Resources for Writers
Wild About YA: Really Useful Links by Ellen Brickley
I’m delighted to be stepping into Paul Anthony Shortt’s shoes for a few weeks – it’s been a while since this job was undertaken by someone who wasn’t named Paul! Alongside not being named Paul, I’m also an essayist, Nanowrimo volunteer and lover of all things bookish, especially YA novels.
YA is an exciting category right now. Francis Hardinge, Sarah Crossan, Brian Conaghan and Louise O’Neill are racking up awards for their great fiction. Angie Thomas’s debut, The Hate U Give, has topped the New York Times bestseller list for six weeks. If you’re interested in writing YA, the classic, time-honoured advice to read widely in your chosen genre should be a fun task.
But with such great material out there, how can you make your work as good as it can be – and then get it into the right hands?
1. This article by Nora Raleigh Baskin covers the essentials really well. What’s the relationship between the age of your characters and the age of your likely audience? Should you use your novel to teach your young readers a lesson? (Spoiler alert: no). This is a solid primer when starting out.
2. To be sure of avoiding cliches, and for the laugh, you should definitely check out Brooding YA Hero on Twitter for an affectionate parody. But be careful – if you look into his eyes, there may be no going back.
5. When you’re ready to think about editing, polishing, perfecting and maybe even publishing, remember that children’s writers get their very own, dedicated Writers and Artists’ Yearbook, full of advice on writing, as well as listings for agents and publishers with an interest in children’s fiction. Look for lime-green in the bookshop instead of the trademark W&A red!
Ellen Brickley is a Dublin-based, chai-latte-powered novelist, essayist, and civil servant who can't believe she gets paid to write sometimes. She holds an MA in American Literature from UCD, and has provided content for Explorer Publishing and Lionbridge Technologies. Her essays have appeared in Banshee literary magazine. She is currently hard at work on revisions for a YA novel.