Know anyone working on a middle grade or YA novel, interested in crafting their work, talking about process, getting into the nitty gritty? I’m offering a class this summer at the Yale Writers’ Conference. Send them my way. There will also be chances to meet with agents and editors, commune with other writers, and gab. It promises to be a ton of fun!
The Wild Ride: writing for children and young adults.
“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” ~Madeleine L’Engle
Books for children and young adults vary wildly, from fantasy romps to gothic thrillers to achingly realistic love stories. What unifies them is often their intensity—their willingness to gofurther. They can be expansive, brutal, or hilarious in their approaches, but they are almost never dull.
While such books can be amazing fun to write, they pose certain challenges. How do we know when we’ve gone too far? When does our character become unbelievable or inauthentic? When does our world-building begin to distract our reader? Are there limits to how dark or mature a book for teens should be? How much do we really need to think about logic in a magical world?
In this session we’ll work on the craft of fiction, and discuss the basic elements of the novel. We’ll talk about the particularities of the market, and how to get a book ready for submission. But we’ll pay particular attention to these important questions of intensity, and to that elusive thing we call tone, which is so often part of the answer.