Another One Bites the Dust, and Young Adults

Yesterday afternoon, I penned yet another “The End” to pages and pages of manuscript. In celebration, I looked up a great tune…and made myself a margarita. Here’s the video, sorry, but I did not take a photo of the margarita. 🙂

another one bites the dust

Acorns and Oaks took a full four years to complete, not because I’m lazy (well, yes, I am lazy), and not because Real Life reared its ugly head (which is known to happen at least a dozen times a week), but because this WIP is my foray into the young adult genre.

How does one write for young adults? Was there even a YA genre back when I was a young adult? (I don’t think so…I read books, any books, voraciously, the more difficult the better. I read Helen Hunt Jackson’s Ramona and Marjorie Rawlings The Yearling in 6th grade. I don’t know what my classmates were reading.)

I have to admit that I started out writing down to my audience. My protagonist, Amberly Cooper, starts out as a naive 14 year old, so I began the story as though she were about 12. This, I found out later, is silly. I started reading some modern YA, like Lauren Myracle’s ttyl and Julie Gonzalez’s Imaginary EnemyThen I looked at my own daughter (who was 17 when I began the novel) and her friends, as well as the kids who come through my Day Job and realized that teenagers are a lot more sophisticated these days than they were when I was a kid. They’re connected by the Internet. They swear. And they can get into loads of trouble, like underage drinking. (Growing up, I was operating at a deficit. As a teen, I was both a late bloomer and horribly overprotected by my parents.)

While the book needs a thorough edit (and then some), I’m rather pleased with Amberly’s growth. She starts out willful, spoiled, and bitchy. She ends up caring, compassionate, and not without a few talents – like baking and cooking. (Her grasp of algebra also improves.)

Looking back on what I’ve written, I can see where I have to strengthen the storyline. I’m also giving Amberly a love interest, which is only lightly touched upon in the original, because…well, because she’s nearly 15 and full of hormones. Seems like the thing to do.

Although I would love for a prolonged celebration on a desert island – or a weekend at Cedar Point – I’m going right to work on the next manuscript in various states of disrepair.

Because as we know, I don’t have much time, and I’m writing as fast as I can.

 

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