Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Changing Directions

Do you want to know how to kill a genre for yourself? Read three hundred books in it. I kid you not, I clocked in at over three hundred books this year and most of them were YA. Sure, I can blame health problems for having way too much time on my hands. But the truth is that I love a good book and I’m more than happy to read one. Which is why when I decided to get serious about getting published I started reading YA like crazy. They’re fast, they’re fun, and they matched what I was trying to write. Over the course of three years I averaged 16 a month. That’s a lot of books.

I learned a lot about YA in specific and books in general. My writing got a thousand times better. But there is no way I could have read that many books in the same genre and not see the problems. More then that, there’s no way I could read that many books in the same genre and not seen how my style just doesn’t fit.

I looked like I belonged in YA because the three books I’d finished had all been written in my teens. My sensibilities and style were young because I was young. It wasn’t a preference but a default. While I still think YA is awesome, I’ve come to recognize it’s just not the place for me right now. The book I’m working on right now is adult. This doesn’t mean I’m planning on leaving YA forever. I just don’t think it’s right for me now.

This wasn’t an easy transition. Even though I’ve known for a while that YA wasn’t working for me I couldn’t give it up. Part of it was that I’ve spent so much time working on it. Another part was stubbornness. I want to believe that I can do anything I set my mind too. If that means squeezing my style into a genre that it doesn’t really fit then I was going to do it. Except that means working three times as hard for the same thing. Lastly I've built an online community for myself centered around how awesome YA is and I really don't want to leave it.

Even I can get a clue. I’m no longer volunteering with teens like I used to in my real life. Other things have meant that I needed to grow up a lot. So it looks like that for both real life and fictional life I’ll be making some changes.

1 comment:

  1. My first book was YA. My second was YA (or so I claimed, but really it was straddling the line between MG and YA). My third was a children's chapter book. My fourth was MG. My fifth was YA. My next will be MG. I guess what I'm saying is - putting yourself in a box doesn't do anyone any favors. Write the book you want, in the way you want and the rest will follow. I don't plan on only writing one type of book. Most authors I know don't. Write what makes you happy :)