Thursday, March 17, 2011

Comfort and the Reader

I have been contemplating the power of well written genre fiction. 
It can comfort, challenge or make sense of the world. At different times I find myself reaching for my old book friends because I need their comfort or challenges to help me process what is going on in my life. None of the books I reach for are Adult Lit Fic.  My comfort/challenge books span across the genres with the exception of Horror. I have never seen the need to frighten myself to know that I am alive.

Children’s books are seen as a genre but within them they span the whole genre range... mystery, adventure, science fiction, romance, historical, fantasy, horror.  There are exceptionally well written books in all these genres within Children’s Writing.

From Ingrid Laws mid grade Savvy and Scumble (just brilliant writing) through to Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series* (the power of the storytelling) and these are only two examples that spring to mind immediately. In another hour I could have two different ones...(the whole list of NZ Children’s Book Finalists...and some that didn’t make it.)

If you want to write children’s fiction you must read children’s fiction. You must seek out the best...the most current...the books being published by the editors you want to work with...the books you hear about through the grapevine...the ones that booksellers try to hand sell you... the books that librarians recommend....

Kate Hart has taken a look at the last 12 months of Publishing Deals in YA to see if there are any genre trends to take note of. Of course I can hear you all saying paranormal but Kate has discovered differently.... Hot off the press to add to these numbers...The funny and talented Tahereh Mafi has signed a wopping deal for her Y A dystopian trilogy including 13 foreign rights and a film. Yup couldn’t happen to a nicer blogger. (first book too)

Victoria Mixon has delivered a brilliant guest blog on Storyfix this week on the differences between the Amateur and the Professional writer...and no it is not about whether they have been published...(Some of the literary lions could do with reading this.)

As you research good writing you should be researching agents. Janet Reid has written a plea to writers to do this and save everyone some grief. (Read the comments too for some good tips)

Mary Kole of has added a new blog to her bow (ok really mixing the metaphors here.) Kidlitapps is dedicated to looking at digital publishing content for...Kids. And this week she has a focussed her attention on what should be in an App and what should not be...This Is A Must Read! (Yes, even for sceptics out there.)

James Scott Bell has decided to Epublish. This is big news. Epublishing was (stupidly) seen as only for those who couldn’t get a book when established authors turn to epublishing you need to take another look at this. Randy at Advanced Fiction Writing asked James why and got some interesting answers.

Over on Craicerplus (My Amplify Page) I have links to articles on

Harpers ebook Lending Policy Gets Trashed...(librarians revolt)

Why Book Design And Editing Matter (print or web)

Sci Fi Author declares War On Lit Fic....(yeah!)

Important News For Authors With FB Fan Pages (it’s change time on Facebook)

Linking Cover Pics To Shopping Carts (for when you sell your own books)

Alicia Gross has been interviewed on the website about being a rebel rule breaker. This is a great interview and she finishes with this.

The book you should write, should be the book that you want to read. It shouldn't really be like any other book out there. It should be your own, unique thing. This is where being a rebel comes in really handy. Instead of being an imitator, write a book that a few years from now everyone else will be trying to imitate.

It is St Patricks day so I leave you with a feel good video featuring Irish Dancing as you have never seen it before. Simon Cowell the judge commented at the end that making the audience feel good is the goal of entertainment. This is especially true with great books. 
That is why we write, to make the reader feel good about reading our story.



* Cassandra Clare is touring New Zealand soon. Her fifth book in the Mortal Instruments Series will be out next month. If you haven’t read any... DO!   

pic is from brilliant bookcases


TK Roxborogh said...

I feel so guilty, Maureen. Apparently, you're way cooler when heaps of people comment on ones blog cos that shows how 'popular' you are.

(mind you, very few people comment on Beattie's blog and we all know how much traffic he gets!)

Anyway, just wanted to say that I adore your blog but rarely comment so I'm commenting for the sake of commenting to let you know that you and Beattie's Book Blog are my go to first sources for my students (you post more useful writery stuff than the bookman - no offense Graham).

I want to publicly thank you for all the wonderful links and contemplations I've enjoyed these past couple of years.

Here's a challenge though: next book??? When shall we see some more of what we loved about 'Bones'?

Maureen said...

Hi Tania,
Thanks for taking the time in your mega busy life to comment.
I am guilty of not commenting on blogs unless I have something to say to add to the ongoing conversation...and I figure my readers are the same...There is the Kiwi psyce too. We are the strong dark silent types that stand in the corners watching everyone else. God forbid that we would tell anyone they were doing a good job...So I really appreciate what you have written.

Speaking as a teacher myself I am proud to be a trusted resource in the classroom and I do keep this in the back of my mind if I come across anything I think may be useful for you...that goes for a few other people too.

Next book huh...well I have been crossing my fingers all week for a MS that left home a while ago. (acquisition meeting this week)

Meanwhile I have been trying to finish Mars Book but have put it aside as I think I killed off a main character and I have to deal with where this will take me...(you know what I mean...)and I am revisiting what I think is a midgrade novel but everyone who has read it is saying YA....
(Can't we have a little dark in mid grade? After all JK Rowling started with a double murder...Neil Gaiman killed off a whole family on page one of the Graveyard book...)


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