June 11, 2012

Guest Post + Canadian Giveaway: Victoria Hanley (Wild Ink Blog Tour)

Victoria Hanley, author of Wild Ink: Success Secrets to Writing and Publishing in the Young Adult Market, is here today on the blog with a guest post!

My questions:
What's the aspect of writing YA novels that you find the most challenging, and how do you handle it--is it voice? Plotting? World building? Something else? What are your strategies to overcome this hurdle?
And her response:

Everything you mentioned has its challenges, for sure. But I’d say the most challenging part of writing YA is the way it’s necessary for authors to torture our young characters.

Torture? What am I talking about? The prevalent theme in YA novels is coming-of-age. Doesn’t the phrase “coming-of-age” sound sort of appealing?

But real coming-of-age is filled with grueling conflict. Whether a YA novel is contemporary, dystopian, romance, sci-fi, fantasy,  horror, or some other subgenre, the characters will be in a world of hurt. Depending on the author’s style, the characters endure physical, emotional or mental hardships—or all three, as happened in The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Sadness, fury, and heartache cannot be avoided. Adults cannot fix things for the YA protagonist; adults cannot rescue or work out an escape.

But we writers tend to fall in love with our characters! We love them so much that we’d like to spare them any suffering and skip right to the ending when the conflict is resolved. However, if we spared them we’d turn the story into a long drawn-out yawn. (Correct me if I’m wrong here. Have you read any page turners—YA or otherwise—where the characters had it easy?)

The fact that YA novels have young protagonists only makes it harder on the author. At the beginning, our characters are so tender and innocent. We’d like to rush in and help. Instead, we’ve got to put those dear young people through extreme pressures. But oh! the temptation to take pity on them is always there.

If the necessity of being mean to our characters wasn’t bad enough, we’ve also got to relive all the angst, pain and troubles of our own youth as we dig into ourselves for authentic teen emotions. Eegh! Not easy.

So what’s my strategy for getting through the struggles when I’m writing YA? I remind myself that like anything else in life, something worth doing is also worth effort. And at least when I’m writing a novel I can see the end in sight—the end when my characters have passed through the crucible of coming-of-age and become a young adult. 

Thanks very much, Victoria, for giving us a glimpse into the author's mind when it comes to the struggles YA characters endure! I think The Hunger Games is a fantastic example of the necessity of making life difficult for your characters. 

And now for the giveaway... 2 copies of Wild Ink are up for grabs, courtesy of Prufrock Press.

The rules:

- Entrants must be 13 years or older.
- Open ONLY to Canadian mailing addresses
- One entry per person
- Following and tweeting are not necessary but always appreciated!
- Ends June 30, at 11:59 pm EST.
- Winner will be selected randomly and contacted by e-mail

To enter, please fill out THIS FORM. Comments are wonderful but do NOT count as entries.

Also, if you'd like to read an excerpt of Wild Ink, here's the link to Chapter Two: http://www.prufrock.com/Assets/ClientPages/pdfs/Wild_Ink_Excerpt.pdf.

1 comment:

  1. This is a great giveaway—the book sounds fantastic—and I love that it's for Canadians! :) We kind of get the shaft a lot in giveaways.

    Thanks! :)


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