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WRITE HABIT: #NYSCBWI15 Seven Things You Need To Know About Writing YA Fiction with Razorbill Editor Liz Tingue


Liz Tingue is an editor at Razorbill, Penguin Young Readers Group. She edits YA to picture books, including the Falling Kingdoms series by New York Times bestselling author Morgan Rhodes, The Way We Bared Our Souls by Willa Strayhorn, the New York Times bestselling picture book Marcel the Shell with Shoes On by Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer-Camp, and Zodiac by Romina Russell, which was named one of Amazon’s best books of December. 



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She broke her talk into Acts with the Seven Things You Need to Know about Writing YA Fiction woven in. Check it out:

ACT I: Getting Started


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1. DO Read A LOT, but DON’T only Read YA. 
It's crucial to keep up with major trends and players of the YA world—but don’t limit yourself. Seek inspiration in Adult fiction, nonfiction, poetry, memoirs, and biographies.

STUCK IN A RUT? 
  • Join/create a book club
  • Expose yourself to diff voices and POV 
KIM TIP: just don’t expose yourself because—ya know, that might get you arrested.
  • Read about books and the book industry.
    • Follow Blogs HINT, Hint: like this one—you can sign up for email updates—I promise I won't overload
    • Follow the big ones like: 
      • Publishers Weekly publishersweekly.com
      • School Library Journal  sly.com
      • Epic Reads http://www.epicreads.com
      • Galley Cat http://www.adweek.com/galleycat/
  • Sign up for Publishers Weekly’s Children’s Bookshelf newsletter for biweekly updates on the children’s book biz.
  • Find inspiration everywhere—TV, movies, internet memes, viral videos,blogs. Teens don’t live in a vacuum—you shouldn’t either.
2. DO get a SOCIAL MEDIA presence and network with other writers: Find the thing that works for you and go with it.  
THINK: Twitter Wattpad
Facebook Blogger
Tumblr

**DON’T spend your life tweeting and forget to write your novel.   

BEST TIP: Agents and editors research querying authors on social media—no one wants a whiner or a meanie.  


SOCIAL MEDIA ROLE MODELS: John Green, Sarah Dessen, and Veronica Roth

ACT II: The Writing Process
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3. DO get to know your characters REALLY WELL



  • Know their wants and needs and know the difference.


  • Techniques to use: Character sketches
    Outlining
    Journaling

    ONCE you know your character…put him or her into ACTION. 
    Boil MC’s arc into WANTS and NEEDS

    **EDITOR TIP: If you’re doing it right, your characters WANTS and NEEDS should be in direct conflict.

    4. VOICE: You need to decide POV and tense. BUT don’t force it. It must come naturally.

    1st person: An intimate voice for a coming of age story
    3rd person: Fantasy/Sci-fi 

    **BEST TIP: If you lose momentum on your POV, try writing the story from a different character’s voice and see if it’s a better fit. Change tense. Play around. 

    PLAIN OLD COMMON SENSE: Don’t talk down to your reader. Kids are SMART. Readers are SMARTER!!


    5. PLOT & STRUCTURE: Make maps for plot & structure. DON’T be afraid to stray once in a while.

    *If you have a map, you can get back to beginning…especially if you take a detour or all off the tracks.

    **BEST TIP: Always good to know the rules of good writing AND THEN you can break them. (If appropriate)

    STRUCTURE: Beginning, Middle, End

    ACT 1: Always shorter than you think
    ACT 2: MID: Action/events etc.
    ACT 3: END

    WRITE TIP: Ask question at the end of one chapter and answer in next chapter.

    ACT III: Taking it to the Finish Line

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    6. JOIN A CRITIQUE GROUP & DON’T BE AFRAID TO LOVE CRITICISM

    Love criticism. Invite it. Ask for it. Find someone who will tell you the truth—Find a Sagittaurius. They’re honest. (Liz is a Sagittaurius and PROUD of it!)

    Edit process is part of writing.

    7. DO PERSEVERE WHEN GOING GETS TOUGH but DON’T be afraid to walk away.

    Writing is hard work. Keep at it, but if a MS isn't working, don't be afraid to walk away.  

    KIM TIP: Try something new. Don't stop writing, just work on something else.

    “YA is about the experience of being young.”

    LIZ TINGUE WISHLIST:

      Contemporary, Voicey, Coming of Age
    Families, friendship, alternating POV, Big romance

    (She sees and feels there’s some reeling back of love triangles.)

    Happy Writing!!


    Kim

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