Thursday, June 9, 2011

Writing Life On The Edge...

It’s been a funny old week in the writing blogosphere. 

The Wall Street Journal piece on the darkness of YA Fiction spurred a huge twitter backlash (#YAsaves) that had it in the top three trending topics inside of an hour. Among the authors singled out in the WSJ article was Judy Blume who was surprised to find that her books were considered too dark to read. Judy linked to a Blog post by a young writer about why she reads YA Fiction. 
Today Maureen Johnson wrote an article for the Guardian looking at the response and how YA Authors feel about the WSJ reviewers comments.

If you write or read YA Fiction have a look at each side. I think there are valid points for each argument. 
Yes there is a lot of violence, gore, death and illegal behaviour in some YA Books. 
Writing about it and the consequences of it can give a safe mirror for a teen that may have to deal with some of these issues in real life. 
Reading these books does not automatically send a teen out to commit mayhem. 

The increasingly younger age group who are picking up Young Adult books, because they want to appear older, are the real problem I feel. I had a serious freak out moment when I heard an 8 year old was reading Twilight at my daughters school. As a teacher, a parent and a children’s writer that made my hair stand on end. (that’s my 50c worth)

Young Adult writing will always be controversial and edgy and the writers and readers wouldn’t have it any other way. (Banning a book is great for sales.)

Writers for Younger children are much safer? Not so. The seventh UK Children’s Laureate was announced yesterday and immediately there were negative comments about the author.

Julia Donaldson has written more than 150 books for children. She is a standout writer and an awesome campaigner for the continuing existence of public and school libraries. However judging by the comments following the Guardian article announcing her appointment...there are a few people out there who think her classic The Gruffalo teaches children that it is ok to lie and they argue she plagiarized Maurice Sendak. Some days you wonder about the parents of your readers...

Also in the news this week how small chain bookshops are repurposing themselves in the current climate...What experiences can they bring to the customer that Amazon can’t...and how Pop Up book stores are working in the US....(Pop Up means short term in an empty space.)

Over in the Craft section there are three excellent links for you on Editing.

Grub Daily has a great post on line editing...with some great examples from old pulp fiction. I have a serious collection of old pulp fiction myself, this is an excellent way to sharpen your editing skills while reading it.

Beth Hill of The Editors Blog has a great (and comprehensive) checklist for editors and writers on big picture editing. This is one to bookmark!

The editors at Edittorrent have a great blog post on openings that annoy...If you are wondering about your killer opening go on over and check out what they have to say.

On Craicerplus (my Amplify Page) I have a link to an article on

Author Agent Speed Dating Service...(one author who wants to make things easier for all of us....)

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter you will have seen a lot of interesting articles, just for those communities, that I have passed on this week.

To Finish,

Writer Unboxed interviewed Nathan Bransford about why he left Agenting, his new midgrade book coming out and other interesting stuff. Nathan has one of the most popular blogs out in the writing blogosphere and he is always an insightful commentator. 

And I’ll leave you with a video from Cory Doctorow –Every Pirate Wants To Be An Admiral...Why he lives life on the edge...


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