Please welcome Deborah Halverson (@Dear_Editor) to My Book Fairy tonight!
GUEST POST: NA WRITERS HAVE STORYTELLING NEEDS, TOO
By Deborah Halverson
You ask why I wrote Writing New Adult Fiction. The answer is simple: NA fiction writers deserve a craft book that understands their storytelling needs. You are writing the new adult mindset and experience, and you need strategies and techniques to do that just as much as writers of Young Adult and Middle Grade fiction need them … and just as much as sci fi and fantasy writers need them … and just as much as romance writers and mystery writers and picture book writers need them … and so on. Each group of storytellers may tap into the same foundational elements like plot and dialogue and characterization, but they use them to tell different kinds of stories for different audiences with different needs—and those differences deserve our attention. I set out to write a book that can support and guide NA writers.
I’ve been an editor for twenty years. What I’ve learned in those two decades is that my role is to position myself between author and reader, not as a wall or a filter but rather as the support underneath the bridge between the two. I stay out of the way even as I gently coax, guide, and question to make sure that the story the writer sets out to tellis the story that readers on the other side actually receive. A satisfying connection between writer and reader is what melts my butter. I learned how to nurture that connection that by working with master storytellers, by parsing out the needs of target audiences and the reasons some books satisfy them and others don’t, and by working to develop strategies and techniques that I could share with writers at all levels and which they can personalize for their own styles and stories. My mission is to empower writers and satisfy readers. Writing New Adult Fiction allows me to go through that process with NA writers.
New adulthood certainly demands our focused attention. We know that the general mindset and cirumstances of people in each phase of life differ—sometimes subtly, sometimes obviously, always essentially. Consider teenhood, where young people are typically starting to look outward as they try to find their places in the world and realize that their actions have consequences in the grander scheme of life. Within that phase there are huge differences for writers to consider, as fourteen-year-old freshman certainly have different sensibilities and maturity levels than eighteen-year-old high school seniors. There’s a lot of opportunity in that range for amazing stories. The new adult phase has an exciting story range as well. New adults are typically picking up the self-exploration that began with adolescence, expanding their worldview, having a strong sense of exploration and experimentation after graduation from school or some other adult-regulated life. This life phase includes eighteen-year-old college freshmen that have different sensibilities and maturity levels than twenty-five-year-olds on their first forays into career. Compare that to full-on adults,who are typically settling into the life plan they tested and reworked and tested again and again in their new adult stage. These adults are settling into career and marriage and family, content in the worldviews they’ve worked out. Each of these groups needs—no, deserves—stories that reflect their lives, and finally we have NA fiction giving new adults their due. My goal with Writing New Adult Fiction is to help you write stories that are wholly NA yet distinctly you—and that rivet your readers in the process. It’s my privilege and pleasure to have been able to do so.
Writing New Adult Fiction by Deborah Halverson
Publication Date: August 21, 2014
Foreword by Sylvia Day "For the writer who wants to become a new adult author, or the new adult author who seeks to enrich her craftsmanship and stand out from the herd.” –Tammara Webber, New York Times best-selling author of Easy and Breakable From Sylvia Day’s Bared to You to Jamie McGuire’s Beautiful Disaster, new adult fiction has arrived—and it’s hotter than ever. But there’s more to this category than its 18- to 26-year-old characters: The success of your story depends on authentically depicting the transition of your young protagonists from teenhood into adulthood. With Writing New Adult Fiction, you’ll learn how to capture the spirit of freedom, self-discovery, and romance that defines the new adult experience. -Create memorable characters that act and sound like new adults. -Sculpt a distinct personality for your fiction with POV, voice, tone, and word choices. -Build a unique, captivating plot that satisfied your audience from beginning to end. -Learn tools for revising effectively and efficiently in a speed-driven market. -Weight the options for your path to publication: traditional, indie, and hybrid.
About Deborah Halverson
Deborah Halverson spent a decade editing books for Harcourt Children's Books before becoming the award-winning author of Writing Young Adult Fiction For Dummies, Writing New Adult Fiction, the teen novels Honk If You Hate Me and Big Mouth, a picture book and three books in the Remix series for struggling readers. She is now a freelance editor, author, writing instructor, and the founder of the popular writers’ advice site DearEditor.com. Deborah also serves on the advisory board for UC San Diego Extension “Children’s Book Writing and Illustrating” certificate program. She speaks extensively at workshops and conferences for writers and edits adult fiction and nonfiction while specializing in teen fiction, New Adult fiction, and picture books. For more about Deborah, visit www.DeborahHalverson.com.