Saturday, August 27, 2011


Hey all,

The YA Lit Six team is taking a break as school starts again and some of our members fix their internet. We hope to be back by October! In the meanwhile, check out our own blogs:

When we come back we will be scouting for some new members, so if you're interested in joining the team, stay tuned for more information!

~the team

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Setting. There's a word we've all heard before. If you're me, you've heard it since "writing workshop" in first grade. Every story need s a setting. A setting is where everything happens! A setting can be a city or a park or even Disney World!

Okay, so now that we (hopefully) have the basics of setting down, how do we deal with specifics? Especially if you are creating a new place? My current story takes place in a small, mostly rural town in a real area but with fabricated streets and shops. As I write I've found it's hard to keep names straight--street names, especially. (Also, I tend to keep naming streets after trees, with various versions of "street" -- ave, lane, boulevard -- stuck on the end. What's with that?)

Therefore, I've been considering a map. A visual reference of my tree-streets and houses and school and shops. I'm a visual person, so at first this makes total sense to me. However, the major flaw: I'd get too into it.

After what I'm positive would end up being hours of diagramming and naming, I'd be so excited about my creation I'd feel the need to dedicate paragraphs of my novel to directions and description. Directions and description that would probably be unnecessary to anyone but me, not make it to the final round of revisions, and then be an incredible waste of time.

My question is, is it worth the time wasted to have a clearer view of my setting? Or is a hazy mental image and snappier writing the better option?


Tuesday, August 9, 2011


So one of the biggest problems with eBooks is the fact that, should you read a book and love it and practically inhale the words and know you'll cherish and adore them til the end of time, and then happen to meet the author...the author can't sign your book.

Except it seems like that might be changing as well.

Enter Kindlegraph. Something I discovered, oh, this morning, and I'm already insanely confused and fascinated. With Kindlegraph, you can use your twitter account to request an author's signature for one of their books, and blammo, receive a new document on your Kindle with the author's signature and inscription...

Okay, so I'm giving it a shot. Kindlegraph, that is. I made a page-- you can request signatures for each of my two novels (and my short story). Give it a try, and let us know what you think!

Thoughts? Are Kindlegraphs an acceptable replacement for ink-and-paper signatures?


Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Sorry I didn't post yesterday. Summer has me forgetting the days of the week. (Maybe I should've enrolled in AP Calendar Studies?)

Anyway, I wanted to talk about dreams. Fictional dreams, that is. Because, let's face it, most stories have a dream scene somewhere. And, let's face it, they can be pretty great--or pretty not-great.

Let's start with the not-great. The reason I most often hate dream scenes is because that particular dream scene has been done over. And over. And over. For example, school-in-underwear. The scene: A high school girl/guy appears in class, in his/her underwear, in front of--gasp!--his/her crush. ...What's the big realization here? Yeah, that it's embarassing to be at school in one's underwear. Thanks. Got it. Another overdone dream is the let-me-point-out-how-hot-the-love-interest-is dream. Scene: girl (usually a girl) encounters the guy (usually a guy) who she vehemently denies any attraction to during waking hours. Yet,
behold! In the dream she notices his perfectly tousled hair, seductive smile, sexy arms, et cetera, et cetera. The big realization? He's hot. And we've probably already heard that.

What makes a dream scene worthwhile? I'd have to say avoiding the cliche. If the underwear dream is included, having some specific insecurity about underwear (other than the one where, you know, it's underwear) fuel the fear in the dream, or maybe not having clothes is a metaphor for something other than I hate being embarrassed, the dream could be useful. Maybe even funny! Funny is another good thing to include in dreams. Humor almost always makes something unique and worthwhile.

Or, consider making the dream scenes make no sense. At all. Because really, when do dreams in the real world make sense? If they're more than five seconds long, the answer is usually "uh, never."

What are your thoughts? Are dream scenes worthwhile? What makes them great/not-great?