Congratulations to longtime Book Country member Atthys Gage! His debut YA novel, SPARK, was originally workshopped on Book Country, and came out today from Lycaon Press.
Lucy Silag: Tell us about your first “spark” of the idea for SPARK. How did that idea grow and change over time and drafts?
Atthys Gage: It’s hard for me to pinpoint, but there is a persistent image that I associate with SPARK: someone is walking past a vacant lot; there are a couple of homeless types standing around a big metal drum, warming themselves on the scrap-wood fire lit within; sparks fly upward. The only thing is, that scene doesn’t appear in the book and never did in any version. It is, apparently, a sort of catalyst scene. Like an enzyme, it allowed the process of writing the book to take place but wasn’t consumed in the process.
LS: What has surprised you most about the experience of taking your book from an idea to a finished product?
AG: I was struck by how my own feelings changed as we neared the end. At first I was willing to fight for every little thing. Or, if not fight, then endlessly agonize over how to fix something that wasn’t quite right. By the end, I was more likely to just eliminate the problematic passage with a sweep of the blue pencil. It’s almost as though the book itself was so ready to be done and out in the world that it began resisting my efforts to fix it anymore. I’d reach out to straighten a clause or rub out a questionable comma, and it would slap my hand away like a moody teenager. Just leave it alone! Go away! I honestly think the poor thing was tired of all the attention. Continue reading →
Alys Arden is a Book Country writer from New Orleans. We first came across Alys’s young adult paranormal novel-in-progress THE CASQUETTE GIRLS a few months ago, and it was the first book Lucy reviewed when she joined us in July! We wanted to catch up with Alys and learn more about the inspiration behind her young adult book.
NG: Thank you for joining us. How did you become a writer?
AA: I made a 2012 New Year’s resolution, never thinking that anything would come of it other than a bunch on fancy to-do lists. But once I started writing, it kind of became an addiction, like going to the gym can be if you can just manage the pain of the first couple of weeks.
One of the biggest additions to the Book Country Genre Map is Young Adult Fiction, on the east side of the map. If writing Young Adult Fiction interests you, by all means, explore it!
Young Adult is a genre rich with innovation, and by reading and reflecting on recently published Young Adult titles, we can learn a lot about good writing of any genre.
Over the next two weeks, I’m going to be sharing some approaches to writing Young Adult Fiction, especially Young Adult Contemporary. To go along with the Genre Map metaphor, I’m calling these suggestions “guideposts.” They aren’t rules. Instead, I’m imagining myself coming upon various crossroads in my Young Adult writing, and needing to make choices about the path I want to take through this area of the Genre Map. The guideposts are there to—you guessed it—guide those choices, with the ultimate goal of writing my best Young Adult Contemporary book.
Here’s the first:
Young Adult Contemporary Guidepost #1: How contemporary is contemporary?
Welcome to Book Country, Young Adult fiction writers!
We wanted to expand Book Country to include young adult writers. There are quite a few of you on the site already – and we love your work – and wanted to give you a place to connect with each other and workshop your books.
Young adult books are oftentimes emotionally wrenching journeys for the reader. The protagonist straddles the divide between childhood and adulthood, gingerly making his or her way into the world.
Young adult books help teens weather that transition, but they also let adults revisit the stormy, exciting time of their high school years. These stories are not watered down versions of adult books but stand on their own as works of adventure and art.
Young adult writers, this flag is the banner under which you can gather your troops and spread your writerly wings on Book Country. Upload your book on Book Country now.