This morning I finally made some decisions about my upcoming YA story, ‘Being Watched’. Not only did I finalise the editing of the final draft but I also made a firm decision that this story will have a sequel. Although it stands alone well, it leaves me with so many ideas to take forward these characters that I have grown to know and respect.
Writing my first novel has been a steep learning curve but I definitely gained lots of experience when I launched my first novella, two years ago this week. ‘The Fathers, the Sons and the Anxious Ghost’ taught me about the writing process. It showed me how to promote a book and how not to. I owe so much to those people who supported me as I took those baby steps towards being a fully fledged author.
A few things I have found helpful when writing YA:
1) Speech is everything. Characters in YA stories let you know what they’re feeling through dialogue. Indeed, the stories themselves move along largely via conversations, rather than exposition.
2) Contractions matter. My first book had a large part written by adult characters but when it came to the chapters written from the teenagers’ viewpoints I wish I had used more contractions. I love everything about my novella apart from the fact that I often made their speech sound very formal.
3) Short chapters are welcome. There is no need to write great swathes of text just for the sake of it. To be honest, I love short chapters in any genre. ‘Being Watched’ celebrates short chapters which I hope will grasp your interest, as readers.
So now I will send back my revised version of the story, safe in the knowledge that there will be more to come with these characters. As time goes by I will gradually introduce you to them and the mystery that they are forced to unveil.
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