Tag Archives: fantasy writers

A Book a Day, Je suis désolé – Contest Day 5

Today’s books are YA books, in honor of today being my daughter’s last day of high school (cue sombre music segueing to happy dance music). I have ARCs of Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick, by Joe Schreiber and Daughter of Smoke & Bone, by Laini Taylor. The first involves a prom, a trained assassin, teen angst and a beautiful girl. The second involves forbidden love, winged strangers, human teeth, teen angst and an epic battle. Theme today: angst.

My computer dictionary says that angst means: a feeling of deep anxiety or dread, typically an unfocused one about the human condition or the state of the world in general. Angst is the ocean in which I swim. It is the wind beneath my tattered wings. It salts my soup and butters my bread. In this regard I fear I will be forever 17. I usually register as an 11 on the angstometer.

How about you? Are you like me? Do you worry about the future of our species, whether we have souls or are just thinking meat machines, if it matters about the polar ice caps? What do you dread?

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it may be dreadful to be old but it’s worse not to be young

I sat in the audience of the BEA Middle Grade Author Buzz today, listening to three authors discuss their upcoming books. They fielded questions about where they got their ideas, how many drafts they usually wrote, how they felt about being labeled fantasy writers, writing to boys versus girls. All three were pleasant and articulate and I was happy to grab the advanced reading copies of their work, which I will devour as soon as I can. I happen to love Middle Grade books. There’s something so lovely about pre-pubescent stories, the absence of all that smelly, hormonal angst that YA books are steeped in (although I love YA books, too).

I wanted to ask a question, but I couldn’t quite put together a coherent enough sentence, even in my own mind. What did I want to know? It was something about voice, about writing the characters, about capturing the essence of an 8 to 12 year old, and getting it to ring true on paper. How do they do that? It’s not about writing a story and then dumbing down the language or vocabulary. At least these authors hadn’t.

After the panel discussion was over I kind of slunk up to one of the writers and sort of fumbled around with a half assed question. He was so kind and generous and somehow extracted what it was I wanted to know. He said, “I write to my 11 year old self. I write characters I would have wanted to read about or know when I was that age.” I love that. I can get that. That just seemed like such an authentic way to go about it.

All afternoon I’ve been trying to remember who I was when I was 8, 9, 10 years old. What books did I read and love when I was 12? How about you? Who were you? What did you read?

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