Sunday, January 20, 2013

Writers Worth Admiring

Reading YA writers’ blogs makes me feel like, in the tiniest, most infinitesimal way, I know them. I already adore so many for their work and their blogs give me even more reason to sing their praises. Over the past months, I’ve discovered some awesome posts written by some awesome authors that make them even more—you guessed it—awesome.

   In this long but entirely worth it post, Maureen addresses the increasingly prevalent thought that teenage boys are starving for something to read that wasn’t written by women. It’s true that more YA books are penned by women than men, but Maureen dives into history and her own experience to share this sentiment:

“For several millennia, women read the works of men. Millenia... Every once in a while we see a burst of staggering genius in the person of, say, an Emily Dickinson. Or maybe a Jane Austen, who covered up her work as she wrote. Then we see a huge break in the early 20th century, a flux of brilliant women.”

Maureen and I are just two more women who grew up reading the works of men. We both turned out okay. Therefore, is there any harm in boys reading books written by women? Personally, I think they can handle it. They can read John Green and Scott Westerfeld, but also Cassandra Clare and even Judy Blume. They may enjoy it. They may even learn something!
Maureen sums it up nicely: “…as a lover of books and someone who supports readers and writers of both sexes, I object to the idea that there is a crisis in terms of boy books. And maybe we should do boys the favor we girls received—a reading diet featuring books by and about the opposite sex. Clearly, it must work.”

   This giveaway has since closed, but when I saw the post, I was in awe. Beth Revis spent many months collecting signed books from events that she attended. In early 2012, she made a resolution to only do events with other authors, and at those events, she would buy books by her fellow authors and have them signed. Then she offered the whole library, almost fifty books, to a fan. The books were series and stand-alones; they were ones by well-known YA writers and by debut authors. Beth took time, spent money (don’t forget about the shipping cost!) and really made an effort. The sight of that luscious giveaway surely sent hundreds of fans into squeals and screams.

   This is a short post, but it is one of honesty and self-awareness. Veronica explains that she closed her blog comments and Tumblr ask box for her own well-being. Not because she doesn’t like hearing from fans (as she still asks fans to e-mail her if they'd like) but because she needs to concentrate on writing and overcome anxiety issues. I fully support this effort, as I admire an author that can look in the mirror and say: “This, I can’t handle,” for whatever reason. She’s doing what is best for her and she’s honest to her followers and fans about it. I wish her the best, especially since I’m so excited and on-edge for the third book in the Divergent series (coming this fall)!

   When writers share their craft, it is an amazing thing. Recently, I was browsing Laini’s blog and came upon this gem of a post, which outlines how to write a novel in twenty steps. It’s fun and quirky yet still full of real ideas and inspiration for an eager writer such as myself. Daydreaming and brainstorming are required, and figuring out a writing routine will help. Plus, Laini is fully aware that steps 6-8 and 10-12 (WRITE) are the most difficult: 

"Yes, I know it's steps 6-8 and 10-12 that are the hard part, but the thing is, there's really nothing else for it but to just do it, even if it's hard and even if you're sure it's horrible as you're doing it. This is a place where reading how-to books can't really help you, so don't take a break from steps 6-8 and 10-12 to read Bird by Bird AGAIN and drink wine. It's like with weight loss: whatever advertising might tell you to get you to buy a product, there's really only one thing that works -- healthy eating and exercise. With writing a book it's -- sitting down and writing."

Right now, I’m somewhere around Step 11 with my WIP, but I can’t wait for Step 19, where I get to pour champagne over my head.

   Nova has one of the best blogs that I’ve discovered for an aspiring writer and YA lover. Distraction 99 is a great writer’s resource as well as a glimpse into Nova’s writing life. Her Turning Points series is an exploration of author’s writing lives and the turning points that made them who they are. Authors like Claire Legrand, Beth Revis (see above), Andrea Cremer, Gayle Forman and dozens more answer this question:  What was your turning point as a writer? The posts are inspiring and aspiring. They are bold, truthful and a great resource for all writers who are struggling toward their turning point. Nova Ren Suma’s other blog series include: Writer-on-Writer Interviews, YA Debuts, ‘What Scares You?’ and ‘What Inspires You?’ which are all worth a read as well.

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