Monday, 14 July 2014

YALC at LFCC Sunday 13th July more super condensed 5 point highlights

Let's do this! Once again, sorry I could not quote all individual speakers as I couldn't keep up and this is only my own subjective highlights.
Sunday at YALC was the best for me. Cooler, calmer and the panels even more entertaining.

Only caught last 5 minutes of this one, but had to mention Ben Horslen's words of wisdom about writing terrible first, second and third drafts with creative abandon.
I'm currently first drafting - so needed to hear this, thanks Ben!

Side-note: This panel were laugh out loud funny.
1. Authors now have freedom to write the sex scenes that their 14 year old selves wanted to read.
2. Sex is still taboo for teens but when compared to other taboos e.g. Violence, drug use - it is the only thing you will still be doing as an adult. Sex is a healthy, positive thing - violence is not.
3. Gatekeepers (editors, teachers, librarians, parents) can still censor - but is far better for teens to find out about sex in a YA book than through the internet or porn.
4. There are still taboos. Torture and "alternative holes" were mentioned!
5. LGBT sex scenes are becoming more common which we hope is not a trend as being LGBT is not a trend (Non Pratt).

1. Advice: write what you want to write and let others sell and market it.
2. YA/ Crossover deals with big ideas with a freshness of perspective as everything in the teen years is changing so fast.
3. Idea of many of the classics e.g. Jane Eyre, Oliver Twist, being YA - and Hamlet as the ultimate dithering teenager.
4. Some heated debate sparked by Anthony McGowan (playing the role of bad cop) on whether it was a pathetic fallacy that a novel needed to be long and complex to be worthy. Nick Lake disagreed with criticism of Twilight saying despite flaws, it was a gripping first person narrative.
5. Idea that as a teen you are the most intense version of yourself (Matt Haig) which makes YA enjoyable to write.

1. Teen heroines can challenge the idea a girl needs to be strong and physically tough to be brave. Kick ass girls can be two dimensional (Holly Smale)
2. Teen heroines shouldn't have to be virtuous in order to be likeable. And they don't necessarily even need to be likeable. All shades of femininity represented.
3. We are all only a couple of steps away from making a terrible decision - teen fiction explores the consequences.
4. Better to have a bad review than one that is ambivalent. Sparking debate is positive.
5. Disagreement on whether female authors are taken less seriously.  Female authors can be given different more gender specific covers which is a negative thing.

Thanks for reading.

YALC at LFCC Saturday 12th July 2014 - my super condensed 5 point highlights

I loved YALC. I have notes from YALC.

I attended two panels and a workshop on Saturday and another three panels on Sunday.
23 pages of notes.

I will now condense my weekend down to a snapshot of my 5 favourite points for each panel/workshop - it's tough with such a lot of great content.

This is subjective - I've picked out the parts that chimed with me.

Apologies I haven't quoted individual speakers - I couldn't keep up!


1. Excellent recommendations for classic Dystopia: 1984, Animal Farm, Fahrenheit 451.
2. Typical Dystopias have: A divided society, unexplained and arbitrary rules, duplicitous friends, as sense of the apocalypse.
3. Dystopia reflects genuine fear in society of how we will cope if the worst happens and explores the power of the individual to effect change.
4. On the point of darkness in YA - teens self sensor, they write much darker fiction themselves than they read.
5. No book set in the future is actually about the future, it is about our experiences and wider issues in the here and now.

It was difficult to hear Catherine due to background noise, but the workshop was great all the same.
1. Write what you know, with one eye on the market.
2. Research widely, but only drip feed research in where the story requires.
3. Clothes very important. How they feel to wear.
4. In dialogue avoid archaic constructions. Know your characters and they will speak to you. Use occasional slang for flavour - recommends Jonathon Green Slang through the Ages
5. Maps, places, objects, music, Old Bailey records, museums - all excellent for getting the feel of an era.
(We also took part in some free writing using historical objects as inspiration - I wrote a piece based on a gold tooth I'm calling "Glint" which I may use in my ghost story)

1. YA as a frame of mind - a willingness to unpick your world without knowing if you can put it back together again.
2. YA handles sex and violence more thoughtfully and lends it more weight than adult novels which use it for 'thrills'.
3. The heroes in YA fantasy are light, quick, perceptive with the biggest challenge often the darkness within themselves.
4. Moral questions are explored without preaching. Young readers have a questioning energy and want to be made to think, not given the answers.
5. Villains often have a fixed ideology they are expressing on others. Don't be your own villain by manipulating your reader.

YALC at LFCC 12th - 13th July 2014 Part 1 The YA Bookish Crowd

The first YALC surpassed my expectations in so many ways, but it was the people I met who took it to another level.

I was nervous.  I hadn't written anything for nearly week and I now know it was anxiety that caused this slump.
I'm not a book blogger.
I'm not yet a published author.
I haven't got a deal to talk about.
I had never met any of my twitter friends in person.
I was afraid of this reaction.

I need not have worried because the YA bookish crowd are my people. Open, friendly, unpretentious, and just enthused to talk about books.

Everyone I'd chatted to on twitter is even better in real life. And I had so many lovely chats with published authors, I now feel like my anxieties about how I'm doing with my writing have dropped to zero. I can go back to enjoying the moment - polishing my novel until is it glossy enough to meet some editors.

My network of support has moved off the screen and into reality due to this fabulous opportunity for a very special crowd of like-minded people to meet.
Can't wait for next year. Might even cosplay...