GUEST POST: SHAY FABBRO ON WRITING YOUNG ADULT
Oh happy day! My good friend and author, Shay Fabbro, stopped by my little pub for her blog tour! Check out her post and leave a comment and you may one of the TWO LUCKY PEOPLE WHO WILL WIN ONE OF HER TWO YA e-BOOKS!
Now, without further ado, ladies and gents, please welcome Dr. Fab to the pub!!
When I ventured into writing, it made sense for me to stick to what I knew and loved: scifi/fantasy. My first novels were in this genre and while there were some tricky things to it, the ideas flowed naturally.
Then one day while getting ready for work and staring into the mirror, I had a thought. Wouldn’t it be cool to have the reflection change to someone else’s face? Of course the idea of being terrified never entered my mind. I stared at my reflection (which only had make-up on one eye, mind you) almost as if I could force my reflection to change. It never did. I thought about the idea all the way to work and by the time I got to my desk, the idea for Dangerous Reflections was taking shape.
Now, for this book, the heroine was going to be very different. Rather than being an alien from some distant world, or a magic-wielding elf from a forest, she was going to be an average, ordinary, human girl. And to add some depth, I decided to have her be a fifteen year-old girl rather than an adult.
Little did I know how out of my element I was heading!
I have never really read much young adult (YA). When I was younger, I tried to read Judy Blume and all that but it just didn’t hold my interest (epic fantasy was the only thing that kept me turning pages). When it came to starting on Dangerous Reflections, I tackled it like I did my scifi/fantasy novels.
And boy, was that the WRONG way to do it!
I had the opportunity to send several sample chapters to an agent (through someone’s blog) and she gave me some invaluable advice. I made the huge mistake of trying to write a YA book without understanding what elements make a YA book, well… a YA book!
The biggest thing I had to deal with was the point of view (POV). For my scifi/fantasy books, I had many different POVs since I had more than one main character. Each of them is important and showing the world through their eyes in a vital component in letting the reader catch a glimpse into their motivations and helps with empathy. Some of my characters seem harsh and despicable until you read things from their POV. I personally think the real world needs to take a lesson in POV; if we spent as much time seeing the world from an “enemy’s” eyes, we may find we have much more in common than we realize.
Now, in the case of YA, the POV is the main character and that’s it. I was making the mistake of adding the POVs of Alex’s mother AND aunt. This lovely agent pointed out that teens don’t care about what adults are thinking or feeling, in real life and especially in what they read. I had to use some creativity to let the possible adult readers (and they WILL care about what the adult’s motives are) know what makes the adults in the story tick. I ended up having Alex overhear (well, more like eavesdrop actually) a conversation between her mother and her aunt where she learns some very disturbing news about her father. And it worked brilliantly! The reader then knows what caused the rift between the mother and aunt, and they then get to read about Alex’s reaction to hearing an adult conversation that was clearly not meant for teen ears. Haven’t we all done that at some point? You get all hot and sweaty and can’t breathe. You don’t WANT to hear more and yet you can’t move from the spot.
I also had to really think about what motivates teens and think back to when I was that age (and it was a long time ago! LOL) and what things were important to me. And it was much different than what’s important to an adult character. I had to dredge up some painful memories of how I treated my folks and times when I hurt them deeply because I lashed out about some stupid thing or other. But that’s the thing! To a teenager, everything is the end of the world and it’s all about the drama.
What books have you read recently that really captured the YA voice and pulled you into the story? Two commenters will be chosen at RANDOM to win one of two e-books: Dangerous Reflections or Twisted Reflections!