Young Adult Readers Expect A Lot

Not so very long ago young adult stories had common tropes – broken friendships, new love, family upheaval – but older teens are far more sophisticated these days. They still have the same plot lines, but have their own language to navigate the rocky shores of growing up. Words only they know and understand. Soy boy, Nu male, sorority squat. Don’t even try to learn/use these terms b/c they change quickly and what is trending today, won’t be tomorrow.

Which is why I rarely incorporate most of them in my ms.

Pitch Wars

My critique partner was selected to be a PW mentee several years ago and said it was an incredible learning experience. Hard work, of course. But she’s agented and publishing her second book. So there’s that.

I’ve pitched every year for the past five and have not been selected, as have thousands of others. I try to not let it get me down. If writing has taught me anything, it’s perserverance.

Anyway, this time I’ll be pitching a young adult. This is a slippery category bc my protagonist is 14 years old. But let’s face it, folks, thanks to social, 14 year-olds are extremely worldly.

Anyway, the submission window is Sept. 26 through the 30th with mentees formally announced on Nov. 6. (Although most know in advance that they are mentees through requests from the mentors for more pages, etc.)

Wish me luck.

And if I’m not selected I shall perservere.

Planning to torture myself yet again

So, yeah. NaNoWriMo is in a month. 50K which is about 1600 words per day. Some years I make it, others I don’t. This year I have a good idea for a story and have begun the outline – which I don’t normally do. I’m more of a pantser. Is outlining before Nov. 1 cheating? I’ve been told that it’s not because the outline does not add to the word count.

Write-in day

Had a great write-in day with my cp last Saturday at a local coffee shop. These are necessary for both of us – it allows her to get away from the constant demands of two children and it keeps my butt in the chair. I tend to wander, both mentally and physically. I’m not one who can sit for long periods. She’s a published author working on her second book due to pub in 2022. I’m still seeking representation. But it’s funny how our needs are so similar.

Even though she’s pubbed she suffers from self-doubt. She still needs editing.

Writing is hard. It doesn’t matter who you are. Even Hemingway said in order to write you simply sit in front of a typewriter and bleed. Although similar quotes have been attributed to other writers. Which means it must be true.

PitMad. Again.

So this will be my fourth attempt at PitMad. The pitch party is Sept. 2. Writers can submit between the 26th and the 30th. I’d advise it because my critique partner had her manuscript selected, vastly improved and got an agent from the effort.

Ah, travel

Just returned from a week in Alabama. Yes, it was hot. Yes, it was humid. The trip down was a disaster – AA canceled our 3:00 flight for no offered reason. We finally got out at 11:30 p.m. The trip home was a dream but we were still tense, of course, waiting for disaster to fall.

Got a little writing done. Mostly tried to open my observational paths and ‘see’ the things and people around me. Some things I wish I could unsee.

The downside to querying

One author/agent suggested that writers not simply query one agent and then wait but to send out several, ten, fifteen at once. It’s hard work if you want to do it right – following each agent’s requirements. But I did it and learned that the depressing downside to this method is that the rejections come in droves as well. *sigh*


Pretty proud of myself. I sent six queries in two days. Each one takes a half-hour, minimum. First I research the agent to make sure she or he is looking for my genre, then reviewing their submission requirements and, finally, agonizing over every word of my query, synopsis, and first xx number of pages – for the hundredth time.

Changing POV

My just-completed ms was getting agent comments such as, “I had difficulty relating to your protagonist.” I’d written it in third person and decided to change it to first person. It is a great deal of work but I discovered that I could incorporate much more depth and texture, so it has become an exciting labor of love.

They all use the same word

Subjective – “based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.”

You’ll find that word in almost every rejection letter. It’s supposed to be comforting and in some ways it is. I try to remember that, while their preference in publishing is ‘subjective,’ so is my preference in reading. I’m not a big fan of most Science Fiction, Porn, or deeply Christian. I like a plot that is a ‘tightly wound spring.” Ooh. I just realized that wound (past tense of wind) and wound (an injury) are the same spelling.

So, back to my original thought – if I can be subjective in my selection of reading, I need to be tolerant of agent’s subjectivity in choosing manuscripts.