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.
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)
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.