30 August 2010

Why I'm Writing YA Fiction

My Angela series is considered Young Adult fiction because the main character is 15 in the first book, which revolves a lot, though not entirely, around her life at school. In the past I have published highly literary short stories in Spanish (Angela is in English), so why would I plunge into YA now?

The truth is that the story came to me with Angela Fournier as the main character, all three books of it, all at once, as I have described on other posts. Writers must write what we are given. The series will be fast-moving, tension filled, but given relief by an unusually mature and caring central character. This is reality, too. Literature should have space for everything.

The theme of my Angela series is responsible citizenship and what it can cost us. My next project may not have a teenage central character, but in both Angela and my next project, I hope to write something of interest to all adults, young, old, and in between.

07 August 2010

Fiction: A Way of Dealing with Truth

In following in the blogosphere the discussion on fiction, whether teen fiction, Christian fiction, or young adult fiction, I have discovered a minority opinion out there that equates fiction with fantasy or with lies. I thought I would offer some light on the subject.

Fiction is a sub-category of narrative. Narration goes deep into what makes us human. Some narration is historical, in the form of chronicles or biographies. The Bible makes wide use of the former (Exodus, Kings, Chronicles, and so on) and of the latter (the Gospels). Fiction usually takes the form of short story and novel. The best deals with believable characters we can relate to as readers, in varying degrees reflects the real world, and has something significant to say about it.

Works of fiction can range from an entire fictional world with its own mythology, legend, and history (The Lord of the Rings), through the real world containing a magical alternate (The Harry Potter series), through novelization of enduring legend (Mary Stewart's four books on the King Arthur legends), to historical fiction that paints a particular point in a nation's past (Les misérables). The best science fiction projects a current trend to a future in which our worst tendencies have damaged us (H.G. Wells' The Food of the Gods). Each of these has something important of universal human value to say.

As with all human artistic (and other) endeavors, there is work of high quality, there is trash, and everything in between. Some of it contributes positively to understanding ourselves better, some of it is destructive of ethics and culture, much nowdays is merely commercial (If it makes money, do it!).

Read widely. Don't condemn a book if you have not read it, at least far enough to know clearly what it's about (but it's rare to pick up any book you can't read through to the end and it's important to find out just where the author comes down on the main issue presented in it).

Please take a look at my latest realease, a piece of realistic fiction, at www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/Angela1.html

04 August 2010

So You Want to be a Writer

My apologies to all for all the time gone by between posts. It's been an unusually busy year and I'm still in recovery mode. I am going to be posting a series of short messages every few days for a while, now that I have some time.

I read the other day a lament on writers: everyone wants to write nowdays but nobody wants to read. Of course it's an exaggeration for effect, but it needs to be addressed. Anyone who wants to be a writer must read a lot. Whether one is aiming for "serious literature" or for a trendy demographic group such as teen fiction, young adult fiction, or Christian fiction, one must read.

All good writers are readers, but not all readers are writers. Authors love and need readers, but they got to be writers by reading. Certainly writing comes much more easily to some people than to others. Another way of saying that is that writing well takes talent. Like all talent, though, it has to be developed. Authors need to have read a great deal and they need coaching, that is, readers, editors, and good writers who read what they produce and give them feedback.

What should you read? A bit of everything and as widely as possibly. Only that way can the potential writer find a genre (poetry, novel, story, essay, etc.), themes he or she cares about, and the writer's own voice.