Saturday, April 21, 2012

April Showers: Why write YA?

Hi folks, I'm glad you are dropping by! Please check out my quarter-finalist excerpt of PLUMB CRAZY in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. I had a lovely week, spending most of my days at the Texas Library Association Annual Conference. What fun! Best moment, I met some librarians and mentioned that I was an author was greeted by cheers: "Authors are our Rock Stars!" How encouraging is that? Author pals everywhere, but the highlight was Kathy Whitehead and Stasia Ward  Kehoe and myself, at The Grove and speaking of writerly things. Yay for good times!

Now for April showers, seeing as we had a deluge here today this seems more than appropriate. My post will be a little short this week because I'm up to my ears with stuff and nonsense to do. So here we go, I'm going to answer a question I heard at the TLA conference -- Why do you write YA? I think I write YA because it is the moment of invention in the human journey. Stories for adults are about reinvention of the self. Someone doesn't like who they have become and they change into someone else. You may tire of your life and go on a journey to eat, pray and love. You may find that you are on a journey for riches, but end up on Mars to hook up with the princess and save her planet too. You may be someone who has found your life is not about you but about getting your child to a sanctuary. This is every adult book on the shelf.

In young adult novels things are different; main characters discover who they are for the first time. This is the moment of first invention of self.

As a person, I came early to this first invention of self.  I wasn't a writer, but my first invention of self was a person of worth. I think this is something you hunger for when you are taking those first steps into awareness and when you find OMG! You know, I think every teen ought to have a little bubble overhead, proclaiming "Worthy! Worthy!." Another part of this invention, you get to answer the mythic questions for the very first time. Who are you? What do you want? The chance to explore these moments is a great journey to me. I especially like to surprise my characters with the overwhelming wonder of the true answers to their mythic questions. And last, the first invention is about exploring "the sudden drown of knowing" a little phrase I've borrowed from YA starlet author Katherine Grace Bond. This is the time of visions. The mind is on fire with knowing, and it's this deep understanding that is the fire in YA fiction.

Oh, if you are on this journey of writing for YA folks, I hope that you will infuse worthiness into your characters , that you write the best answers to the mythic questions, and finally wade into the deep waters of knowing.

No doodle of the week, instead here is Orson Scott Card crushing my head -- or, as my sister says: "Orson healing you from writer's block." I honestly am having a lot of fun in this life.

Well, finally a quote to keep with you --

O! for a muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention.
William Shakespeare


Liz Mertz said...

Thanks, Molly. I have a lot to think about now. It's time to go beyond what happens in my YA wip and find out what HAPPENS.

Vijaya said...

Great post Molly and LOVE that picture! Congratulations on Plumb making it to the quarter finals. I still remember you sharing the first 3-4 chapters and how entertaining and true and poignant it was ...

YA -- it's such a heady time. I think MG is about discovering your world, and YA is about discovering yourself. I think I might be stuck ...

MollyMom103 said...

Another highlight of the conference was crashing a certain party with Kathy and you, Liz, and then meeting and greeting all the VIPs and Brass. Weird and wonderful. Ooh, let me know what HAPPENS!

Oh, Vijaya, I love that pic too. Thank you for the congrats!

Discovering your world. Good thought. I will talk more about MG next week since I write that too... Oh, hugs!

Jaye Robin Brown said...

I really loved your excerpt Molly! And that picture is fantastic. So cool.

MollyMom103 said...

Hi Jaye, Thank you for giving my excerpt a read. I appreciate the support.

Yes, that picture is a big time keeper. :)

Sumel said...

"In young adult novels things are different; main characters discover who they are for the first time. This is the moment of first invention of self."

Best. Definition. Ever.

Anonymous said...

Good thoughts, Molly. I miss you. Hope you're well. So excited for Plumb.

MollyMom103 said...

Glad that hit home, Susan.

Hi Shelley, Miss you too. Totally. I was grinning all day.

Candylynn Fite said...

Molly, how do you know JRo? We run in a blogosphere circle, too. Love her!! Just curious.

Love reading YA, but not so sure I can write it well. We'll see.

I love to read YA because it's new, discovery, and exploratory. Pretty much the same reasons why I'd love to write YA.

I hope someday to do something with my YA, Josey Jones ms, aka Vinegaroon Moon. Currently, I'm in a fit-of-crazies trying to figure out the ms myself.

It was soooooo good to see you yesterday! I enjoyed our conversations. Funny how it never seems like enough time to visit. :)

Thanks for the great post! I wrote one today about picture books. Now, off to work in the garden...

Candylynn Fite said...

Orson Scott Card?????? Amazing picture!

MollyMom103 said...

I think fear of not being able to succeed is part of the process of writing. It better be part of the process.
I always feel this, Candy.

We need a retreat or something with decent chat time built in.

The Uncle Orsy moment -- priceless. As my sister says, "I've had the laying on of hands." hahahahha!

I know JRo through the blogsphere, too.

Oh, how a lovely day.