A pro to writing YA.

You’ll relive your teenage years — again and again. I was one of those teens who always wanted to be older. When I was 12, I used to look at the rental ads in the back of the newspaper and freak out about how I’d ever afford my own place. Now that I was a twenty-something, it was kind of fun to go back and relive all the drama and uncertainty that comes with being afraid you won’t get into your first-choice college or the deflating rage of spotting your best friend making out with your crush… and then head out to happy hour and be grateful for my over-21 adult status.

– Anna Davies, “Confessions of a YA Ghostwriter”

I wasn’t particularly thrilled at the prospect of putting myself back into the mindset of a teenager, because those weren’t my finest years. I dealt with a lot of emotional issues then, and the idea of putting myself back into that headspace intimidated me. But this is such a nice way to look at it.

I’ve conquered those teenage years and have moved on. Now I’m an aimless twenty-something who feels totally lost and has no idea what she’s doing with her life. So ha, teenage years! It could be fun writing about you. Because now I can at least drink legally. But really, this helped me see it in a much more positive light.



The first draft of anything is shit.

– Ernest Hemingway

Okay, so I need to stop writing late at night for right now. There’s too much room for melodrama. It just isn’t productive.

Also, I need to remind myself to just keep writing at this point, keep writing and leave a mess in my wake. The first draft can be horrible, it can make no sense, it can jump between characters and places and I can even change their ages halfway through if I need to. I mean, if even Hemingway is saying a first draft can be bad, then I need to get over myself and just keep writing.

It actually feels kind of liberating, thinking about that. This draft can be terrible! Who cares? I can let my characters say and do whatever they want.

Now I just need to keep trying to remember that. Diving back into the novel now while it’s still fresh in my head.

The World Is Too Much With Us

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. –Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

 – William Wordsworth

The other day I was driving down the freeway, flanked by generic stucco buildings on either side of me, surrounded with billboards and advertisements and chain link fences until it was all I could breathe in, and the opening line of this poem suddenly came to me.

The world is too much with us.

I feel this, often. It’s so hard to get away from everything, even when you want to. I crave a quiet space in the middle of the woods, the air thick with the scent of damp earth. I crave a place where I could turn in a circle and only see trees and ferns and moss, view uninterrupted by buildings or manmade debris. Not forever, just for a little while – a place to breathe and recollect. Sometimes the craving is so strong I can almost feel it, a phantom pain inside me.

Write even when…

Write even when the world is chaotic. You don’t need a cigarette, silence, music, a comfortable chair, or inner peace to write. You just need ten minutes and a writing implement.

– Cory Doctorow

 It’s a good reminder. Just sit down and write.

Complex characters.

A writing teacher once told me that the most successful movies and books were simple plots about complex characters…you should be able to articulate your concept in a couple of lines.

– James Scott Bell, Fiction Attack

Too much of a rookie to know whether I agree or disagree with the ‘simple plot’ part of this, but I have been thinking about this quote for a couple days now and I know my character could benefit from being more complex.