Life Magazine 1966
By Emily Ross
Some writers keep returning to the story they have to tell until they get it right.
When I started my YA novel Half in Love with Death (forthcoming from Merit Press 2016), I’d already abandoned two novels about a young girl who falls in love with a man who may be a murderer. This story drew me irresistibly, but every time I tried to write it I got stuck in the middle. Read More →
By Bonnie Waltch
There’s a lot of discussion online about sex in YA novels: too much of, not enough of, inappropriateness of, negative consequences of, condoning of, etc. etc. Among the critiques I received on the first draft of my YA novel was that I had avoided the subject altogether. It’s true I shied away from my 17-year old protagonist Chloe thinking more than “he’s cute” and sharing an innocent kiss during her first romantic adventure. Chloe’s experience traveling alone in a Latin American country is easy and hassle-free . When she meets not one, but two, guys her passions barely stir. She is living in an unrealistic, sex-less parallel universe. Because of this, my classmates and teacher Michelle pointed out, the book felt more Middle Grade than Young Adult. They stated, rightly so, that even if Chloe doesn’t choose to have sex, sexuality would be palpable all around her — sexual tension, sexual harassment, curiosity about sex, a friend having sex, or pressure to have sex. For a 17-year old, sex cannot be ignored! Read More →
There are many versions of Cinderella. I’m fond of the Brothers Grimm version, which includes severed toes and heels and an army of birds who peck out eyeballs. After long hours of toil and trouble, Cinderella weeps and prays at the tree growing on her mother’s grave three times daily.
Cinderella is the patron saint of writers. Think about it.
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“The Graduate” is a sculpture of WASP Dorothy “Dot” Swain Lewis.
By Lissa Franz
In September 2013 I travelled to Texas to research my novel featuring women flying in World War II. Despite reading nearly every account of The WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) in print, including memoirs and biographies, newspaper clippings, histories of women in general aviation, and corresponding with a former WASP, I still had not visited the WASP museum in Sweetwater, Texas. This is the former Army Air Base where some of my novel takes place. Read More →
By Amber Elias
Life happens. And sometimes life happens in the big middle of your best writerly intentions. A work project explodes and takes all your spare time with it. A family crisis turns you inside out emotionally. Your kid finally makes that traveling hockey team (yay!) and you’re suddenly a rink-side nomad racing around the state (boo!).
When life goes nuts, priorities change. And you may find your novel sliding below other priorities like sleeping, brushing your hair, and pretending that things aren’t really that bad. You may sit down to write, and find that you just can’t. Your focus is elsewhere. Your heart isn’t in it. And every word that does make it out looks like garbage. Read More →
By Kelly Robertson
As I got older, I thought life would get simpler. I’d go to work. I’d come home. I’d read away the hours. In my thirties, I discovered writing (well, rediscovered it after a particularly unhelpful, James Joyce-loving professor told me I couldn’t “paragraph” correctly), and I spent some of that free time working on a novel. Then I got a husband. Then I started to cook. Then I got a house and a dog, then another. I acquired a couple of cats along the way as well, but God bless them, they are so undemanding. Needless to say, my reading time is significantly less than I had thought it would be at this point in my life. Read More →
By Lisa Birk
How Not to Write
I used to keep a book on my shelf to remind myself how not to write. The book, call it Stricken, consisted of a collection of essays on the author’s recent widowhood. She had written it perhaps too soon after her husband’s death. Read More →