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Posts Tagged ‘Rosie Black Chronicles’

Winner Lara Morgan Give-away!

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on September 21, 2011

Lara says:

I really liked Melita’s answer and Brendan made me think but the winner is Braiden. Those two books are definitely on my to read list now.

 

Congratulations, Braiden.  Email Lara on:  serpentfire(at)westnet(dot)(dot)au

Posted in Book Giveaway, SF Books, Writing for Young Adults | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

YA Books for Girls, where does that leave Boys?

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on September 10, 2011

Lara Morgan, author of the Rosie Black Chronciles is visiting ROR.

 

 

Take it away, Lara.

These days it seems that whenever you look in the YA section of bookshops the titles that smack you in the eye first are those dark covers with brooding images, aimed squarely at the teenage girl. Heroines with powers, heroines in danger, heroines with quirky side kicks – it’s all about girl power in the market. Or so it seems.  Blogs, newspapers, earnest people over coffee, are all talking about how there aren’t any books for boys in YA anymore. That the market has been overrun by books for girls, about girls, with girly themes, and that the implication then is this is all wrong and something should be done for the poor hard done by teen boys.

I, for one, am wondering if the teen boys in this question actually care. Has anyone asked them or are we all just speaking for them? And is the great female take-over really happening?

I’m not convinced. Actually after a century, or more, of books for YA being dominated by male characters, saving the girls, written by male authors, part of me is cheering just a little bit. A recent study of young adult novels released between 1900 and 2000 showed that males were the central characters in 57% of books published per year while only 31% of the central characters were female.

 

So, really, it’s only in the last eleven years that girls have started to become the more dominant lead characters in YA fiction. And I’m not going to be sorry about that. A part of me wants to say (hands on hips), well isn’t it about time we girls got to dominate something? Men have more of just about everything on this planet. More power, more money, more rights.  Is the fact that girls hold a bigger place in YA really such a tragedy?

I know some may say that is not a very PC view to hold, but I’m finding it hard to be repentant. It’s not that I don’t care about boys reading – I passionately believe all kids should read – but I don’t think there being a glut of books with female protagonists out there is what’s stopping them. Contrary to the hysteria, there are plenty of books with male protagonists, if that’s what you want.  I think boys not reading is caused by a range of issues and it’s certainly not a new thing, nor the result of more girls in fiction. Boys were reading less when I was in school and that certainly was before 2000.

I don’t have any answers, but what I do believe is, at the moment, girls read more than boys and I think girls are encouraged to gravitate more towards the inner life than the outer, but I’m not convinced that boys won’t read books featuring female protagonists. I think we train them not to and it’s such an ingrained habit that we don’t even know we’re doing it. I think part of the problem is that adults just don’t offer boys books about girls, probably with the greatest of intentions. The reasoning being; we need to encourage him to read so let’s give him a story about spies or pirates not that one about a girl who rides dragons. And even those of us who want everyone to read everything do it.

I write YA with a female protagonist and it is marketed for girls, though when I was writing it I didn’t think about who the reader would be, just what the story was. Now I have been delightfully surprised when people have told me their son read it and loved it, because I didn’t think boys would.  That fact I am surprised a boy read it shows I am also guilty of putting that boy in a ‘he won’t read that’ box.  You see how this mindset is everywhere?

So what do we do? Well we work on changing our own attitudes and try to pass that change on. Yes girls read more than boys, yes at the moment there are a lot of books out there with female protagonists but is that really such a terrible thing? For a long time girls have been reading about boys saving the world, about boys saving them and boys have been reading them as well and absorbing the message that they always have to be the hero, the strong one. Maybe it’s time to show a different point of view, maybe boys will be relieved they can be the side kick for a change with the wit instead of the sword. Give both sexes some credit and let’s see where this takes us.

 

 

 

Lara is giving away a copyof the Genesis and the question is:

What’s your favourite YA book with a female lead character, that you’ve read recently or as a child, and why?

 

 

 

 

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Book Giveaway, Gender Divive in Writing, Genre Writing, Visiting Writer, Writing for Young Adults | Tagged: , , , , , , | 32 Comments »

Winner Announced

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on October 21, 2010

Lara Morgan has dipped her hand into the virtual ice-cream bucket and pulled out…

Cyndie!

Cyndie, you’ve won a copy of Lara’s new book, The Rosie Black Chronicles. Just leave your email in the comments section and I’ll get back to you.

Meanwhile, see Lara Morgan’s post on Writing for Young Adults here. And read a sample chapter of her book here.

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Book Giveaway, Genre Writing, Writing for Young Adults | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Writing for Young Adults

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on October 13, 2010

Today we have Lara Morgan doing a guest post. Lara’s book, The Rosie Black Chronicles is published by Walker Books. We’ll be giving away a copy of Lara’s book, so watch out for the give-away question at the end of the post.

Writing for young adults wasn’t something I naturally fell into. Everything I’ve written previously has been for adults, but I found myself with a gap of time a few years back and I thought, why not write a story specifically for young adults? I’d been working on a complex fantasy trilogy for some time and I was really looking for something totally different to that and since I’ve often read a lot of YA I thought I would have a go at writing it. For some reason, I thought it might be easier.

Well the simple answer to that is, of course, it’s not easier, but it is a little different.

Firstly, and this is something I had pointed out to me by a fellow writer early on, it is vitally important that you don’t let any of the adults take over the story. It sounds bleedingly obvious really, but as a writer used to having older characters as the focus, this was a lesson that had to be learned quickly.

In The Rosie Black Chronicles I have two fairly prominent adults, Rosie’s aunt and a man called Riley, and at one stage in an early draft Rosie’s aunt began edging onto centre stage. I almost didn’t realise it until my mentor told me that Essie was becoming more interesting and getting better lines, than Rosie herself.

How to solve this? Well, in time honoured YA tradition I had to hurt her. Aunt Essie, that is not Rosie. Yes, I found one of the best ways of scaling down any adult involvement in the plot is to maim them. It was very freeing. Suddenly I felt the story begin to come alive and it allowed Rosie to step forward and show her true heroic colours. It was the most important lesson I learned about writing YA and it’s something I stick with now as I’m working on the second in the series.

The three other things that differ in YA are:

Word count – novels generally max out at around 85,000 words, which as a writer of door stopper size fantasy was a challenge for me.

Language  and Sex.

Those last two, language and sex, depend on how young your audience is and your publisher, but also very much on the kind of book you’re crafting. Generally there is a less is more approach for swearing and its pretty much assumed that graphic descriptions of sex aren’t appropriate for YA.

In Patrick Ness’s The Knife of Never Letting Go, he cleverly masks the swearing of his main character in a way that is absolutely logical in the terms of the story, so that when a swear word is actually used once, and only once, by a character that scene resonates in a way that  would not have been possible had swearing been commonplace throughout the book.

That’s not to say bad language can’t be used in YA. I have read many books where it is present but it is clear from the outset that it is part of the characters and a reflection of their world and it not being there would make it seem as if the author were being coy and not telling the truth.

Sex in YA is a bit more difficult. One the one hand there is a certain view that as these books are aimed at a teen audience sex should be portrayed as responsibly as possible and something that is not casual or without consequence and I think, as a whole most YA novels tend toward this. Graphic descriptions of sex are irregular but references to characters having sex are generally just that, references without the actual act occurring or just plenty of heavy petting. I don’t have sex in my book, but sexual attraction is certainly present as I feel it would just be dodging the truth to pretend that characters in their late teens don’t have any such feelings. Because really, in writing YA, it is as important to tell the truth about people’s feeling and developments as it is in any fiction, regardless if you’re writing science fiction, contemporary fiction or paranormal romance. That’s all I hope to do with my stories; tell the truth about the world and the people in it and hope those who read it enjoy it.

 

Giveaway Question

How many years in the future is The Rosie Black Chronicles set?  (hint: watch the book trailer for the answer)

We’ll announce the winner in one week’s time, on Thursday the 21st of October.

Posted in Australian Spec Fic Scene, Book Giveaway, Characterisation, Genre Writing, Plotting, Promoting your Book, Visiting Writer, Writing Craft, Writing for Young Adults | Tagged: , , , , , | 11 Comments »