Posts Tagged Young-adult fiction

Seriously Awkward Campaign and Competition

Do you remember being sixteen or seventeen years old? How did you find it? The best of us find the transition from child to adult difficult, there’s the pressure to conform with our peers, the pressure of exams and the pressure to decide on the next step in our lives. Imagine how much harder this time of life must be for those more vulnerable than ourselves, those suffering mental health problems, domestic abuse and worse.

The Children’s Society is running the Seriously Awkward Campaign to urge the Government to do more to help vulnerable teenagers through this transition time. Part of this campaign is a short story competition. Entry is free and is in two age groups: 16 to 25 year and 26 years plus.

First prize in each age group is “expert advice and feedback from a top literary agent and writing gifts. Young winners will receive exclusive advice and feedback with literary agency Darley Anderson and adult winners with David Higham Associates. The runners-up will receive a selection of writing gifts.”

Stories must be on the theme of 16 and 17 year olds. This brings to mind Young Adult fiction but the competition doesn’t appear to be restricted to that, the website suggests you can write from an adult point of view too such as parent, teacher or social worker.

The word limit is 2,000 and the closing date is 31 August 2018. Don’t forget to read all the terms and conditions!

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Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer

Could you co-write a novel with your teenage daughter? That’s what Jodi Picoult did when her daughter Samantha pitched an Jodi Picoultidea to her for a young adult novel.

The result is Between the Lines. It is based on the idea that the characters in a book can live their own lives when the book is closed. When the book is opened they must jump back into their pre-ordained story roles, like actors who appear in the same production night after night.  But what happens when a teenage girl falls in love with the illustrations of Prince Oliver in a fairytale book  and the prince wants to live a life outside of the story pages?

Jodi and Samantha came to Birmingham Library theatre last week to talk about the novel and I went along to hear them. Samantha is 16 now and suggested the idea to her mum 3 years ago. They spent 1 school summer holiday talking about the concept, the following summer writing it, the next summer editing and this summer they are promoting the finished book.

Jodi was the disciplinarian, setting the number of hours per day they would work or the number of pages that must be completed. She also did the typing, just because she’s got quicker fingers. The two of them sat side by side in Jodi’s office and literally spoke the story aloud to each other, often coming out with exactly the same words and ideas – I’m sure this is only possible if you have an extremely good relationship with your teenager!

Despite being only 16, Samantha was a very confident young woman and gave a reading from the novel as if she were a born actress.

The audience at the Birmingham talk included several school parties who asked Samantha for advice on becoming a writer. She urged them to write to a set schedule in order to get it done. Jodi added that taking some sort of writing course was also extremely useful.

Finally, Jodi says there are 2 skills which are essential to any writer:

  • Be able to write on demand
  • Be able to self-edit

So, it shouldn’t be too difficult to produce that bestseller if those are the only 2 things we need to master!

Don’t forget you have until midnight tomorrow (Monday 16/07/2012) to enter the draw for a copy of Writing the Paranormal Novel by Steven Harper. Click here for details.

 

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