Thursday, February 12, 2009

Guest Blogger: Writing Young Adult Fiction by Barry Eva (aka Storyheart)

Born in Barnet, Hertfordshire, Barry Eva, also known as “Storyheart”, left his beloved England in 2000, moving to the USA to be with the woman he'd met and fallen in love with on the Internet.

Better known for his short romance stories on the net and in his book Stories from the Heart, Barry is popular for narrating his stories on local TV or as a guest on other media stations,where his wit, oratory, and old-fashioned English charm make him a popular interviewee.

At present, Barry is living in Connecticut, with his wife and two children.
You can visit Storyheart’s website at http://www.across-t-pond.com.

We welcome today Barry Eva (aka Storyheart) here at The Writer's Life with his guest post about writing young adult fiction!

Writing Young Adult Fiction
by Barry Eva (aka Storyheart)

When it came to writing my Young Adult Fiction novel “Across the Pond” one of the hardest parts was how to start, the second hardest was the end. The in between was not that easy either.

Up until this novel I had for many years just written short (about 5/10mins read) romance stories. For these I would churn an idea over in my mind, work out the twists in the tail (I love fooling the reader) and then when ready dash down the story in thirty minutes.

When it came to writing a novel, I basically had to teach myself how to write again. To build characters, flesh out the plot, develop the story. Luckily I joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). This is really a must for any children’s/teen/young adult writer. My local group helped develop my style, critiqued my work and with their help and guidance the story progressed.

I developed the story, and started to write, the first three chapters took several months and many rewrites as I got into my rhythm and began to know and understand the characters. I find that I become the character and perhaps that is why people are saying the characters are believable.

As the story progressed so did the style of the writing, until I came up to the baseball chapter. Coming from England, we do not know much about baseball, which unlike American Football we just do not have on English television. I had seen a few films before coming across the pond, so has a vague idea of the game. Though if you go by “Naked Gun” films, you’ll think that baseball includes a lot of spitting. Mind you, thinking about what I’ve seen since I’ve been here, perhaps it does?

By the time I came to write the chapter in the book where Fred goes to the baseball game, I had seen enough baseball on TV to have an understanding of the game.

I now know a "sacrifice fly", isn't an insect that drinks from your beer, and then sits on the bar, waiting to be squashed

I know that "stepping up to the plate" does not mean that dinner is ready

I know that a "stolen base" isn't something that the police need to be got involved with.

I know that "Chipper Jones" is not a person from the local fish and chip shop, and a relieve pitcher, is not a place to get a drink when your thirsty.

I still though, don’t understand how you can have a “World Series” where only American and one token Canadian team compete.

One of the things that writers must work on and perhaps where my short stories helped me is how to keep the reader wanting more, the “hook” at the end of each chapter. If a person starts reading, make them want to turn the page, want to find out what happens next. Like the old movie serials, encourage them to want to know what happened next.

I have been lucky that many of the reviews I have so far received for my book “Across the Pond” includes comments such as “I started reading the book and could not put it down until they had finished it.”

So what tips can I pass on to writers from my experience with “Across the Pond”?

In the end, it’s your work be it fiction or non fiction, picture book or young adult fiction” so be proud of it. Several things can be done before it’s even printed.

Plan your book promotion, look around see what is available. Many companies offer help and PR work, but at a cost. These costs however vary greatly. I would highly recommend “pumpupyourbookpromotion.com” they have provided a great service for a very reasonable fee.

Join social or writing groups. Check the online groups there are plenty around. Listen and learn.

Create blogs. Blogs are the way forward, virtual book tours around the world without leaving your desk. Once created keep them updated join other like minded bloggers and build your social network

Read whatever you can about how to help spread the word about your book.

Most of all… Be proud of what you have created and enjoy the ride to success.

Storyheart
http://across-t-pond.com
Author of young adult fiction book “Across the Pond”