YA Wednesday: How to Reality-Check Your YA Manuscript, What Agents Want to See, and Big Deals for Little Books

i+wished+more+than+anything+in+the+world+to+be+a+writerYou finally finished writing your YA book! You’ve polished and repolished your manuscript until it positively shines. Now what? If you’re like me, you continue to tweak and revise while sending it out to agents, collecting those rejection slips, sighing, revising, and sending out another batch. Even with a writing group or class, there are only so many times you can get fresh eyes on your pages. So how do you get a reality check to make sure your story’s really working? How to make sure you’ve got those “must-have” YA elements in your manuscript? Here are some links to help pave the way.

• Every time I get a rejection, I wonder how I could improve my first five pages to really grab an agent’s attention. What are they looking for? Character? Voice? Pacing? Each agent, of course, has a slightly different take on what works for them. To get some insight, the First Five Frenzy provides an extensive list of agents, many of them YA, with links to interviews about what, exactly, they’re looking for to hook a reader from page one.

• Once you’ve got that all-important beginning squared away it’s time to turn to the rest of the book. Now Novel offers 10 useful YA tips to keep in mind as you’re writing and revising your YA novel.

• YA protagonists yearn, pine, burn, and sear, so don’t forget to crank up that emotional intensity! On PubHub, you’ll find Secrets to Writing for Kids: Hiking Up the Emotional Intensity to help you along that roller coaster journey.

• Still stuck? Take advice from a top YA agent. Using samples from successful YA novels, Laura Rennert, from the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, demonstrates how to give your novel a strong story narrative in Big Deals for Little Books

• You’ve finally made it and your YA novel is about to be published. Congratulations! Francesca Zappia, author of Made You Up (Greenwillow Books) shares 7 Things I’ve Learned So Far along the way, from writing to publishing her debut novel.

Happy polishing and good luck!

4 comments

  1. Great post! I would like to add one more excellent resource for querying writers: The blog Adventures in YA Publishing sponsors a FREE online workshop EVERY MONTH, called “The First Five Pages Workshop.” Published authors, editors, and agents serve as guest mentors, and other participants comment we well. Three rounds of revision. It’s an intense and effective ways to get fresh feedback, and a number of participants have landed agents with pages they worshopped there. (Disclaimer – I don’t work for them but served as a guest mentor once, and was very impressed by this well-run workshop!) (Did I mention free??) http://www.1st5pageswritingworkshop.com

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