Write a YA Novel in 9 Months: Tips from the masters

As I near the end of my Write a YA Novel in 9 Months class led by authors Jonathan Maberry and Marie Lamba, I thought I’d share you with what I’ve learned along the way. I’ve met a great bunch of writers across genres in this class and I am happy to report I finished my book in 7 months!

Here is part 1 of techniques and tips I’ve learned
on writing for the YA or MG market.

Getting started. Before you write…

Recent trends in writing for YA/MG audience
MG horror is hot now, especially 2-4 books deals in a series running about 40K words each. Think Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book or R.L. Stein books.
Books are released in e-book first, then if good show doing a print run.
YA e-anthologies are hot! Allows kids to read a story in class and review real time vs. a novel. (Adult anthologies more for small press). Check out Campfire Weenies tales on this.
Pitching is on now year round to agents,  no usual slow times in August and after Thanksgiving. Agents continue to seek next best book.

Genres (YA = Young Adult MG = Middle Grade)
Remember kids ‘read up’
Younger YA – 12-15
Older YA – 15 -17
MG – 8-12

Outline your book
Write a chapter outline with bullet points for each chapter.
Create doc for revision notes so you can fast draft without stopping to edit.
Write a preliminary synopsis of 1-3 pages of prose, single spaced. This is where you talk yourself through the plot. This isn’t the finished synopsis so don’t worry, just for plotting purposes.
Write book logline, that 1 sentence pitch.
TIP: Write 1st and last chapter first. Write to the end of the book so you know direction to go in.

Promo copy
Write back book jacket. Review similar books to get an idea.
Write 1 paragraph description of possible next 2 books in the series.
Create submission list (sub list) of a dozen books that are similar to yours. This is where your book would fit on a bookshelf. Books must be recent successes and in print and in age range to your book. Check out LibraryThing for authors in your genre where you can search by genre/sub genres.

Critique Partner
Find a partner who writes similar to you and once you’ve written the first 25 pages, swap out with each other

Resources:
Check out verlakay.com message boards, a place for children’s writers and illustrators to gather and share information, help each other and have fun while learning the business of writing and illustrating for children.
Books – Rotten Rejections, 20 Master Plots and Exercises, Writing Treatments that Sell.

Now start writing!

More tips to write a YA novel from the masters Part 2

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8 Comments

Filed under Writing Techniques, Young Adult

8 responses to “Write a YA Novel in 9 Months: Tips from the masters

  1. Haha–you’re lucky you like horror! Sounds like a great class.

  2. Kathryn, I know – right? My MG is actually more adventure with a twist of fantasy. But am thinking about a good ghost story! It is a really great class. I’ve learned so much to apply to craft and absorbed tons of business advice.

  3. Great post, Donna. Sounds like the class was a big help. Congratulations on finishing the book!

    • Judy, thanks so much. Yes, I am eager to take the adult novel version class in the spring to work on my psych suspense novel. A great way to get to know new writing peers, get support, learn from established authors and keep motivated. Maybe will see you in one? 😉

  4. I love this post. Great information. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  5. Pingback: Top Picks Thursday 11/10/2011 « The Author Chronicles

  6. Pingback: More tips from the masters: On POV, character & vocabulary | Donna Galanti, Author

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