Come Out of the Dark

Researching Song of the Day: “Into the Light” by Papa Roach

Good Morning, peeps! It’s the start of a new week (we have 5 weeks left in this school year- woo hoo!) and we want to start this week off with some light information.

In the recent issue of The Writer magazine (June 2011) there was an article that caught my eye. There are never many articles on YA in The Writer mag, so when I came across the article “9 Inside Tips On Writing for YA” written by Joyce Doyle, a freelance writer, and young adult writer and librarian, I KNEW some of this info needed to be shared with you all.

As mentioned there are 9 tips, but let’s focus on one shall we?

This tip is something we’ve been hearing a lot from teens and adult readers of YA. The tip is: Have fun with it! Yes teens are emotional and full of anger, sorrow, and dismay–but they also have some good times in those 6 or so years of teenage angst. Therefore, we need to focus on lighter issues and “themes” in novels for teens.

Reference this interview from me and Pam’s oh-so angsty and emo niece, Tee Tee (courtesy of Paper Hangover). Now consider this–this girl can often be found with her head buried in a book and a black hood hanging over her eyes. That tells you something, right?

And reference this post from Pam. She talks about how she’s stepping away from the darker, heavier, dramatic plots for her new WIP. Yes, she has some heavy issues in the novel, but she is focusing on the lighter side of drama. We know that with being a teen comes great dramatics, but even so we as writers can make those dramatics seem a little lighter, don’t ya think?

Moral of the story? Let’s get some light in here people!

Here are a few light books that you can read to get those juices flowing for your own light and fun new WIP idea 🙂



Can you think o
f a book we left off the list? How do you feel about lighter books for teens?

In The Mind of Book Editors

Researching Song of the Day: “How Do You Want It” Tupac ft. K-Ci and JoJo (check it it out on our Rock With Us tab)

Are you trying to choose between two or three shiny new ideas? Or maybe you aren’t sure what you want to write about at all yet. If so, then hopefully this post will help you out. In a recent issue of the Writer magazine, a group of book editors got together to let us know what they want. The editors range from people at Hyperion who have worked with Cecily von Ziegesar and Dean Koontz, to people at Atria (an imprint of Simon & Schuster) who worked with Jodi Picoult (one of Pam’s faves!).

We often do our own research on what the literary world is looking for next and we see many of the same answers presented in the article. In order to make this an easier read for our lovely readers, we decided to summarize the editors’ responses by categories- non-fiction and fiction.

Here is what the non-fiction editors had to say:

What’s hot now: Books about dogs and blogs…Sh– My Dog Says anyone??? (Brenda, Copeland from Hyperion), celebrity memoirs, and humorous personal essays.

What is fading: Practical self-help, books by “celebutards” (Julie Grau, Spiegel & Grau)

How can writers gain an edge: Easy- they all say write the best manuscript you can…duh!

Here is what the fiction editors had to say (yes, I know this is what you really came here to read!)

What’s hot right now: Vampires, still…the Stieg Larson types of books, novels set outside the US, but most agree that you should not follow any trends.

What’s fading: Some of them hope that something will eventually replace vampires and zombies (We don’t know about this, we’re kinda feeling the zombies 😉 ); some feel that answer is best left to fashion magazine editors!

How can writers gain an edge: Put forward fresh ideas, have a polished manuscript, edit the mess out of said manuscript, be willing to promote yourself (online presence etc.), and of course the # 1 response was GET. AN. AGENT.

There you have it, six pages of an article whittled down to this (hopefully helpful) post. Have you read anything recently that you would like to add? Who are some editors that you’ve had your eye on? They just might have been in this article and I can tell you specifically what they want. 🙂

Squeezing in Time!

Writing Song of the Day: “Remember the Time” by Michael Jackson (check it out on the Rock With Us tab)

In the spirit of NaNoWriMo (which Pam and I are KILLING right now–both of our word count stands at a little over 31K) we wanted to share some tips from the most recent Writer magazine. You know how you always have so much stuff to do? Like, I don’t know… live a life and work a 9-5.

So when do you make time to write?


It’s one of the age old questions that you see on a lot of writing blogs, we hope to offer something that you will make you go, “Aha! That’s the advice I’ve been looking for!” From the article written by Cheryl Bolen (author of 9 historical novels) here are few tips on how to make time to write:

Write every day: Easier said than done…I know. But since we started doing NaNo we realized that it’s not that hard to write a few words each day. If you can’t get to a laptop, then carry around a journal or a small pad and jot down your thoughts.

Set daily and weekly goals: Write down a word count goal or even a page count goal for each day or each week. This way you give yourself something to work toward.

Decide how badly you want it, and lose the time wasters: If you WANT to write or if your goal is to be a writer then you NEED to set aside the time to successfuly do so.

Declutter your life: Eliminate things that compete with your writing (this inclues watching TV- CURSES!!)

Use writing time wisely: Don’t use writing time as editing or revision time. If you are the type of writer that needs/uses outlines– try to finish the entire outline before writing the novel. Even if it changes as you go, at least you have a blueprint.

And finally, if you are writing any kind of research heavy project- don’t waste writing time on the research: Just go with the flow and research when it’s time for revisions.

Now you have our two cents on the topic. Besides what’s mentioned here– what else do you do to make time for writing?

**BTW- don’t forget about our NaNo titling contest. You have until Wednesday at midnight to enter!**

Free Friday: What Agents Want

Writing song of the day: “Make Me Wanna Die” by The Pretty Reckless on the Kickass Soundtrack (listen to it on our playlist!)

Hey, aces! Welcome to our first Free Friday! This is where we will pull up random stuff and try to make it as helpful as possible. What we’ve picked out for today’s post should do just that. When I got my subscription to the Writer magazine, they gave me a free Guide to Getting Published to go along with it. I wanted to share an article with you that discusses what agents are looking for, what turns them off, and what you can do to get that agent ASAP! The articles was written by Brian Hill and Dee Power and they surveyed 60 un-named agents with questions that all of us writers are dying to know the answer to. What you waiting for, read and take notes!

  • What is the most critical mistake writers make when approaching literary agents for representation?
  • Poor writing or poorly prepared contact (query) letter- since there are books like Making the Perfect Pitch by agent Katherine Sands, literary agents don’t understand why writers still can’t write a good query letter.
  • Inappropriate subject or genre for that agent- do your research and see what that agent is looking for!
  • Author hype, ego, arrogance- agents think that creative people have big egos; don’t oversell.
  • Ignorance about the publishing process- be able to articulate the market for your book. Ask yourself who is going to buy my book and why? And be ready to give this information to the agent.
  • Where do agents find clients?
  • 39 % referral from one of their other clients
  • 33% direct contact by the writer
  • 9 % referral from editors or publishers
  • 8% referral from another author no their clients
  • 5% referrals from other agents
  • 3 % attendance at writers conferences
  • 3 % other
  • What is the most common reason you decline to represent a writer?
  • 60 % poor writing
  • 17 % book was outside agent’s genre
  • 10 % agent’s client base was full
  • 8 % writer’s work and agent don’t click
  • 5 % other

  • What do agents look for in a potential author? A few agents spill their guts in the Writer magazine:

What does this teach us? Not to be ego-centric or poor writers, we need get in good with current clients of the agent that we want, speak up when you’re at a conference (you can be part of that
3 % that gets an agent from a writer’s conference), and to make sure you write a good query letter for an agent that is looking for that material. Okay, are you ready? Go find that agent…or you may want to tune into our blog on Thursday’s to get some more tips on the road to publication. Either way, remember these words that came straight from some 60 agents’ mouths!