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"In 900 Years of Time and Space, I've Never Met Anyone Who Wasn't Important Before" (Problem: Boring Lead, Riveting Supporting Cast)

I received an email the other day from a reader (who wanted to remain anonymous in this post - but we'll call her Sarah) who told me that she was having trouble getting into her protagonist, despite this being her most prominent POV.
She is dynamic as many Young Adult characters are, but at the beginning she's anxious and self-doubting because she's in that adolescent phase when you realise everything you know about yourself is completely wrong and you're just starting to discover who you REALLY are. There's not much that makes her like me (or am I kidding myself?) even though I've been in the same position as her. Well maybe not exactly since this is YA SF, but as far as her emotional state goes, I've been through that. But I just feel like she should've developed more by now, and she still feels like a faceless stock character.
Bildungsroman is the nature of YA above all, and that relatable trait for the protagonist is necessary. To some extent, ther…
Recent posts

Your Workspace is All Wrong (And What's Essential to Boost Productivity)

The way we writers work is peculiar, and actually, particular. Though I've found that one method for one novels doesn't always suit another novel. Some of us are fully digitised, others still handwrite half of their work, and many of us are an amalgam in between. 
Me? I like to outline with tangible plot points, create and reshuffle, and I do this with post it notes on cork boards. I can keep track of pacing, interlocked story lines and character frequency. I can sketch landscapes and statues therein. But when it comes to writing, it has to be in Word.
But today, I want to talk about healthy creative environments.

So, at the moment, I'm on the floor in my living room, more from my uncanny ability to sit cross-legged for extended periods of time and the fact that I just spent the better part of a year extricated from my family in HSC mode (and I'm attempting to quash complaints that they never see me despite my nearly always being home). That, and the wifi conks out on…

Review: Unravelling by Elizabeth Norris

Series: Unravelling #1
Release date: June 2012
Publisher: Harpercollin's Children's Books
Pages: 445
Source: Berkelouw Books
Rating: 
STOP THE COUNTDOWN. SAVE THE WORLD…

Leaving the beach, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit head on by a pickup truck.

And killed.

Then Ben Michaels, resident stoner, is leaning over her. And even though it isn’t possible, she knows Ben somehow brought her back to life…

Meanwhile, Janelle’s father, a special agent for the FBI, starts working on a case that seems strangely connected to Ben. Digging in his files, Janelle finds a mysterious device – one that seems to be counting down to something that will happen in 23 days and 10 hours time.

That something? It might just be the end of the world. And if Janelle wants to stop it, she’s going to need to uncover Ben’s secrets – and keep from falling in love with him in the process…
It's described as 24 meets X-Files and as a blockbuster, but that is seriously underestimating the sheer awesomesa…

Have we seen the end of action-oriented YA?

Well, have we?
A lot of writers struggle with balancing action and suspense with realistic development and emotion. I've received a couple emails about concerns that in writing physical struggles at the forefront, internal conflict plays second fiddle. 
In many ways, characters vs. plot or even the conflict in pleasing your readers vs. pleasing yourself.
We get caught up in all the little opinions - agents condemn certain features and talk about the importance of "emotion" and issues relevant to the YA audience, and critics on sites like Goodreads can be absolutely brutal about their preferences. We as authors have a tendency to reconsider our choices and our work in their desire to be relevant and pleasing and, well, good.
But it's all about balance.
And I do mean action-orientedand not action-packed. 
All plots have a sense of urgency to them, and that pacing is absolutely vital. It's important not to forgo that in the mistaken belief that it's action-acti…

The Thursday Thrill!

Warning: this post will include a lot of celebratory gifs. Like, a lot.

I'm hyperactive and confused and exhausted and sore and hungry and just - I'm finished. The HSC. High school. I'm finished. As of 2 o'clock this afternoon. My final exam on Art Criticism and History was finished.

And so, I'm also back.

To commemorate this occasion, I thought I'd make a post of all the things that are absolutely thrilling me about YA and publishing and reading and even my own writing that I am now free to catch up on. (Ugh, free. I love that word.) Anyway, all the things to come!

Releases of very late 2012 and of 2013:

First and foremost: I just ordered Days of Blood and Starlight and omfgwhateven I have to wait three weeks until I can read it but it's worth it and aksf;akhjsfljasbfa.snf;     ...Basically.

In my catch up searching, I very quickly (and excitedly) came across Antigoddess on Goodreads, the upcoming offering from Kendare Blake (of Anna Dressed In Blood fame, …

I'll Soon Be Seeing You: Pripyat, Ukraine (The Dead City)

Welcome to the I'll Soon Be Seeing You series, inspired by the Cat Stevens song Katmandu and the talented atmosphere of photographers across the globe. We as creative spirits - writers, filmmakers, artists and consumers of stories - find inspiration in various settings. Laini Taylor found Prague, Leigh Bardugo found Russia - there's London, Paris, New York, Tokyo. So I'll be exploring a range of landscapes, both conventional and not so much, to give you some ideas about your settings. 



Припять, Украина (Pripyat, Ukraine)

April 26, 1986: an accident at a nuclear power plant destroyed one of the USSR's young and prosperous cities. Life does exist, but in a different form - in graffiti. Photographer Alex Cheban visited the city a few years ago, and today's inspiration set are some of his photos (and here there are more).










And, ladies and gents, a video!



So guys, what do you think of Pripyat? What's a place you've been Googling lately for inspiration?

Meagan Spooner is My Homeboy (Or, nindogs presents the debut YA author of SKYLARK)

I have always dreamed, since I was a wee lad, that one day I would have the pleasure of meeting a delightfully spunky individual who might become my homeboy. I have met said individual.

Her name is Meagan, and she is a debut author.

Meagan Spooner's novel, Skylark, is due for release August 1, and as a part of her imaginariumblog tour, this is but a chipper pit stop to change one's tyres, etc.

I am seriously psyched for this novel's release. Actually. Truthfully. Honestly. Completely. Totally. And here's why.

Vis in magia, in vita vi.
In magic there is power, and in power, life.

For fifteen years, Lark Ainsley waited for the day when her Resource would be harvested and she would finally be an adult. After the harvest she expected a small role in the regular, orderly operation of the City within the Wall. She expected to do her part to maintain the refuge for the last survivors of the Wars. She expected to be a tiny cog in the larger clockwork of the city.

Lark did not …