Today I read three pieces that presented an interesting juxtaposition. First my Google Reader feed delivered Joel Bruns’ snarky-but-funny post at The Hub: DIY YA. With a Mad Libs style fill in the blank form, Bruns provides you with the template for creating your own YA bestselling paranormal romance. Bruns was riffing on a blog post by Nikki Grimes, The Trouble with YA Literature Today. She, too, lamented the preponderance of books being published today that seem to be variations on either Harry Potter or Twilight. (BTW: Does anyone know if you’re supposed to italicize series titles? This is the second time it’s come up today).
You can’t just have someone sitting around thinking.
As I’m revising my next book, The Water Castle, I’ve had to remind myself of this several times. I can’t just have a character staring up at the clouds and ruminating about life and how to fix a wagon wheel. While of course there is time for quiet reflection, story and tension happen when one character rubs up against one another.
Happy November. In the world of writing, November means one thing: NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month for the uninitiated.
I have never participated in NaNoWriMo before, but that hasn’t kept me from being deeply cynical about it. This is probably because December always found the writerly listservs to which I subscribe bombarded with questions like, “I finished my novel in November. How do I get an agent?” I would roll my eyes, but others would patiently explain that perhaps a little revision was in order first. I understood their enthusiasm: when I finish a draft of a novel, I want everyone to read it, too. But, I know that it’s not actually ready yet, and a good waiting period for all readers — myself included — is in order. I guess that’s why I was unimpressed by the idea of writing a whole novel in a month. How good could a book written in 30 days actually be?