Friday, June 10, 2011
Why I Write YA Blogfest: Because Fin Made me Do It
If you asked me a year ago what I write, I'd have said, um, novels? I knew I wasn't writing memoir or non fiction but that's about it. The first book I wrote (currently mouldering gently in a digital drawer) is called Death Hires An Assistant. Hey, guess what happens in the book? Wow, you're psychic.
I had been writing Death Hires An Assistant in my head, on and off, for ten years. When we moved from NYC, to a place where deer walk down the street in the early morning mist and my neighbor keeps chickens, I had more brain space to let me get serious about writing. But the DHAA manuscript was a hot/cold/lukewarm-in-places mess. All my beta readers (except Tammy, I love you, babes!) said it was hit and miss. I didn't know what to do next.
I had a nugget of an idea that I wanted to play with, but I was afraid that starting a new project meant that I was abandoning DHAA, giving up. NaNoWriMo rolled around and I thought this would be a good way to 'waste' this new idea. You know, get it out of my system so I could get back to writing my opus.
I got the idea for BookEnd while driving up the Garden State Parkway. In my mind, I saw a boy, sixteen or so, standing by a ramshackle farm waiting for a man in period garb to walk through a gate. The man, looking like a lesser character in a Jane Austen movie, was pompous and confused. The boy laughed at him, taking him by the hand into the farm. That's it. That's all I saw. I was thinking about how funny it would be if minor characters from books found that, at the end of their story, they would be recycled.
I actually thought I'd write a light, funny story that I might be able to stretch to reach the 50K goal.
BookEnd has turned into a darker coming of age story that is over 75K and has a sequel, BookBegin already outlined. How the eff do these things happen? It's like I'm not even in control here.
So, why do I write YA? I think it's two things. It's because Fin, my main character, had a story to tell and his story is a YA story. And because YA is what I enjoy reading right now. I've been devouring Philip Pullman, Rowling and Garth Nix for years, not really making a distinction on A or YA reading, just loving the adventure.
For me, it's about the adventure, whether it's recycling book characters or having death for a boss.
Why do you write what you write?