Friday, 20 November 2015

Why YA is Different From Adult

There are two obvious differences between writing YA and Adult.

1. YA is about teenagers
2. YA is primarily for teenagers.

Obvious, right? Hmm... maybe not. It would be if it was ONLY teenagers who read them. Adults have different expectations and I think that gets in the way for the readers and the writers. 

I may, of course, be talking right out my ass, but from experiences I've recently with reviews and comments, I believe the following to be true.

1 YA is about teenagers.

This means that the characters in the books are teens and not adults. This is important, because it seems to me that many adult readers expect the characters to act like adults, especially if there is romance involved.

These are questions that have arisen recently in reviews/comments etc

  • A seventeen year old was a spoiled brat and behaving immaturely - well d'uh
  • A sixteen year old wouldn't fall in love instantly and forever. Tell that to all the high school kids who swear to be together forever which roughly translates to - until I go to college and fall instantly in love with someone else. This is not always the case but no one is surprised when it is.
  • Would a  seventeen year old constantly think about sex without actually having it?
  • Would a sixteen year old do impulsive, bizarre or completely unexpected things?
  • Would a sixteen year old behave like a child one minute and an adult the next?
  • Would a sensible and stable sixteen year old be selfish and childish sometimes?
  • Would a sixteen year old abandon his home and family pretty much on the spur of the moment to save the life of his best friend
These questions and many more have been been asked or commented on and have frankly surprised me. 

Let's go back to the dog in a wig. That's my dog. It would be quite reasonable to query why an adult character would do such a stupid and bizarre thing, but a teenager...? I suppose you'd better ask my son, who is a few days off 15.

One of the great things about writing YA is that teenagers are unpredictable and break all the rules. They do stupid things on the spur of the moment without a second thought. They climb things, fall off things, break things and make things, build fires, run away from home, and all kinds of crazy things.

For example

Getting excited because his arm fits the window of the new car.

I don't think it's legitimate for adults to expect teenagers to act like adults or think like adults. What do you think?

How far would this go? How far would the explanation...he's a teenager, explain behaviours that would be unacceptable/unbelievable with adults?

Okay, let's move on to

2 YA is primarily for teenagers.

I believe that adults and teenagers want different things from their books. At a very simplistic and basic level :-

Adults want a finely crafted story, with plenty of emotion, good grammar, believable characters, believable plots etc etc.

Teens want action, preferably with explosions. They'll put up with romance if it's done right, but don't want any of the slushy stuff.

Okay, YA should be as well crafted and written as any adult book, and of course teens want depth in the character and story, but do they really want to see inside the character's head? Do they care if the comma's in the wrong place, or if there's head hopping going on when one of the characters is getting possessed by a demon, or fighting for their life in a running battle, or falling out of the sky because they haven't learned how to use their wings yet.

Bottom line. Teen books are written for people who carry their hamster in their pockets

I totally appreciate these are sweeping generalizations but it's something that's coming up time and time again in my writing and I would welcome other perspectives.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Clean by Mia Kendrick

CLEAN FRONT COVER WITH SEALS-fin3 Author Name: Mia Kerick

Book Name: Clean

Release Date: December 1, 2015


Blurb: High school senior Lanny Keating has it all. A three-sport athlete at Lauserville High School looking at a college football scholarship, with a supportive family, stellar grades, boy band good looks… until the fateful day when it all falls apart.

 Seventeen-year-old Trevor Ladd has always been a publicly declared zero and the high school bad-boy. Abandoned by his mother and sexually abused by his legal guardian, Trevor sets his sights on mere survival.

 Lanny seeks out Trevor’s companionship to avoid his shattered home life. Unwilling to share their personal experiences of pain, the boys explore ways to escape, leading them into sexual experimentation, and the abuse of illegal drugs and alcohol. Their mutual suffering creates a lasting bond of friendship and love.

 When the time finally comes to get clean and sober, or flunk out of high school, only one of the boys will graduate, while the other spirals downward into addiction.

 Will Lanny and Trevor find the strength to battle their demons of mind-altering substances as well as emotional vulnerability? Clean takes the reader on a gritty trip into the real and raw world of teenage substance abuse.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

NaNoWriMo Day 14

Things are finally looking up and the words are flowing better. It might have something to do with the fact that interesting things are happening in the story.

Today, I got up to 36,773 and I'm estimated to finish on 20th

They passed a place where the branches and boles of the trees were dotted with tiny houses, each lit with a crystal droplet that hung over the front door on a pole. Tiny creatures with wispy white hair and really big noses scurried from branch to branch, following them and calling out to each other in singsong voices.

The road narrowed, and on occasion they had to duck under branches. At other times, branches drew back to allow them easier passage. It seemed that trees, like people, varied in how polite and helpful they were. Tay no longer asked where they were going, because the living silence of the wood brought him peace and he was content just to walk.

Rounding a corner they came to a pool where a golden fox with shimmering aqua scales along its head and back stood proud on and overhanging branch. Its feathery tail brushed the surface and fluttered in the breeze. The fox turned its head to regard them with calm golden eyes, then it leaped from the end of the branch and dove with barely a ripple into the water, its tail fanning like seaweed. Tay watched the floating tail disappear as the fox went deeper. Although he waited, the fox did not surface again.

“Is it alright?” Tay scanned the banks of the small pool, but there was no sign of the fox.

“Why would it not be?”

“It’s a fox. I didn’t know foxes could swim at all, let alone stay under this long.”

“Scaled foxes are amphibious. It can stay under the water for hours, although they prefer to sun themselves on tree branches and flat stones.”

“They’re beautiful.”

“They are, indeed.”

Shortly afterwards, Tay began to hear the sound of running water, and within minutes the path reached its conclusion at a wide, deep pool, fed by a waterfall. But it was a waterfall like none Tay had ever seen or dreamed of.

A circle of rock appeared to be suspended in mid–air. It was filled with swirling mist, and brightly coloured birds flew in and out, along with ethen and larger fairies. The waterfall spilled over the edge of the circle, crystal clear and sparkling. In fact, there seemed to be real crystals tumbling along with the water. Every now and again, a fairy would swoop and snatch one.

Playing in the frothing water, were what Tay had originally thought were young people, until he saw 
their tails. “Mermaids,” he said.

“Where? Oh yes. Mers, nyphs, elementals. All kinds. They like forest pools.”

“Is this where we’re going?” Tay asked hopefully.

“No. This way.”

Tay was reluctant to walk away from the beautiful scene, especially as some of the mers had noticed them and were heading across the pool. “Can’t we just––”

“If we stay, the mers will keep us talking all day. They’re silly creatures and I can assure you they will drive you insane within the first ten minutes. However, they are so innocent it’s hard to be rude and tear yourself away when they beg so prettily.” There was something in Wisp’s voice that suggested he didn’t find it difficult at all.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

NaNoWrimo 2015 Day 12

Things are going slowly. Far more slowly than usual. I'm struggling to write, but we're getting to a good bit so I hope things will flow better from now on. I'm on track, but used to writing five or six thousand words in a sitting. Ah well. Up to 26,600 so no real complaints

They walked in silence back through the arbour and through the garden. Wisp carried the globe in his closed hand. Tay could feel its presence, pulsing in his consciousness, turning his thoughts purple and pink. As much as he’d told Wisp not to ask how or why, that’s all he could do, not that the how was anything like as important as the why. There had been something deeply personal in the power that coursed through him and created the globe. In that moment the only things that existed in his world were the flame and Wisp. Why was he that important?

 Something crawled in the back of his mind; a memory? A thought? A feeling? Why did it make him think of Cale? “Oh shit.”

“What’s wrong?”

Tay hadn’t realized he’d spoken out loud, and he swallowed heavily. “Nothing. I’m fine. I…I was just thinking of Cale.”

“That’s your friend? The demon?”

“He’s not a demon. He’s just kind of…fused with one. He’s not dangerous.”

“Oh, he’s dangerous. There’s no doubt about that. He’s dangerous. The only question is, to whom?”

“Not to us.”

“You sound very sure.”

“I know Cale. He’s my best friend. He would never hurt me.”

“He’s not the same.”

“He is. He is the same.”

“I hope so.”

Silence fell again, but Tay’s thoughts had been torn from the path they had been following and were now fixed on Cale. More than ever, he longed to have his friend at his side. If Cale had been there, they would have been laughing about something – probably Wisp. It would have been Cale he made the globe for. Or would it? That ball hadn’t been meant for a friend. Not just a friend.

Cale’s last words echoed in his mind, and he shook them off. No. He was not going to think of that, of anything like that, especially not with Wisp. Maybe he was gay and maybe he wasn’t. Maybe something could have happened with Cale if he hadn’t been straight, or maybe it couldn’t. There was the remotest of chances something could have sparked with Willow…well maybe not. But Wisp? No chance. Not going down that road. No way.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015 Day 10

Not going as well as I'd hoped, but still on track. For some reason writing isn't flowing as fluidly as it usually does, which is strange as I like the story very much. Ah well, almost half way at 24008 words.

Here's today's snippet

Wisp smiled at him. “Not as different as you might think. There’s a pattern to it all. It’s hard when you’re not brought up with it, but you’ll see it eventually. Things will make sense.”

“What if I don’t? What if I never fit in here?” Tay’s heart skipped. He hadn’t voiced the fear before, but it had been there, hanging in the air since he first accepted he really was a prince. “What if I’m not good enough?”

“You can’t not be good enough,” Wisp said. “You are what you are. The land and people will accept you – good or bad. If you don’t fit in with them, they will eventually fit in with you, so don’t push yourself too hard.”

“But I don’t want to be bad. I want to be a good prince; a good king. I always knew I was going to do something big; something great. At least I always thought I would. I worked hard at school, to get good grades, to go to university, to make an important life. Well, all that was pointless, but I got what I wanted. I got an important life, and it scares the hell out of.”

“Don’t think you’re done with school.”

“What do you mean?”

“It will be a different kind of school, for sure, but once you’ve settled in you’ll be working with tutors to bring you up to speed on everything you need to know about The Kingdom – geography, history, politics – not to mention your training in the use of your powers.”

“Oh right, yeah, those. I almost forgot.” Tay laughed. “No I didn’t. I didn’t forget, not for a minute. I almost killed someone and I think I almost killed myself. I’m terrified of them coming out again. I 
don’t want to learn to use them. I want them to go away.”

“Well, that’s not going to happen. Get used to it.”

Tay glared at Wisp, but Wisp was grinning, and Tay had to follow him.

“The way your powers came through was too fast and too early. It was like water bursting through a dam. It will never be that wild and uncontrolled again. Trust me. Once you start learning what you can do, you’ll never want to stop.”

Wisp held out his hand, palm up, toward Tay. At first, it seemed a swirling mist was rising, then it drifted together to form a sphere. Tay watched fascinated as it coalesced and hardened until Wisp was holding a delicate bubble filled with swirling smoke. Wisp held it out and Tay touched it with one finger. It was hard and cold, like glass.

“Take it.”

Tay gingerly lifted the globe and turned to examine it in the light spilling from the inside of the castle. The more he gazed into the globe, the more it seemed there was something inside, obscured by the swirling mist.

“What’s in it?”

“One day, your powers will allow you to see. It will give you something to work toward.”

“You’re giving it to me? No. It’s too beautiful. I’ll break it.”

Monday, 9 November 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015 Tay's Trials

So, I'm doing NaNo this year, with a YA Fantasy Adventure, which is the middle book in a trio that tells the story of an ordinary sixteen year old schoolboy, who discovers he's actually a fairy prince, sent to the human world to protect him from demons. The first book follows him into the fairy world, which they call The Kingdom, and this one follows him as he explores his new world and family, helped by some new friends, and hunted by demons.

So far I've written 22027 words, and I thought I'd share a few of them. I'll continue to do so as I work my way toward the magic 50000 and beyond.


Silence fell, if silence it could be called, as it was thick with the whispering of the trees. It was as if Willow’s challenge had been taken up and passed from tree to tree. Nothing stirred.

Willow did not call again, but waited, his feet apart and his hand on the hilt of his sword. His entire stance screamed of challenge, but no one stepped up to meet it.

Tay was about to call Willow back into the car, when the undergrowth parted and a shining white creature stepped onto the road, about ten feet from Willow, who stumbled back a step or two. At first, Tay thought it was a unicorn, but it had no horn, and resembled a deer more than a horse. It tossed its head and opened its mouth. A clear, melodic harmony floated into the air, like the notes of a flute, dropping one by one into the silence and owning it. Tay was entranced as, apparently was Willow as he seemed frozen, gazing at the creature with a strange, enraptured expression.

The melody was disappointingly short, and when it was done, the creature turned and disappeared back into the forest. Tay’s heart ached at the loss. He wanted to call it back, to beg for more, to run into the forest after the creature, but he did none of it. Instead, he sat back in his seat and wondered what the hell had just happened.

After a few moments, Willow got back into the car and took up his position opposite Tay. He seemed dazed, his usual cool exterior ruffled.

“What was that?”

“It was a light fawn.” Willow’s voice seemed a little shaky.

“Is that a good thing or a bad thing?”

“It depends. If your heart is pure, their song is a blessing.”

“And if it isn’t?”

“It’s a harbinger of death.”

“Oh. Right. Shit. Um…I don’t know if I’m going to regret asking, but is death instant, you know? Or do we hang around waiting, just in case one of us drops dead?”

Willow smiled, the expression of shock and fear disappearing from his face. “It’s instant,” he said. “I’m just surprised. I wouldn’t have considered my heart to be anywhere near pure. I should be dead right now.”

“I think your heart is pure,” Tay said, smiling. “If it hadn’t been you would have killed Cale and I would already be….” His tongue tripped over the word ‘home’. He just couldn’t say I about somewhere that was so not his home. “back. I would probably be broken in a hundred pieces, at least.”

“The light fawn is one of the symbols of the royal family. It’s on your coat of arms. I probably got away with it because I’m with you.”

Tay snorted. “Yeah, right. Can we get moving again?”

Friday, 6 November 2015

My top 8 animes

Hello people, 'tis Efan. Lately I've been watching a TON! of anime. And in my last blog I did a top 8 list of my favourite games, so I thought I'd do the same for anime. I promise this time there will only be 8 on this list. (I couldn't think of 10 so I was stuck with 8 :( )

My top 8 animes.

8) Yu-Gi-Oh. Yes, I went there, but you can't deny that when you were younger you LOVED this show, much as I did. There have been many variants of this anime. Some good, some not so. But the original was the thing that got me introduced into the larger medium of anime.

7) Pokemon. Yes,, let me explain myself. Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh may as well have had the same spot, it was and still is one of the most beloved animes and children cartoons to this day.

6) Naruto. Naruto was the first anime that I really got into. I used to stay up ridiculously late just to watch it, I loved the plot, the characters, just all of it! And it will always have a special place in my heart!

5) Galactic Football. I never really got into this, because they never showed the episodes in a coherent succession. But what I did see, and what I could piece together, I LOVED IT! I was young at the time, but this show wasn't entirely childish, and that's why I loved it so much. It  had a serious plot line and was just interesting!
4) Monster. Monster is a psychological thriller. It's terrifying. It's amazing, and just seriously worth a watch. It's hard to explain's 

3) Death Note. Death Note is a thriller. It's an amazing game of cat and mouse. The characters are memorable, the plot is SO interesting and larger than life. I love it!

2) Black Butler. This was VERY almost at the number 1 spot, and it was also the latest anime that I watched. This anime sways from serious to goofy very well. The plot line is interesting, the characters are memorable and interesting, and is definitely worth a watch!

1) Sword Art Online. I just LOVED this anime! It was great! least the first season was. But that first season was my favourite anime of all time! It's about people trapped in a virtual reality video game, and the twist is, if you die in the game, YOU DIE IN REAL LIFE! It's definitely worth a watch!