering if he's somehow part Voldemort), the way Dumbledore does. "The world isn't split into good people and Death Eaters," as Sirius Black says.

And how could anyone not be awed and influenced by the intricacy of the Harry Potter plots? The gentle placement of symbols, especially those relating to alchemy and the elements, had a huge impact on me as I was planning THE KEY & THE FLAME series. JKR taught me to go back through the manuscript, deepen the work a little bit more, and then again, and yet again. I haven't mastered her methods yet, but I keep trying.



-- Lisa Gail Green, author of Soul Crossed, Website, Twitter

Harry Potter was so amazing that it actually delayed me from pursuing writing! I felt like nothing less was worthwhile, and that at the same time there was no way to reach that level of accomplishment. What cured me? I read Twilight. LOL!!! *ducks tomatoes*

Seriously though, HP is mastery at work. JK Rowling invited us into a world, as readers, that was as real as the one we live in, yet full of magic. Every detail, every character, a well-rounded masterpiece that fit together as a perfect puzzle. Not just that - but as a person she is an absolute inspiration. When I have trouble writing because of my toddler I think of her with the stroller in a cafe scribbling in a notebook and I have renewed determination.



 -- Gwynne Jackson, author of "Hans & the Best Day Ever" in Happily Ever Afterlife, Website, Twitter

Three points come to mind when I think of the influence JK Rowling and her Harry Potter books have had on my writing. The first is that being a visual writer is a very good thing. JKR has the ability to describe things just enough so that we can see them, but can still put our own spin on them. The most beautiful part of this is that she rarely overdoes it. Point #2 is in the way she buries clues deep inside her narrative. Sometimes these clues might not even be recognized as clues until four or five books later, but her consistency with them is outstanding. A name here, an attribute there, and three books later it's a major plot point. Some of these might have been planted in advance and others serendipitous, but in either case they're brilliant.

The biggest influence JKR's had on my writing is in the way she treats minor characters. I doubt there's a single character in any of the HP books where she doesn't know their story, their background, their motivations, their desires. This is what's fueled so much fanfiction based on her work: everyone loves a hero, but she makes the other characters so real and so multi-layered that as readers we can't help but want to make each of them the star. In real life we're all the center of our own universe. JK Rowling has created a world where that's also true for every one of her characters. It's my favorite thing about her writing, and something I always try to emulate.



-- Gwen Katz, represented by Thao Le, Website, Twitter

Hogwarts felt the size of a real school: Harry has a lot of acquaintances beyond his close friends, he isn't always in the same classes with his friends, and even in the later books, he sometimes runs into kids he doesn't know because they're in other houses and grades. Important roles like Quidditch team captain often fall to people outside the main characters, making them feel like real people with actual lives who don't cease to exist when Harry isn't around. Harry Potter encouraged me to set my books in large worlds where even minor characters feel like they are living real lives.

source

  -- Susan Sipal, author of A Writer's Guide to Harry Potter, Website, Twitter

I was already a writer when I first started reading Harry Potter to my son, but my writing took a turn after meeting The Boy Who Lived.  My son and I spent many hours together ferreting out JK Rowling's clues and trying to guess what would happen next. While he loved figuring out the meanings behind her mythical names, I got sucked into the many layers of subtext JKR wove into each adventure.

Rowling knew how to deeply engage her reader. She always gave the reader more...more delightful characters, more fantastic world building, and more deeply hidden mysteries and secrets. This depth and reader engagement is why Harry Potter spawned fanfiction, fanart, Wizard Rock, movies, and even theme parks. Seeking to understand her secrets, I developed a workshop analyzing Rowling's techniques for writers, and have enjoyed presenting it to fans who love Rowling's creations as much as I do. She has inspired me to, in any genre I write, always write below the surface and to seek the reader's engagement like Harry seeking the Snitch.


The love of a very powerful story can influence writers in the stories they tell for years to come. We thank all the authors for sharing their own encounter with The Boy who Lived.

Please, everyone, feel free to add in the comments your experience of how Harry Potter or JK Rowling influenced your writing. We'd LOVE to hear more stories!


0 1st 5 Pages Workshop Opens Tomorrow!

I was sad to see the 1st 5 Pages July Workshop come to an end – we had such a great group of talented and supportive writers! A big thanks to our guest mentors, Ava Jae, author of the forthcoming BEYOND THE RED, and Patricia Nelson of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. They both provided terrific comments and suggestions. And as always, thank you to all of our fabulous permanent mentors! We are thrilled to welcome authors Brenda DrakeJanet B. TaylorStephanie Scott and Wendy Spinale to our group!

Our August workshop will open for entries tomorrow, Saturday August 1, 2015, at noon, EST. We'll take the first five Middle Grade, Young Adult, or New Adult entries that meet all guidelines and formatting requirements. Click here to get the rules. I will post when it opens and closes on Adventures in YA Publishing and on twitter (@etcashman), with the hashtag #1st5pages. In addition to our permanent mentors, we have Lori Goldstein  as our author mentor, and in addition to being a talented writer and a very nice person, Lori is an alum of the workshop! Our agent mentor is the fabulous Caitie Flum.

And remember, we have a new format! The workshop is now four weeks, so the participants have the opportunity to get feedback on a pitch, and Caitie will select one participant as the “workshop winner”- and the prize is that she will review and comment on the first chapter of the manuscript!

August Guest Mentor – Lori Goldstein 

Lori was born into an Italian-Irish family and raised in a small town on the New Jersey shore. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Lehigh University and worked as a writer, editor, and graphic designer before becoming a full-time author. She currently lives and writes outside of Boston. Lori is the author of the young adult contemporary fantasy series Becoming Jinn (Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan, April 21, 2015, Spring 2016). You can visit her online at www.lorigoldsteinbooks.com.



BECOMING JINN



Azra has just turned sixteen, and overnight her body lengthens, her olive skin deepens, and her eyes glisten gold thanks to the brand-new silver bangle that locks around her wrist. As she always knew it would, her Jinn ancestry brings not just magical powers but the reality of a life of servitude, as her wish granting is controlled by a remote ruling class of Jinn known as the Afrit. To the humans she lives among, she's just the girl working at the snack bar at the beach, navigating the fryer and her first crush. But behind closed doors, she's learning how to harness her powers and fulfill the obligations of her destiny. Mentored by her mother and her Zar "sisters," Azra discovers she may not be quite like the rest of her circle of female Jinn...and that her powers could endanger them all.

Purchase it at your local bookstore, or online at Indie BoundAmazonBarnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf on Goodreads!

August Guest Agent – Caitie Flum

Caitie joined Liza Dawson Associates in July 2014 as assistant and audio rights manager. She graduated from Hofstra University in 2009 with a BA in English with a concentration in publishing studies. Caitie interned at Hachette Book Group and Writers House. She was an Editorial Assistant then Coordinator for Bookspan, where she worked on several clubs including the Book-of-the-Month Club, The Good Cook, and the Children's Book-of-the-Month Club. Caitie is looking for commercial and upmarket fiction with great characters and superb writing, especially historical fiction, mysteries/thrillers of all kinds, magical realism, and book club fiction. Caitie is also looking for Young Adult and New Adult projects, particularly romance, historical fiction, mysteries and thrillers, and contemporary books with diverse characters. In nonfiction, she is looking for memoirs that make people look at the world differently, narrative nonfiction that's impossible to put down, books on pop culture, theater, current events, women's issues, and humor.

So what are you waiting for? Get those pages ready!

Erin

Thursday, July 30, 2015

0 Agent Penelope Burns of Gelfman Schneider/ICM Partners on Surprises, Chocolate, and Research

Penelope Burns is the newest member of Gelfman Schneider/ICM Partners. She came to the agency as an intern after graduating from Colgate University in 2012. She also attended the Denver Publishing Institute in summer 2012. Currently, as an agency assistant, Penelope is looking to a build a list of her own. You can connect with Penelope on Twitter.







What is on your wish list?

I’ve been really craving a YA along the lines of GOSSIP GIRL lately, or a mystery with a VERONICA MARS-ish element or main character. Something that keeps me guessing. Reality TV is my not-so guilty pleasure, so I’d LOVE to see a YA version of unREAL. Or really any version of unREAL. I also absolutely adore MG with humor.


What are some of your favorite authors/books and why do you love them?

Ooh this question has the opportunity to turn into a novel. I love anything written by Jaclyn Moriarty; she has such a way of creating characters that just grip you and won’t let go. Markus Zusak is another favorite author, although I think I might like I AM THE MESSENGER better than THE BOOK THIEF (not that TBT didn’t make me sob like a baby, because it did). There’s something about that first line of I AM THE MESSENGER—“The gunman is useless”—that just drew me in so instantly. And the plot is so intricate, I love it. I also love THE DARKEST MINDS series by Alexandra Bracken. Wonderful writing, characterization, and SUCH a great premise. Also Liam. He's my book boyfriend. I also adore contemporary books like SINCE YOU’VE BEEN GONE by Morgan Matson. It has friendship as well as romance—and I was actually rooting for the two characters to get together, which is big for me because one of my pet peeves in a book is instalove. And finally, a bit old school, but THE WESTING GAME by Ellen Raskin is one of my favorite books. I just love the mystery, and the final twist is one I never saw coming.

Are you an editorial agent?

I am! It’s important to make sure the book is in the best shape it can be before sending it out to editors.

What do you like to do for fun?

The usual: hang out with my friends, watch TV, etc. I also love watching sports; my friends know to leave me alone when during a Flyers playoff game unless they want to watch me scream at the TV. And read, obviously! I always try to use my commute for “fun” reading as opposed to reading for work, unless there’s something really pressing.


Coffee, tea, wine, chocolate, or any other vices?



Ooh, definitely chocolate. I am actually NOT a coffee drinker; caffeine has the tendency to make me way too jumpy and unproductive. I’ve also become a really big hard cider person recently.


What advice do you have for writers getting ready to query you?


Relax and take a deep breath! But also, do your research! There are so many resources out there for how to write a good query letter; you want to put forth your best effort. Including comp titles is great—I love when I see one of my favorites as a comp title because it normally means that the manuscript will be towards my taste. Also, proofread! One or two typos doesn’t doom a query, but if the whole thing is riddled with them, that raises a red flag for me. Also one of my pet peeves is if the query is addressed to an entirely different person, or like “Dear Agent.” There’s something so impersonal about an error like that.


What genres are you drawn to most?



I’m mostly drawn to contemporary YA, be that a thriller, romance, gothic, etc. But I will honestly read anything, so if it’s got a great premise and a compelling voice, I’m sure to give it a chance. And I love MG in all forms. I also love literary adult fiction, or a coming-of-age adult novel like PREP or TELL THE WOLVES I’M HOME.


Which is more crucial: emotional connection or current marketability?


Both are obviously important, but for me, I’d say emotional connection. If I don’t fall 100% in love with a book, then I won’t be able to advocate for it effectively. And it’s also possible that even if the book I’m reading is not right for the current marketplace, the author’s next book might be. So just the writing and how I feel about it is something that I have to consider.


Is there anything you'd like to add that you think our readers should know?



Sometimes the best books are the ones that come to me completely unexpectedly. A small anecdote: I was at the library the other week with my two younger cousins, and they asked if they could pick books for me to read. One picked JOYRIDE by Anna Banks. I’d surprisingly never heard of it before, and honestly wasn’t expecting much when I started reading it—but I ended up reading the whole book in two days and absolutely LOVED it. One of my favorite reads of 2015 for sure. And I probably never would have picked it up otherwise!

Also, some of the best advice I’ve ever received: “Doubt yourself, and do it anyway.”

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

1 The Super-Secret Key To Publishing Success by Erica O'Rourke

Ooops note: We accidentally posted our voting form for the top fifty in the #GreenLightWIP contest earlier today, but it was scheduled to go up NEXT Wednesday. Please look out for it then!  Meanwhile, back to our regularly scheduled and wonderful post!

We're excited to welcome author Erica O'Rourke to the blog today. Erica's Resonance is the thrilling follow up to Dissonance. Today she's going to share with us the key to becoming a publishing success.


In Which I Reveal The Super-Secret Key To Publishing Success by Erica O'Rourke


As a published author, one of the most common questions I hear is, “Which conferences/classes/websites/resources do you recommend to aspiring authors?”

It’s a list I’m happy to provide. So many people have taught me essential things about the craft and business of writing on my path to publication, and I want to pay it forward.

However.

None of those resources are a magical key that will unlock the door to publication – because there isn’t one. There’s only the real key, and it’s not on any list.

The real key – the single biggest factor that helped me become a published author – was this: I got serious about writing.

If you’d asked me the year before I sold my first book, I would have said, “Yes! I am serious! I belong to a writers’ group, I read lots of books on craft , I attend conferences, I talk to my writer friends all the time! I’m polishing my elevator pitch and follow important people on Twitter! I am super-serious!”

Except… all the books and classes and meetings and writerly coffee dates…weren’t writing. Analyzing episodes of Lost wasn’t adding words to my story. Polishing my pitch wasn’t the same as polishing my own prose.

And then one day, I decided to enter a contest, and it required a full manuscript.

Which I did not have.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

5 Six Ways to Unleash the Magic of Subconscious Writing

In the language of a recent Suits episode, I'm a "grinder" rather than a "rainmaker." Writing doesn't come easily for me, and I spend countless hours staring at sentences and rewriting them fourteen times, only to discover that the first version was probably the best. I add layers, and subplots, and symbolism, and connect the dots through sheer hard grunt work.

Sometimes I hate writing.

But then there are the rare flashes of brilliance that I swear don't come from me. The moments of magic when there's a muse on my shoulder. Or a miracle. Or all of the above. That's the part of writing that makes the rest worthwhile.

We all want more of those creative insights, but how do we get them?


Monday, July 27, 2015

13 THREE Giveaways plus New YALIT Releases Week of 7/27 with Author Interviews

There aren't too many new books releasing this week, but we have plenty of excitement coming up this week to tide you over. Have you voted in the Red Light Green Light contest? Vote now! Voting closes tonight, and the next round begins on Wednesday, so be sure to check back!

Happy reading,

Lindsey, Martina, Sam, Jocelyn, Erin, Lisa, Shelly, Susan, Elizabeth, Kristin, Jen, Sandra and Anisaa

Saturday, July 25, 2015

1 Avery Hastings, author of TORN, on writing while snuggling with a dog

TORN is the second novel in the Feuds series, and we're excited to have Avery Hastings here tell us more about it.

Avery, what scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

When Davis finally encounters her mother, it’s a very tense and emotional moment. She’s longed for her mother for years—and when she sees her, it’s a horrible disappointment, but it also offers closure. It was really tough to write that scene given that Davis had to cycle through shock, horror, crushing disappointment, and sadness. But I also love that scene because it brings Davis to a stronger, clearer place. She never felt like she measured up to her mother’s legacy as a ballerina—but seeing her mother for who she is allows her to appreciate the parts of her that are nothing like her mother. She can move out from under her mother’s shadow, and stop reaching for something unattainable.

0 Amanda Panitch, author of DAMAGE DONE, on when to let things go

We're delighted Amanda Panitch, whose debut novel is DAMAGE DONE, could join us to chat about writing.

Amanda, what's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

I can write pretty much anywhere at any time: I regularly write in all sorts of different places, from my apartment to other people's houses to trains to Riverside Park. I thank my upbringing as one of five kids in a relatively small house, where there was always noise and you had to learn how to focus no matter what was going on around you! I do have trouble, however, writing on anything besides my trusty laptop - I get used to the feeling of the keys and having all of my documents and notes there with me. It took me ages to adjust when I had to replace my laptop a few years ago and I'm dreading having to eventually do it again.

0 Laurie Faria Stolarz, author of RETURN TO THE DARK HOUSE, on being open to learning and improving

RETURN TO THE DARK HOUSE is the second book in Laurie Faria Stolarz's Dark House series, and we're pleased she stopped by to remind us of the importance of perseverance in the writing business.

Laurie, what do you hope readers will take away from RETURN TO THE DARK HOUSE?

Prior to the beginning of WELCOME TO THE DARK HOUSE, Ivy had spent years trying to put her fears and anxieties to rest (fears based on the death of her parents and the resulting paranoia that her parents’ killer will one day come back for her). In both WELCOME TO THE DARK HOUSE and RETURN TO THE DARK HOUSE, rather than trying to move on without dealing with her terrifying past, Ivy decides to face her fears head-on. I think that bravery is so admirable.

Friday, July 24, 2015

0 Ask a Pub Pro: Author Stefanie Gaither on Character Names, Science Fiction Research, and POV

We are thrilled to welcome author Stefanie Gaither to the blog this month as our columnist for Ask a Pub Pro! Stefanie is the author of the very popular and thrilling Falls the Shadow, with the sequel coming in 2016. She's here to answer your reader questions on unusual names for fantasy, how many books can an author squeeze into a series, the balance of fiction and fact for science fiction, and how many POV characters can make up an ensemble. 

If you have a question you'd like to have answered by an upcoming publishing professional, send it to AYAPLit AT gmail.com and put Ask a Pub Pro Question in the subject line.

Also, please do not forget next week's Happy Potter Birthday celebration!  If you were inspired to write, or if your writing was any way influenced by JK Rowling, we'd love to hear from you! Please send a paragraph (or two) telling us how Harry Potter influenced your writing and you may be included in next week's celebration.

Email posts to AYAPLit AT gmail.com, and please put Happy Potter Day in the subject line. We'll let you know before July 31 if yours is one of the submissions chosen.

Author Stefanie Gaither on Character Names, Science Fiction Research, and POV

1) Writer Question: I'm worried about the names I'm creating for my WIP. My story is a fantasy, and the names I've envisioned sometimes have hyphenated endings to add a suffix meaning onto the name. But it seems that I've heard hyphens in names are frowned upon. I'm keeping the names very simple, even with the hyphens, so that it will not be confusing to the reader. Do you think that will work? Or would the use of hyphens be too off-putting? Would an apostrophe be better?

I actually just finished up a fantasy WIP of my own, so I understand the name struggle :) I don’t think that hyphens in names are immediately off-putting—so long as it fits the story and/or character. Other readers may feel differently, of course. If you’re really concerned about it, maybe there’s a way to compromise? Have their formal name hyphenated, but perhaps they go by a nickname that flows more easily for the reader?

Either way, one thing I like to do when figuring out names is to ask people unfamiliar with my story/character what comes to mind when I mention a person named “XYZ” or whatever; in your case, maybe write the name and then ask friends and fellow writers what immediately jumps into their minds when they see it—and if it’s in line with what you’re going for with this particular character, then you’re golden. Poll as many people as you can. Of course, not everyone will have the same answer, but it will give you a general idea of what the name you came up with is “showing” potential readers about this character—and whether or not they’re stumbling over things like hyphens.