Saturday, June 19, 2010

Spooky News

Fresh Hell: What’s behind the boom in dystopian fiction for young readers? by Laura Miller from The New Yorker. Peek: "There are, or will soon be, books about teen-agers slotted into governmentally arranged professions and marriages or harvested for spare parts or genetically engineered for particular skills or brainwashed by subliminal messages embedded in music or outfitted with Internet connections in their brains. Then, there are the post-apocalyptic scenarios in which humanity...." Note: Great article, but I respectfully disagree with the latter assertion that you don't have to offer a fresh twist, but rather just be "harrowing." YAs may be young, but those who are avid fans of a particular literary tradition may well trump us grizzled types in expertise. Source: Nathan Bransford.

How to Grab An Agent's Attention in a Query: Tips from Twenty Agents to Make Your Query Shine by Suzette Saxton from QueryTracker.

What It Takes to Be An Agent by Jessica and Kim at BookEnds, LLC. Peek: "So often I hear people say that they love to read, therefore they want to be agents. Oh, if only it were that simple. As any of you who have followed agents on Twitter or through blogs have probably come to realize, being an agent is not a 9-5 job. It’s a 9-9 job and then some, and the truth is the reading is such a small part of what we do."

Agents Are Not Just Gatekeepers by Nathan Bransford - Literary Agent. Peek: "For an aspiring author, the gatekeeping function is basically all they think about when they think about agents. But in actuality, agents spend most of their time on their existing clients, who happen to be the ones that have already made it through the hoop." Read a Cynsations interview with Nathan.

What Does Fantasy Teach Us? by Deva Fagan from The Enchanted Inkpot. Peek: "I believe that the fantastical can teach us just as much about life and the world as gritty realism. That it can help us learn to be better people, allow us to explore injustice and cruelty and beauty and hope. That fantasy can teach us about the real world." Read a Cynsations interview with Deva.

Author An Na will join fellow visiting faculty Coe Booth and Franny Billingsley at this July's residency of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults. See the entire list of VCFA faculty.

Fighting Fatigue by Lynn Viehl from Paperback Writer. Peek: "Publishing loses so many great writers every year. The stress of trying to be-all and do-all as a professional writer inevitably and negatively affects the writer as well as the quality of their work, which tips over the seven dominoes of writer self-destruction via creative fatigue: exhaustion, paranoia, burn-out, depression, isolation, renunciation and, finally, tossing in the towel." Source: Elizabeth Scott.

What Kind of Fantasy is Tu Looking For? And what kind of synopsis? by Stacy Whitman from Tu Publishing. Peek: "I just want to be sure that you’re also familiar with what’s out there right now for children and teens, and not just what was published in the 70s and 80s by some of the best authors on the adult side. If you haven’t already, I suggest going to your local bookstore (or library, but the bookstore is better for seeing more current books all in one place) and looking at the middle grade and YA shelves to get a good idea of how broad the definition of SF/fantasy is in that section." Read a Cynsations interview with Stacy.

Cynsational Screening Room

Write On Con: "We’d all heard so many writers tell us they wished they could attend a conference, but simply didn’t have the time or money. So we decided to bring a conference to them—a free online conference that anyone could attend in the convenience of their own homes. And so, WriteOnCon was born. (Rated MC-18: for main characters 18 and under.)" The online event is scheduled for Aug. 10 to Aug. 12; see roster of presenters and more information. Source: the Texas Sweethearts.

The Vampire Hunters hosts give you the inside scoop on how to tell the if your friend is just a regular teen or a vampire! Need more tips? Check out the book Fat Vampire: A Never Coming Of Age Story by Adam Rex (HarperCollins, June 27, 2010).

More Personally

Summer seems to have already arrived in Texas. At least according to the sunflower blooming in my yard. (It's less fuzzy in real-life).

Authors That Inspire by Kristine Carlson Asselin from My Writing Journey. Kristine offers her reaction to my recent keynote at the New England SCBWI Conference. Peek: "First of all, Cyn's speech was funny. And that's important for a Saturday morning conference presentation. She talked about her adorable husband, her life as a law student, and the epiphany that came when she decided to start writing for children (as I recall, it had something to do with ducks.) And I loved her immediately." Note: Kristine's Taurus, Virgo & Capricorn: All About the Earth Signs was published by Capstone Press in January 2010.