Thursday, April 27, 2017

0 Writing 101: Revising (Why You Need to Find Your People)

**This post is part of the Writing 101: From Concept to Query (and Beyond!) series. For an overview of planned posts, take a look at the series introduction**

Last week, we looked at the process of drafting a novel, and different methods writers use to get from page one to finally typing THE END. Several times throughout that post, I mentioned the need for RIGOROUS REVISIONS, and so this week, we’ll explore the revision process—how you might go about it, and ways to get the most out of your editing.

There are two key ingredients to successful revisions. They are


After you finish drafting your novel, it’s important to step away for awhile. Take a few weeks, or even months, and resist the urge to peek at your masterpiece. Consider it a well-earned vacation for your writer brain, or, if time off isn’t your style, start work on another project.

Once you’ve taken some time away, it’s time for a complete read-through of your draft. I’m sure revision strategies vary, but I’d highly recommend following this step. It’ll give you an overview of your plot, your character arcs, and your pacing. Take notes as you go to refer to later.

While it’s possible to revise multiple elements at once, I’d also recommend planning on at least two rounds of revisions—one for big picture issues in which you’ll cut what doesn’t work, add scenes, tie up loose ends, solidify character development, etc. In a second round of revisions you can deal with smaller, more mechanical problems—grammar and spelling errors, filter words, the way sentences flow, etc.

(Because I’m giving a lot of advice right now about what personally works for me and most of the writers I know, I do think it’s important to point out that everyone’s process is different. Just because something works for one person, doesn’t mean it’ll work for you, or that you have to feel bound to doing things a certain way! You can, however, think of these as revision best practices—they’ll help you to revise efficiently and prepare you for the sort of editorial work you’d do for an agent or editor.
Be prepared for the fact that revisions can take longer than the actual drafting process. As you revise and hone your techniques, hopefully the revising process will become streamlined, but every book is different. I’ve personally revised a book that went through eighteen drafts, and another that went through four. Take as much time as you need to get to the point where you’re as confident as possible in your story, and can’t see any further changes that need making.)

Once you've taken time to get a bit of perspective of your own, gone through multiple drafts, and are convinced you have a work of genius on your hands, it’s time for real perspective--the outside kind. It's time to let people read your book baby and remind you that in point of fact, you’re probably not the next JK Rowling ;)

 It’s time to find yourself some
Critique Partners

I’ve written about CPs here at AYAP before, discussing how important they are, what role they fulfill, and places you can start looking for them. In brief, a critique partner is another writer who will critique your work, generally in exchange for your critique of theirs. It can be a one off relationship, in which you agree to read a single work or even just a handful of chapters, or if you connect, you can decide to exchange work indefinitely.

You may be tempted to think now, “Oh Laura. I’ve done so much revising on my own, and finding CPs just sounds like a lot of extra work. Why would I go to all that trouble?” 

Well, remember that perspective I mentioned? Critique partners will provide it in spades. They’re not attached to your work the way you are. They’re looking at it with fresh eyes. They won’t get precious about things the way you might be tempted to. Good CPs are worth their weight in gold. I would personally never send out a word that my CPs haven’t okayed first. Not only that, but if you make a great connection with critique partners, they can also serve as an emotional support network during the next steps of your writing journey. Writing can be a solitary pursuit, and it’s great to find your people. Having a small community around you makes such a difference both to your craft and your quality of life while pursuing publication!

It's extremely important to approach CP feedback with humility. Spend time thinking over the suggestions your CPs make and really weighing whether or not they’re right for your story. Be ready to change your mind, but also don’t compromise your vision for your manuscript. Incorporating editorial feedback well is an art-form in and of itself, in which you use suggestions from your readers as a springboard to take your manuscript to greater heights.

Once you’ve gone through multiple drafts of your own revisions, and made more changes based on critique partner feedback, your manuscript is finished (for now)!!! Rejoice, rejoice!


Sometimes you may still feel like there’s a trouble spot in your manuscript that you can’t quite put your finger on. Or you may get conflicting or confusing negative feedback from your critique partners. If you sense your manuscript needs a bit more work to get it to the next level, but neither you nor your CPs can see how to get it there, you might want to consider hiring a freelance editor.

Freelance editors are not always necessary, particularly if you're pursuing traditional publication as opposed to self-publishing, but they can be extremely helpful when you’re not sure what needs tweaking in your manuscript or how you can best resolve problems. Freelancers are paid for their work, and I absolutely recommend doing your research before hiring a freelance editor, to ensure that they’re legitimate and aboveboard and that previous clients have gone away satisfied with the service provided. 

While the insight of a freelance editor can prove invaluable, it’s also not always necessary. You will know best what your manuscript needs.

We’d love to hear more about your revision process in the comments below, and will be back next week to discuss what steps to take after your books is completed and revised!

About the Author

Laura Weymouth is AYAP's contest coordinator, working to create opportunities for you to get samples of your work in front of agents right here on Adventures in YA Publishing.

Laura lives on the edge of the woods in western New York, along with her husband, two wild-hearted daughters, a spoiled cat, and an indeterminate number of chickens. Her YA fantasy debut, THE WEIGHT OF WORLDS, is forthcoming from HarperTeen in the fall of 2018.

You can follow Laura on Twitter and add her book on Goodreads.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

0 WoW: A NEMESIS Character Soundtrack

Today on WoW, we're joined by Brendan Reichs, author of the New York Times bestseller NEMESIS. Developing a writing or character soundtrack can be a great way to spice up your writing process and help sustain a mood or feeling while writing a particular type of material. Stay tuned for a bit more about NEMESIS below, but first, Brendan shares his soundtrack for one of his book's key characters.

This playlist is for Noah Livingston, the second point-of-view character in Nemesis. Noah's different from Min in that he’s been much more trusting, and has been manipulated to a far greater extent.

Noah has the same unique problem as Min—every two years, on his birthday, he is attacked and killed by a black-suit man. After each murder Noah wakes up in a barren cave a few hours later, unable to remember how he got there. Noah believes he suffers from psychotic breaks, and that the murders he remembers as real are really just sleepwalking nightmares. After all, that’s what his psychiatrist tells him, and surely Dr. Lowell has his best interests at heart. Right? 

After his fifth murder on his sixteen birthday, Noah begins to question everything he’s ever been told. He sees cracks in the stories he’s been told all his lives, and discovers that many of the adults around him are not what the seem. With Min’s help—a girl he hasn’t been friends with in years—Noah starts to uncover a massive government conspiracy centered on their isolated Idaho vacation town, one that may affect the lives of every person on the planet.

This playlist fits both Noah’s emotional state in Nemesis and the mood I aim for when I write his scenes. So it's both a playlist Noah would own and his own personal soundtrack. If you don’t know some or even all of these songs, I urge you to check them out!

6. Bad Blood - Ryan Adams (covering Taylor Swift)

He killed me. He killed me not. He killed me.

It’s been happening since Min was eight. Every two years, on her birthday, a strange man finds her and murders her in cold blood. But hours later, she wakes up in a clearing just outside her tiny Idaho hometown—alone, unhurt, and with all evidence of the horrifying crime erased.

Across the valley, Noah just wants to be like everyone else. But he’s not. Nightmares of murder and death plague him, though he does his best to hide the signs. But when the world around him begins to spiral toward panic and destruction, Noah discovers that people have been lying to him his whole life. Everything changes in an eye blink.

For the planet has a bigger problem. The Anvil, an enormous asteroid threatening all life on Earth, leaves little room for two troubled teens. Yet on her sixteenth birthday, as she cowers in her bedroom, hoping not to die for the fifth time, Min has had enough. She vows to discover what is happening in Fire Lake and uncovers a lifetime of lies: a vast conspiracy involving the sixty-four students of her sophomore class, one that may be even more sinister than the murders.

A FREE excerpt from Nemesis—chapters 1 through 3—can be found here. Enjoy! (

Brendan Reichs was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. He graduated from Wake Forest University in 2000 and The George Washington University School of Law in 2006. After three long years working as a litigation attorney, he abandoned the trade to write full time. He lives in Charlotte with his wife, son, daughter, and a herd of animals that tear up everything.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

2 Happy Book Birthday to LAKE OF DESTINY and a Reader Appreciation Giveaway!

It's New Release Time . . . 

An anxiety of writersMy very first novel for adult readers is out today, which means I'm biting my fingernails. I saw a great thread on Twitter recently about the correct name for a group of writers. I agree! Definitely anxiety for the win.

As writers we alternate between being anxious and grateful. I'm not sure that ever goes away. And as always on release day, I'm both nervous and so very, very grateful for the support I'm getting from friends and readers.

I hope you'll be willing to help launch this book with me, too. Buying a copy would mean the world to me, and if you enjoyed Compulsion, or if you're a fan of Nora Roberts, Susan Wiggs, Susan Mallery, Marie Force, Jude Deveraux, Sarah Addison Allen, or Susanna Kearsley, I hope you'll love this one as well. It's clean enough for my YA readers with a great multigenerational cast of characters.

What if you met the person you knew you were destined to love? Would you tell them?

Lake of Destiny is a magical Highland romance about men in kilts, destiny, family, healing, and the sometimes twisted path to love . . . 

"Delightful, charming, and heart-warming."
 --New York Times  bestselling author Wendy Higgins
Lake of Destiny: A Celtic Legends Novel  
Helping her aunt organize a Beltane Festival in a picturesque Highland village seems like the perfect escape from Anna's second broken engagement and the meltdown that wrecked her legal career. But to succeed, she'll need to wrangle kilt-wearing villagers, dangerous sheep, a disaster of a dog, and the reclusive laird who refuses to open his property to the public for the ancient tradition of "Sighting."
For centuries, Loch Fàil in Balwhither has been known to locals as a "thin" place, one where the veil between worlds peels back on Beltane morning to show the face of a person's one true love. The tradition could draw tourists by the busload, but that's exactly what Connal MacGregor fears will reveal the secrets he's been desperate to keep hidden.
While Anna struggles to mediate between the needs of the village and Connal's need to protect his identity and his daughter, she finds herself falling in love with all of them: Connal and his child, the magical glen, the villagers. But day by day, opening herself to love exposes deeper scars from Anna's childhood, and confronting those wounds could finally set her free--or endanger her every chance of happiness.

Order Now

Available in hardcover, paperback, and digital. Audiobook coming June 15, 2017.
Special introductory e-book pricing available across all retailers applies for a limited time!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

Praise for Lake of Destiny . . . 

"It reminds me of a Nora Roberts series, The Gallaghers of Ardmore which I loved but, of course a Scottish version with hot men in kilts! I loved all the characters. This is very clean which means Martina's YA fans can totally read it as well!"
~ Jaime, Two Chicks on Books

"Everything you could ask for in a romance. Heartbreak, a strong leading lady, a HAWT broody lead, a kilt wearing Scot, and so much more! I seriously couldn't put the book down."

            ~ Goodreads Reviewer Aubrie Nixon

"Everything about Lake of Destiny, the characters I wish I could hang out with at the pub, the sense of finding oneself in the turmoil of a life turned on its head, and the sheer sensory delights in Martina Boone's prose make this book more than a read, it's an experience not to be missed."

~ Goodreads Reviewer Leslie Rose

"I definitely recommend "Lake of Destiny" as an enjoyable clean romance with enough surprises to keep you engaged so grab it when it comes out." 
~ Goodreads Reviewer Jolyn

The First BookTube Review . . . 

I'm SUPER honored to have Lake of Destiny featured as Susan Sipal's very first "Touch of Magic" Booktube Review on her new YouTube channel. It's a great review that really gets to the heart of what the story is about, so check it out! She's doing a fabulous giveaway as well. And be sure to subscribe to her channel for more books with unusual magical elements. 

And Yes, There are Kilts . . .

Reader Appreciation Gift Pack

Need more gifts beyond those four photos? : ) Well, okay, since you asked . . .

As a thank you to my readers, I'm going to re-implement my monthly giveaways with a giftpack of items related to my books. This month is all about Lake of Destiny with the Outlander Cookbook, Scottish shortbread cookies, Highlander coffee, and more!

There are two ways to enter:
  1. Complete the rafflecopter link below and/or
  2. Enter on Facebook/Martina.Boone by posting a screenshot of Lake of Destiny in your hand, on your eReader or on your Goodreads “Romance” or “To Read” shelf.
That’s it. I’ll pick the winner and post another giveaway June 1st!

Romantic Recipes

Chocolate Toblerone Cake with Toblerone Ganache

As with all my books, Lake of Destiny is full of love, and family, and food. I've even included some recipes in the back of the book this time, and here's a recipe that isn't included, based on the Toblerone chocolate bar that Anna buys in the duty free shop in Chapter One.
Made with the delicious Swiss chocolate bar with honey and nougat, this decadent cake makes the perfect gift to cheer up a friend in need, but it’s so good you’ll want to keep it for yourself.
For cake
  • 14 tbsp butter, chopped
  • 2 3.52 oz Toblerone chocolate bars, coarse chopped
  • 1 cup fine-granulated (caster) sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • berries, to serve
For ganache & decoration
  • 3 3.52 oz Toblerone milk or dark chocolate bars, coarse chopped
  • 1/3 cup cream
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. In a double boiler, melt butter, 2 bars of Toblerone, sugar, milk, and vanilla together over medium heat until smooth and silky.
  3. Pour contents in a large mixing bowl and allow to cool.
  4. Mix in flour and eggs, and beat at low speed of a mixer until well combined.
  5. Butter the sides of a 9-inch pan and line the bottom with buttered parchment paper.
  6. Bake 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  7. Let stand 10 minutes before removing from pan. Cool completely.
  8. Melt 2 additional Toblerone bars with cream in double boiler until smooth.
  9. Let cool until just thickening, and pour gently over cake.
  10. Beat remaining ganache with mixer and pipe into several decorate swirls around the top of the cake. Top with triangles of Toblerone. Refrigerate before serving.

Musical Inspiration

Many of you know by now that I have a geeky love of folk songs--escpecially Celtic ones. The Robert Tannahill poem, "The Braes O'Balquhidder" about the glen in which Lake of Destiny is set became a beloved Scottish ballad that in turn inspired the more well-known "Wild Mountain Thyme." Here's a lovely version of the original by the Tannahill Weavers to get you in the mood for the Lake of Destiny! : )

Monday, April 24, 2017

5 New Releases this week 4/24-2/30 plus 3 Giveaways

Happy Monday! This week, we have three different books up for giveaway, THE WONDER OF US, LOOKING FOR GROUP and THE WHOLE THING TOGETHER. We're also featuring a few more awesome books so don't forget to check out all of them below.

Happy Reading,

Shelly, Sam, Jocelyn, Martina, Erin, Susan, Kelly, Laura, Emily, Anisaa, and Lori Ann


* * * *

The Wonder of Us
by Kim Culbertson
Signed Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Released 4/25/2017

Riya and Abby are:
Best friends.
Complete opposites.
Living on different continents.
Currently mad at each other.
About to travel around Europe.

Riya moved to Berlin, Germany, with her family for junior year, while Abby stayed behind in their small California town. They thought it would be easy to keep up their friendship--it's only a year and they've been best friends since preschool. But instead, they ended up fighting and not being there for the other. So Riya proposes an epic adventure to fix their friendship. Two weeks, six countries, unimaginable fun. But two small catches:

They haven't talked in weeks.
They've both been keeping secrets.

Can Riya and Abby find their way back to each other among lush countrysides and dazzling cities, or does growing up mean growing apart?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Wonder of Us?

I knew that I wanted my next book to be about friendship. Every book I write is a love story in some way, and I think for many young people, the friends in their lives become their first great loves outside of their own family. I wanted to explore what happened when one such friendship, a deep and long-lasting childhood friendship, suddenly found itself disintegrating. The book explores how a friendship must evolve and change if it wants to survive. The book is also very much about how travel takes us outside ourselves and forces us to hold up our own problems and heartbreaks against the backdrop of an enormous world full of problems and heartbreaks.

Purchase The Wonder of Us at Amazon
Purchase The Wonder of Us at IndieBound
View The Wonder of Us on Goodreads

* * * *

Looking for Group
by Rory Harrison
Hardcover Giveaway (2 Copies)
U.S. Only

Released 4/25/2017

Thelma & Louise meets Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda in a brave, timely YA about two teens who embark on a cross-country road trip.

Dylan doesn’t have a lot of experience with comfort. His room in the falling-down Village Estates can generously be categorized as “squalid,” and he sure as hell isn’t getting any love from his mother, who seemed to—no, definitely did—enjoy the perks that went along with being the parent of a “cancer kid.”

His only escape has been in the form of his favorite video game—World of Warcraft—and the one true friend who makes him feel understood, even if it is just online: Nuba. And now that Dylan is suddenly in remission, he wants to take Nuba on a real mission, one he never thought he’d live to set out on: a journey to a mysterious ship in the middle of the Salton Sea.

But Nuba—real-life name Arden—is fighting her own battles, ones that Dylan can’t always help her win. As they navigate their way west, they grapple with Nuba’s father (who refuses to recognize his daughter’s true gender), Dylan’s addiction, and the messy, complicated romance fighting so hard to blossom through the cracks of their battle-hardened hearts.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Looking for Group?

I love that Dylan and Arden can be emotionally open with each other. I think we spend a lot of time being polite and trying not to make others uncomfortable. That means so many people are lost and hurting and confused and feel alone even in a crowd. Dylan and Arden may struggle to make conversation sometimes, but their fear and joy, anger and curiosity are all on the surface for each other. Together, they can surrender their polite lies-- and find out who they really are.

Purchase Looking for Group at Amazon
Purchase Looking for Group at IndieBound
View Looking for Group on Goodreads

* * * *

The Whole Thing Together
by Ann Brashares
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Delacorte Press
Released 4/25/2017

Summer for Sasha and Ray means the sprawling old house on Long Island. Since they were children, they’ve shared almost everything—reading the same books, running down the same sandy footpaths to the beach, eating peaches from the same market, laughing around the same sun-soaked dining table. Even sleeping in the same bed, on the very same worn cotton sheets. But they’ve never met.

Sasha’s dad was once married to Ray’s mom, and together they had three daughters: Emma, the perfectionist; Mattie, the beauty; and Quinn, the favorite. But the marriage crumbled and the bitterness lingered. Now there are two new families—and neither one will give up the beach house that holds the memories, happy and sad, of summers past.

The choices we make come back to haunt us; the effect on our destinies ripples out of our control…or does it? This summer, the lives of Sasha, Ray, and their siblings intersect in ways none of them ever dreamed, in a novel about family relationships, keeping secrets, and most of all, love.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Whole Thing Together?

I like that it's a story about a family. It's an unconventional family and it's also an unconventional YA in that it involves characters of all ages. I really enjoyed writing all those people. Every family has its own unique ecosystem, and it was an intriguing challenge to discover the particular feel of this domestic sprawl.

Purchase The Whole Thing Together at Amazon
Purchase The Whole Thing Together at IndieBound
View The Whole Thing Together on Goodreads


Missing by Kelley Armstrong: Catherine C.
The Adjustment by Suzanne Young: Danielle G.


* * * *

Maud: A Novel Inspired by the Life of L.M. Montgomery
by Melanie Fishbane
Penguin Teen
Released 4/25/2017

For the first time ever, a young adult novel about the teen years of L.M. Montgomery, the author who brought us ANNE OF GREEN GABLES.

Fourteen-year-old Lucy Maud Montgomery — Maud to her friends — has a dream: to go to college and become a writer, just like her idol, Louisa May Alcott. But living with her grandparents on Prince Edward Island, she worries that this dream will never come true. Her grandfather has strong opinions about a woman's place in the world, and they do not include spending good money on college. Luckily, she has a teacher to believe in her, and good friends to support her, including Nate, the Baptist minister's stepson and the smartest boy in the class. If only he weren't a Baptist; her Presbyterian grandparents would never approve. Then again, Maud isn't sure she wants to settle down with a boy — her dreams of being a writer are much more important.

But life changes for Maud when she goes out West to live with her father and his new wife and daughter. Her new home offers her another chance at love, as well as attending school, but tensions increase as Maud discovers her stepmother's plans for her, which threaten Maud's future — and her happiness forever.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Maud: A Novel Inspired by the Life of L.M. Montgomery?

That is a very interesting question! Probably that it exists in this world and not in my head. ☺

I would also say that the book design is just beautiful. Lisa Jager did a fantastic job. A lovely touch is how she put leafs under the dedication to my grandfather. That meant a lot.

Purchase Maud: A Novel Inspired by the Life of L.M. Montgomery at Amazon
Purchase Maud: A Novel Inspired by the Life of L.M. Montgomery at IndieBound
View Maud: A Novel Inspired by the Life of L.M. Montgomery on Goodreads


* * * *

Lucky Girl
by Amanda Maciel
Balzer + Bray
Released 4/25/2017

Lucky Girl is an unflinching exploration of beauty, sexual assault, and self-worth, from the author of the acclaimed novel Tease. Perfect for readers of Sara Zarr and Courtney Summers.

Being a pretty girl is who Rosie is, but it’s the start of a new school year and she wants to be more. Namely, she’s determined to be better to her best friend, Maddie, who’s just back from a summer program abroad having totally blossomed into her own looks. Rosie isn’t thrilled when Maddie connects with a football player who Rosie was hooking up with—but if it makes her friend happy, she’s prepared to move on. Plus someone even more interesting has moved to town: Alex, who recently garnered public attention after he stopped a classmate from carrying out a shooting rampage at his old high school. Rosie is drawn to Alex in a way she’s never really experienced for a boy before—and she is surprised to discover that, unlike every other guy, he seems to see more to her than her beauty.

Then one night, in the midst of a devastating storm, Rosie suffers an assault that tears apart her life and friendship with Maddie. Forced to face uncomfortable truths about beauty, reputation, and what it really means to be a friend, Rosie realizes that change doesn’t always happen the way you want it to—every disaster has consequences. But with a lot of help and the right people around you, there might also be a way forward.

Purchase Lucky Girl at Amazon
Purchase Lucky Girl at IndieBound
View Lucky Girl on Goodreads

* * * *

Saint Death
by Marcus Sedgwick
Roaring Brook Press
Released 4/25/2017

A propulsive, compelling, and unsparing novel set in the grimly violent world of the human and drug trade on the US-Mexican border.

On the outskirts of Juarez, Arturo scrapes together a living working odd jobs and staying out of sight. But his friend Faustino is in trouble: he's stolen money from the narcos to smuggle his girlfriend and her baby into the US, and needs Arturo's help to get it back. To help his friend, Arturo must face the remorseless world of drug and human traffickers that surrounds him, and contend with a murky past.

Hovering over his story is the unsparing divinity Santa Muerte, Saint Death--and the relentless economic and social inequalities that haunt the border between Mexico and its rich northern neighbor. Crafted with poetry and cinematic pace and narrated with cold fury, Saint Death is a provocative tour de force from three-time Printz Award honoree Marcus Sedgwick.

Purchase Saint Death at Amazon
Purchase Saint Death at IndieBound
View Saint Death on Goodreads

* * * *

by Jenny McLachlan
Feiwel & Friends
Released 4/25/2017

Kat can't believe her family is sending her to Sweden for the summer. But without her friends Bea and Betty, or even a phone signal, can Kat make it on her own?

In a land of saunas and summer sun, Kat soon realizes she has nowhere to hide. It's time to let go of what she thinks people want her to be, so she can embrace who she really is. Especially if she's going to win the heart of the cute Swede Leo.

Kat soon finds that when you're surrounded by phosphorescence and wonder it's easy to sparkle. Or maybe you only shine when you're true to yourself.

Purchase Sunkissed at Amazon
Purchase Sunkissed at IndieBound
View Sunkissed on Goodreads

Sunday, April 23, 2017

0 YA Sunday Morning News: This Week for Writers 4/23/17

Happy Sunday!

In your YA Sunday Morning News this week, I have a ton of YA book to movie updates, and some truly great articles on writing craft.


Writing for Publication—Before the Sale:

Writing for Publication—Book Marketing and Social Media:

Author Interviews:

Adventures in YA Publishing Author Interviews:

Literary Agent News and Interviews:

Writing and Pitch Contests:

Writing Craft:

Writing Inspiration:

Publishing News & Trends:

New YA E-Book Deals:

New YA Book Giveaways:

YA New Book Deals and Releases:
Just for Fun:

If there’s a news story or blog post you found particularly interesting, please share it in the comments!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

0 Ann Brashares, author of THE WHOLE THING TOGETHER, on building a book in layers

We're thrilled to have Ann Brashares here to tell us more about her latest novel THE WHOLE THING TOGETHER.

How long did you work on THE WHOLE THING TOGETHER? 

I started thinking about it three years ago. It took me a little over two years and a lot of drafts to get the story down.

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself? 

In the past I thought you had to get the essential story down in the first draft, and if you didn't, you probably never would. Sure you could fix a book up in subsequent drafts, I thought, but you couldn't build it that way. I don't think that anymore. This book came to exist in layers.

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

I typically work at the library until I get a feel for a book and start to enjoy it. Once I am underway I can write almost anywhere. Sometimes at the beginning of a work day I listen to music to establish a certain kind of feeling or tone in my head, but once the characters start talking I stop hearing it.

0 Hanna Nowinski, author of MEG & LINUS, on the first draft not being meant to be pretty

We are excited to be joined by Hanna Nowinski to get the inside scoop on her debut novel MEG & LINUS.

Hanna, how long did you work on MEG & LINUS?

The initial draft didn't take that long - between six and eight weeks. I took a couple more weeks after that to edit. Once I start a project I try to focus on it entirely and take very little time off, so I go through those initial stages pretty fast. After my work with the first draft is done, I have to wait for my beta readers to get a chance to look it over. Beta readers are great and can really speed up the editing process because you get a fresh perspective and a faster idea of what works and what you have to cut. I had several friends reading it over, but they were all really fast, too, so I didn't have to wait more than another four weeks at most until I'd heard back from all of them. I needed about another month after that to go over their suggestions and fix everything up before I submitted it. So all in all it took me less than half a year between starting the project and submitting it. I don't always work that fast, but I jumped right into this story and just kept going until it was done. Of course the editing process after I'd signed my contract took longer than that.

0 Kelley Armstrong, author of MISSING, on refusing her editor's suggestion

We're glad we didn't miss the opportunity to chat with Kelley Armstrong, where we learned more about her latest novel MISSING. 

Kelley, what was your inspiration for writing MISSING?

I love Southern gothics, and within a short space of time, I read an article on small town Appalachia and saw a blurb for a movie about a boy being found in a forest. Those three things coalesced into an idea for a story, about a girl growing up in one of those towns, who finds a boy in the forest and starts unraveling deep, dark family secrets.

What scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud?

One of the toughest scenes wasn’t emotionally difficult but just very, very tricky to get right (or to a point that I was comfortable with it.) When Winter first meets Jude, he holds her captive, demanding answers about his missing brother. But Jude is the male lead, not the villain, so I had to walk a very fine line with that scene. Winter is justifiably furious, and it must be clear that Jude thinks she’s involved in his brother’s disappearance and that he’d never do this otherwise. I edited and finessed that scene a lot to get it where I wanted it.

Friday, April 21, 2017

0 On Writing Lessons and the Power of Failure Learned from NASA by Shelley Sackier

Here's a fabulous, and inspirational!, post for all of us writers from Shelley Sackier to
keep us focused on our goals even while we embrace our failures. What great insight she has! Please be sure to check out her new release, The Freemason's Daughter, at the end of her post!

How to Botch a Rocket Launch by Shelley Sackier

(And other super important writing lessons from NASA)

Yeah, you read that right. NASA. I’ve learned more about craft of writing from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration than I have from the one gazillion how to books lining my workspace shelves. And that’s not meant as a dig to any of the fine titles filled with sage words and collected wisdom I refer to on a daily basis, because those guys have been there for me too. They’ve become dependable, trustworthy, dog-eared old friends I repeatedly turn to for advice and guidance. But ultimately? Yep. NASA, hands down, gets the gold.

Except it’s not just writing skills I’ve learned from the pile of scientists and engineers all pulling levers and pushing buttons behind the great big curtains at any of their national space centers. They’ve passed on Life Skills. Life Lessons. A guide entitled Here’s the map to finding your dreams.

And never once have they asked for a thank you.

Let me explain.

0 Thank You to the Participants and Mentors of April's 1st 5 Pages Workshop!

Congratulations to all of the participants who worked so hard during our April 1st 5 Pages Writing Workshop! And a big thanks to our wonderful guest mentors, Jennifer Longo as our author mentor and Justin Wells as our agent mentor! They both provided terrific critiques. And as always, thank you to our talented and fabulous permanent mentors, who read, comment, and cheer on our participants every month!

The May writing workshop will open on Saturday, May 6, at noon EST. The workshop is designed to help writers struggling to find the right opening for their novel or for those looking to perfect the all important first five pages before submitting for publication. Why the first five pages? Because if these aren't perfect, no agent, editor, or reader will continue reading to find out how great the rest of your story really is!

Why is the First Five Pages Workshop a GREAT Opportunity?
  • You are mentored by at least two traditionally-published published or agented authors for the duration of the workshop. These authors have been through the trenches and know what it takes to get a book deal, solid reviews, and sales. 
  • In addition, you receive feedback from the four other workshop participants. 
  • Feedback is given not just on your initial submission, but on two subsequent opportunities to revise your manuscript based on the previous feedback so that you know you've got it right! 
  • The final revision will also be reviewed by a literary agent, who will also give you feedback on the pitch for your story--the one that may eventually become your query letter or cover copy. 
  • The best entry from among the workshop participants will receive a critique of the full first chapter or first ten pages from the mentoring agent, which may, in some cases, lead to requests for additional material.

How It Works
Please see the complete rules before entering the workshop, but in a nutshell, we'll take the first five Middle Grade or Young Adult entries that meet all guidelines and formatting requirements. (Double check the formatting - each month we have to disqualify entries because of formatting.) Click here to get the rules. I will post when the workshop opens and closes on Adventures in YA Publishing and on twitter (@etcashman), with the hashtag #1st5pages. In addition to the rotating team of our wonderful permanent author mentors, the final entry for each workshop participant will be critiqued by our agent mentor.