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Writing Advice

In this section, you will find a collection of blogs dedicated to writing advice. So, if your manuscript is starting to drive you crazy, or you’re not sure how to get started, read on for the push you need to create your masterpiece.

YA Fiction-Style & Content-Part II

What sets YA fiction apart?

bridgetBridget Collins: What I love about it is the intensity, and the freedom – because it’s in the middle of children’s and adults’ fiction, as it were, you have the best of both worlds! You can do things that in an adult book would marginalise you (The Traitor Game, my first book, has a strong fantasy element, and A Trick of the Dark, my second, is a supernatural thriller) and still be taken seriously, which is brilliant. And in a sense, the experiences that YA fiction tends to be about (coming of age, first love, first grief, and so on) don’t ever really get resolved, so even when we’re adults we can read YA fiction and find that it addresses our concerns. Unless that’s just me, and I’ve never grown up...

juliaJulia Green: Well that applies to me too, then, the not growing up!  I actually think it’s a necessary part of being a writer for young people, that ability to remember accurately the feeling of being the age of your young …
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YA Fiction-Dual Perspectives-Part I

What  is YA fiction?

juliaJulia Green: It’s a publishing category, really, rather than a genre with particular characteristics, although we might find some of those if we look closely enough. It’s fiction that’s  published by children’s  (as opposed to adult) book publishers, aimed at the top age group of young readers,  ie for readers about  14 years upwards , as distinct from ‘teenage’ fiction which is often read by younger readers ( from about 11 years),  although these are very blurred categories. 

bridgetBridget Collins: I think it’s certainly true that it’s mainly a publishing category – and one which is maybe still “settling”, still deciding where to locate itself and who its readers are. Because YA books are generally published by children’s publishers, or as a children’s imprint, they’ve been seen as a subsection of the children’s market, and I wonder whether that has influenced the way we think about them – and, by …
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How do you (physically) write?

[Hemingway_writing.jpg]I'm asking today about how you actually get words onto a page.  It's a question that authors are often asked at readings.  'How do you write?'   The answer varies, from the highly technical (those who use the latest computer), to the traditionalist who writes in long hand on foolscap paper.

Jane Austen's manuscripts are part of her legend, that she carved herself out a creative space in tiny words, on cramped paper, not inconveniencing anyone.  She wrote, of course, in a time when paper was a luxury, and everyone hoarded their words carefully on this precious commodity.

The picture from today's blog is of Hemingway writing in his preferred method - with a pencil - which he felt improved the flow of words.

We still use terms that relate to how authors used to write - manuscript - for scripts written by hand ('manu') and typescript for typewritten scripts.  Is there a word out there for a computer-written script?  'escript' perhaps?  …
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What's your driving inspiration?


Today, I would like to forsake my blog and bring you the words of one of our contributors, Kevin Armes. Here he speaks about his motivations for writing. Personally, I couldn't think of better reasons to write:

"I am two years into writing my first YA novel and am approaching the end of my second draft. I wrote the story for my thirteen year-old dyspraxic son after reading many Enid Blyton adventures to him and noting how irrelevant they now were to modern-day teens (although he still loved the stories).  I wanted to write a modern-day series of plausible adventures that would take a young hero to the furthest corners of the world.  I wanted him to experience different cultures and meet poverty, abuse and exploitation of his peers in the slums of, for example, The Philippines, Thailand, India, Africa and Brazil.  I wanted him to have a moral conscience and possess a strong desire to make a difference.  This required him to have the means, and I believe …
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Don’t Let the Deadline Go By

Mohana RajakumarSince the birth of our son there have been times in the last four months that I’m not even sure what month it is, let alone day of the week.  For the first time in my life, I feel an acute awareness of the finite number of hours in a day. Because as they say: time is the only thing (besides real estate) we can’t make more of.

When undergoing major life changes and trying to keep up with your writing, deadlines become even more important. A missed deadline can often be like a multi-car collision on the motorway sending everything else on the docket careening into a free fall.

Take for example the book I was trying to finish earlier this year on hip hop dance. Much to my delight, I managed to get the manuscript in before my delivery date and nothing from the editor on revisions as I headed into the maternity ward. Then on one of the afternoons that I woke from the new mother haze to reconnect with the outside world online, I found an email requesting additional …
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