Wednesday, August 17, 2011


If you read Carmela’s June 29 up-close-and-personal interview with TeachingAuthor Deborah Halverson, today’s post, listing ten reasons why I heartily recommend Deborah's newest book, WRITING YOUNG ADULT FICTION FOR DUMMIES (Wiley Publishing, 2011), should come as little surprise.
Deborah wears a variety of Children’s Book World hats – Novelist, Author, Former Editor with Harcourt Children’s Books, Independent Book Editor and Founder of DearEditor, a writers’ advice website, and she obviously donned each one to write this easy-to-understand, comprehensive, hands-on text.  Her stated goal in writing the book was to give writers of young adult fiction the tools they need to tell their good stories well.  Boy, oh, boy, did she succeed.

 So, here are my 10 reasons why I heartily recommend Deborah’s book.
(For the record, I could have listed at least 10 more.)

 (1)   Deborah knows her subject matter from the inside out; she lives and breathes its content.  Her editorial and experiential insights take the information to a new level.

 (2)   The text’s/story’s satisfying narrative arc takes the writer from getting ready to write YA fiction to mastering marketing.

(3)  Deborah first grounds the writer in the body of YA literature and its targeted audience before addressing the needs of the story and the telling.

(4)  She includes managing one’s muse before presenting the writing process and key elements of narrative.

(5)  Due consideration is given “the almighty hook.”  The exercise offered on page 71 will be useful to all writers, no matter the format.

 (6)  Speaking of all writers, Deborah’s gems and pearls of wisdom, especially concerning characterization and plot, are not limited to only YA writers.

 (7)  Modeling true Show, Don’t Tell, the text includes concrete examples of key points being taught.

 (8) Author interviews (of some of my favorite YA authors, I might add, including Kathi Appelt and Deb Wiles) underscore, on a more personal level, the insights shared throughout the book.

 (9)  While readers’ questions are anticipated throughout and thoughtfully answered, side-bars further amplify points raised in the text.

(10) The Writing Exercises and Tips are – to quote from my last post’s recommended book – plenitudinous and wallopingly-fresh. 

 Should you not believe me, here’s a free printable cheat sheet

 Comprehensive.  Thorough.  Clearly-written.  Insightful.  Those are but a few adjectives that describe this guidebook.

 Read through the text, from Chapter 1, Part 1, (The Lowdown on YA Fiction/Getting Ready to Write Young Adult Fiction) to Chapter 18, Part V (Ten Ways to Make the Most of a Conference/The Part of Tens).
Or, simply page through the book, randomly picking and choosing – a Tip, an Exercise, an Interview, a Teaching Point.

Either way works.
Either way will make you smarter.
Either way you’ll be on your way to writing young adult fiction.


 Esther Hershenhorn

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