3 out of 4 stars
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The Young Adult Writer’s Journey is a guidebook for aspiring writers and explains the ins and outs of what they need to succeed in the business. The process of creating Young Adult fiction is thoroughly discussed from start to finish. Chapters range from world building to how much romance plays a part in this type of book. There are even tips on how to get rid of the dreaded writer’s block. Examples from other popular works from this genre, like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, are given to illustrate points. All of this is laid out in plain language and broken down into steps that can be easily carried out. I will never write a YA book. However, it is one of my favorite go-to reads. So my point of view going into this review was not of an author but of an admirer of this branch of fiction. What I came away with are the tools to write a novel if I ever wanted to and a deeper appreciation for the ones who create the books I so dearly love.
Although this genre has a broad fan base from all ages, it is generally geared toward teens and preteens. The protagonist is always a teen. With that in mind, the coauthors, Janet Schrader-Post and Elizabeth Fortin-Hinds, make an explicit statement throughout the book—you have to know your audience. Janet is a YA author, and Elizabeth helped found a publishing company. Both draw on their experiences with juveniles in advising on how they speak, what they think, and what specific challenges they face today. Writers then can take this information and translate it into their characters, making them more relatable and realistic.
Everything that the authors say make a top-notch novel is what I love about them as well. A hero that is uniquely flawed but yet still likable; a villain who is so vile that I can feel his evil presence throughout the book; and a world that is captivating enough that I want to get lost in it. Even more important, is what kills a great story: the main character with a flat personality, a world vaguely described, and a middle part that doesn’t seem to go anywhere. One of the most important things a writer can do to avoid these pitfalls is before they put pen to paper, chart out the rules they set for their world and make a detail description for each main character. This helps the writer be consistent throughout and not have the hero suddenly having blond hair when he had brown in the beginning. Those little inconsistencies can squelch my enthusiasm for a book, and I am glad the authors presented this technique.
At the end, the authors cover marketing for up-in-coming writers, and I think this section is one of the most beneficial. It is hard enough creating a spectacular novel, but now comes the even harder part of selling it. Janet and Elizabeth address what publishers are out there, developing an online presence, and how reviewers are vital for promotion.
The biggest weakness of this book would be the typos, and it needs one more round of proofreading. One typo made me giggle: “In The Fugitive, Harrison Ford leaps off a damn and into the Special World of being free.” I am pretty sure the word should be “dam.” Most of the errors dealt with either formatting or using hyphens over em dashes. Although there were over ten of these, it did not hinder the reading.
Unfortunately, because of the number of errors I have to give The Young Adult Writer‘s Journey 3 out of 4 stars. It would be a great resource for anyone who wants to write a YA novel. It might also interest anyone (like me) who loves the genre and wants to learn what goes into the making of a book.
The Young Adult Writers Journey
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