10 articles for MG and YA genre authors to read this month: May

1024 512 Siobhan O'Brien Holmes

Happy May, awesome authors! I’m going to quickly skip over the fact that I missed out April and move along to bringing you my monthly round-up of interesting, useful or just plain fun articles from around the internet that I think writers of middle grade and YA genre fiction might find helpful or just get a kick out of.

Tor EDU: Genre Publishing 101

This webinar is a great, accessible introduction to genre publishing and what goes on inside the industry.

Writing Young Adult Romance: Crushes and Chemistry

It’s my hero Mary Kole! Mary talks here about writing believable relationships that hinge on more than just physical attraction which is so important in YA.

Sidewriting Takeover: Why Sidewrite? (And What Is It Anyway?)

I’d never hear this practice referred to as sidewriting before but essentially this is about the extra writing and exercises you do to figure out your story, drill into your characters, flesh out backstory and come up with new ideas. That might include free-writing about your protagonist or in their voice or planning out your town’s geography and social hierarchy – anything that doesn’t actually end up on the page.

What Makes a Good YA Dystopian Novel?

This Horn Book article from 2012 discusses the themes, tropes and emotions that go into a great YA dystopian story, listing four major elements that always crop up: a vidid setting, forces in charge who have a logical motivation, protagonists shaped by their environment and a conclusion that reflects the almost always dire circumstances.

Emotions and the Body: Less Cliché Ways the Body Responds to Emotional States

Janice talks about ways of describing physical responses to emotions, like excitement provoking an adrenaline spike or chest flutter and shame evoking ‘sour belly’ or overheating. There’s a great exercise for creating a cheat sheet to use in your own work.

Reading is More Than Just Books

I’m always banging on about the importance of encouraging children to love reading in whatever form that takes. If somebody doesn’t enjoy novels, that doesn’t mean they don’t like reading. Magazines, comics, non-fiction, reference guides, poems, illustrated dictionaries, annuals – those can all foster a love of language and stories, too! I’ve always been a big reader of fiction but I also really loved non-fiction as a child and would spend hours poring over my cat care handbooks, unexplained mystery guides and child encyclopaedias. Fiction is no more valid or impressive than non-fiction!

Writing Knowhow on Hard Magic Part 1

Such an interesting article about creating hard magic systems. What sort of limits should you put on your system and what distinguishes hard from soft magic?

Inspirations from the Book shelf: Edward Gorey

I adore Edward Gorey! I wrote an essay on him for my Children’s Literature MA and have all his books on my shelf. I even have a print from The Doubtful Guest on my office well right next to me, and another from The Gashleycrumb Tinies outside my son’s room (even though it’s decidedly macabre). Read this and feel inspired!

How Much do Authors Earn? The Answer No One Likes

Jane gives us the hard truth about making money as a writer. It’s important to be realistic about your publishing goals and make sure you’re doing it for the love of writing rather than a desire to be rich and famous.

Organisation for Writers and World-Builders

Writers’ Digest has some great tips for delving into your fictional world without getting lost.

Siobhan O'Brien Holmes

Siobhan O'Brien Holmes is a developmental editor working with middle grade and YA authors. She specialises in speculative and genre fiction, particularly horror, fantasy, mystery, sci-fi and anything with a dash of magic or macabre. She is a member of the SfEP, EFA, ACES, British Fantasy Society, Horror Writers Association and SCBWI. She has an MA in Novel Writing and an MA in Children's Literature.

All stories by: Siobhan O'Brien Holmes

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