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Showing posts from January, 2012

Andi Black: Grad School is Actually Fight Club

The first semester of grad school is a lot Like Fight Club. No one wants to talk about it, and you can expect to get the ever-loving crap beaten out of you on a regular basis. But you know it’s making you stronger, or at least that’s what you tell yourself while you lick your wounds. Before I started Graduate School, everyone told me to be ready to work harder than I have ever worked before. I nodded and diligently read everything I could get my hands on about how to survive grad school. As soon as one of my professors e-mailed out the syllabus I ordered all the books and read them. Twice. I was going to be prepared. I was prepared. I was ready. When I walked in to my first class of the graduate program, I realized, I don’t have a clue what I am in for. The reading I had done over the summer flew out of the window and I was staring at these texts like I had never seen them before. You want me to tell you what a pantoum is? Uh… it’s the raft that goes down a river right? I was to

Reviews: Montmorency

Title: Montmorency: thief, liar, gentleman? Author: Elanor Updale Genre: YA historical/crime/spy fiction Summary: After three years in prison as a medical experiment, Prisoner 493 has a reconstructed body, a new name, a new double identity, and a new idea to get rich. Using the London sewer system, Scarper perpetrates ingenius burglaries while his alter ego, the aristocratic Montmorency, uses the sales from his stolen goods to live the high life. Montmorency/Scarper is his own accomplice. But it's a risky business, and one that Montmorency knows he can't keep up forever. Sooner or later, as this not-so-common criminal moves higher in the circles of London society, he's going to slip. Montmorency and Scarper can't both live in the same body -- he'll have to choose which one survives... In 5 words: Fun. This story takes you from jail to a five-star hotel; from the sewers to the opera house. Scarper/Montmorency is (are?) just the right mixture of smart, b

YA Friday: What is YA lit?

Young Adult literature is, unsurprisingly, literature written for young adults. Notice the for. Not about. I will argue to my last breath that YA doesn’t have to be written about young adults to be written for young adults. It can be, but more important than the age of the protagonists is the style, the type of story, the language, and the intended audience. Also, if we argue that YA = written about young adults, then we get into this messy business of defining what a "young adult" is. And the legal cutoff at 18 is hardly the end of a young adult’s development. I can say from experience that many teens continue reading their favorite authors and YA books through the college years, even if they do start the transition to adult lit.  The “YA has to be about young adults” standpoint often classifies books with older protags as adult lit when the writing style, subject matter, etc. is clearly young adult. Two great examples of this: the protagonist of the Montmorency

It Is (Occasionally) OK to Ignore Internet Advice

I wrote a query letter the other day. It wasn’t a query letter for a completed, polished manuscript. I don’t have a completed, polished manuscript. Neither had I researched potential agents or personalized the letter beyond giving my name. In other words, I ignored every bit of advice out there on the Internet about how, when, and why to write a query letter. And that was OK. Why? Because I did not intend to actually send the letter. Please, please, please don’t ignore all the great advice out there on the Interwebs unless you have a good reason. In my case, the good reason was that writing a query letter actually helped me to better understand my WIP. It became a writing exercise: I had to breathe life into the bones of the plot and make them dance. In about 300 words or less. It was extremely helpful. Sometimes, people ask me what The Book is about. I used to have no idea where to start. “Well…it’s about this family…they’re kind of like a fantasy Mafia…Nope, no dragon