Finally, an all-inclusive book on young adult fiction must-do, don’t do and how-to. If you want to write a young adult novel, you need to read this book first. Coauthored by an award-winning YA author and an acquisitions editor, both experts on kids and what they like to read, this encyclopedia contains all you need to start or improve a career as a YA fiction author.
From an examination of the market, genre and its sub-genres, to mechanics and the business, everything is at your fingertips. This amazing writer’s resource is written in a relaxed and interesting style, with plenty of contemporary references and examples for clear understanding and easier application.
Read an excerpt...
Joseph Campbell was a professor of literature at Sarah Lawrence College, where he worked in comparative mythology and religious studies. He was strongly influenced by Carl Jung's view of myth. In his 1949 work The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Campbell described the basic mythic structure as follows:
A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered, and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man. (Campbell, Joseph (1949). The Hero with a Thousand Faces.
Princeton: Princeton University Press. p. 23.)
His iconic classic deconstructs universal story patterns. In his study of the myth of the hero, Campbell posits the existence of a Monomyth (a word he borrowed from James Joyce), a universal pattern, structure, found in heroic tales in every culture. While outlining the basic stages of this mythic cycle, he also explores common variations in the hero’s journey, which, he argues, is an operative metaphor, not only for an individual, but for a culture as well. Although the stories may vary to suit the needs and beliefs of a specific culture, the underlying universal archetypes remain.
Christopher Vogler used this hero’s journey to write, The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers. He simplified Campbell’s 17 steps into 12, handy in today’s 12-step minded society. What he did that was fantastic is make it more accessible for modern writers, who are not always scholars. There are several similar editions, including one for screenwriters. Women like Maureen Murdock have written books specifically about The Heroine’s Journey. Although the steps may vary, the universal pattern, used in a novel or screenplay, creates a story with themes that resonate across cultures. It is so powerful, creating hit after hit, that it was required reading for Disney executives, a company that knows the importance of creating a hero’s journey to appeal to mass audiences. Using this pattern to construct books in Young Adult novels provides the reader with a satisfying experience.
To illustrate the hero’s journey, it’s easier to understand in the context of a classic young adult book/movie, such as Harry Potter, already used to illustrate points throughout this book. It will be broken down for you according to the different stages in The Hero’s Journey, with particular attention to how the journey relates to a YA hero/heroine, the focus of this entire book. Following are some things you need to think of before you sit down to write your first scene.
At first, I thought I was reading a psychology book about children and then I realized this book is just what it says it is. You can’t sell a book without defining your audience. Unfortunately, in today’s world just writing what you want is not necessarily going to do anything but sit on your own shelf and no one else’s. The “audience” of young adult and middle grade kids is not what it was when we grew up. When I say we, I don’t care what your age is. Everything is changing fast enough that my statement is still true. Things aren’t as they were. Not being aware of the teens interests of today would be like writing a “Little House on the Prairie” book. If that’s what you want to do, no problem. These authors are on top of things and worth listening to.
This is also a book to help you lay out the frame or skeleton of your story. I was unhappy at first of the many famous author examples that were used but then again, what better way to explain how to do something to create a book from one we already know has sold. I’m not saying anyone should follow the examples verbatim nor should you lose your own identity. This is just a well-written book to help you. Either as a layperson for ideas or for well-seasoned YA authors. Then comes the ultimate, marketing. It is covered in depth here and should be the most important part of the book in my opinion. If no one knows you wrote a book or never sees it, never buys it, is it really a book?
I think this really is an encyclopedia and yet I also think it can inspire you to get started or move forward on your book. There is no author that doesn’t have that periodic moment of being “stuck”. This is one of those sources you use as a reference material and keep on your shelf.
Read an Interview with the author. Click HERE
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Daughter of a Colonel, Janet Schrader-Post lived the military life until she got out of highschool. She lived in Hawaii and worked as a polo groom for fifteen years, then moved to Florida where she became a reporter. For ten years she covered kids in high school and middle school. Kids as athletes, kids doing amazing things no matter how hard their circumstances. It impressed her, and it awed her. “How wonderful teens are. They have spirit and courage in the face of the roughest time of their lives. High school is a war zone. Between dodging bullies, school work and after school activities, teens nowadays have a lot on their plate. I wrote stories about them and I photographed them. My goal was to see every kid in their local newspaper before they graduated.”
Janet love kids and horses, and she paints and writes. Now she lives in the swampland of Florida with too many dogs and her fifteen-year-old granddaughter. She started to write young adult fiction with the help of her son, Gabe Thompson, who teaches middle school. Together they have written a number of award-winning YA novels in both science fiction and fantasy.
Elizabeth Fortin-Hinds knows kids well. She spent decades teaching teens and adults to write and improve their reading skills. As a literacy expert and certified coach, she helped both teachers from elementary to secondary and preservice graduate students learn to improve reading and writing instruction. She has taught at both the secondary and graduate level, everything from rhetoric, essays, and thesis statements, to poetry, short stories, and how to write a novel. She has learned to use both sides of her brain simultaneously, but enjoys the creative side the most, learning to play piano, draw and paint, and find time for her own writing since retiring from her “day” jobs.
A “true believer” in Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, mythic structures, she uses that lens when considering manuscripts for Tell-Tale Publishing Group, a company she founded with some friends from her critique group a decade ago.
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