Journal

Writing:

After I turned in my novel, I took a three week vacation. It wasn’t really a choice (scheduling issue), but it happened to come at the perfect time. I spent most of that time at home sewing, and playing toddler herder.

The time between projects or drafts always feels really odd. I was so worded out that I couldn’t even stand to look at books. But by the end of the three weeks, I turned in another minor revision of the novel and my brain was spitting out new ideas. That’s usually a good sign that I’ve rested up enough to move on to the next thing/stage.

Know thyselves, writers. Whatever your process is, whatever you need, respect it and don’t be ashamed of it. I need a hard stop from time to time, but I always come back to the words because creating is still my happy place.

Mulling Over: 

I’ve been chewing over some well meaning, but cringe worthy  comments I’ve gotten when I’ve told other writers I’m writing YA novels. And it’s not that they’re completely wrong, but that they’re reductive statements that I worry that people take at face value.

1) You have to be politically correct when you’re writing YA:

Political correctness isn’t at all the goal, though the end result might look like it. Lately there’s been push back on representation done badly, but the reason is to protect kids from damaging narratives (or even kill a kid’s love of reading). This is not the same thing as political correctness.

And diverse writers are not a monolith. They have different experiences/worldviews that frequently do not agree with one another. There’s no single experience, and to reduce their work to only perfect characters a) Doesn’t reflect reality b) Is limiting c) Who gets to decide what is correct?

Moreover, teens these days have more language about gender and sexuality, than many of us did growing up, and I think that’s wonderful! I wish I could have had the words to express myself and have an easier time coming to terms with my identity. As YA writers these are all things we need to learn and be aware of, because they’re relevant to our audience.

There are still too many many harmful books being published, but if you really care about the people you’re writing for, I hope that you do your best not to purposefully do harm.

2) Diversity is so hot right now!

First off, I’m SO glad there’s more awareness these days and that diverse books keep hitting the bestsellers lists.  #WeNeedDiverseBooks has done a ton of work to champion the need for diversity in publishing, but if you look at the 2018 Lee and Low Diversity Report, the numbers are still pretty dismal.  Most books written about diverse/marginalized people, are not written by diverse/marginalized people.  Yes I’ve seen agents and editors asking for diverse stories on social media, but if you look at the people they actually sign, and the books that actually get published, it tells a different story. Unless there’s diversity up the chain (agents, editors, marketing, sales) we’ll just get the same stories with more colorful casts. This is nice, but it’s not meaningful change.

Diversity is not a trend. It’s the reality of the world, and publishing has a long way to go to start reflecting it.

And I’m not angry or mad about either of these things. I’m hopeful, because there are people working for change, and authors who really care about their audiences, and there are a so many people out there starving for stories that they can identify with.

Reading:

    • Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
    • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
    • The Ones Who Got Away by Roni Loren
    • Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee

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Journal

Writing:

Well that was another trip to revision land! The landscape is more familiar now, but it’s still  unsteady ground. While I’ve written a number of first novel drafts, I haven’t ever taken any one of them this far through revisions. Every draft is a learning experience, and I’m working on a better editing methodology as I go. The only way to get better at the process is to go through it from start to finish.

So I turned it in to my agent and after a short break, hmm… I guess its time to dive into revisions on the Beasty novel. So its more revision practice for me. Just what I wanted, right?

P.S. There’s now a link to my Pinterest page in the sidebar if you’re interested in novel aesthetics, research links, or you just want a taste of what I’m currently working on.

Wondering:

Before having a child, I had no idea how much we inherit from our ancestors. I expected the physical things: my nose, his eyelashes, but I didn’t expect the behaviors. The kiddo likes to rub her feet in circles to sooth herself, which my dad always teased me about when I was a kid. She likes to rub her lips against certain textures, which I used to do with my childhood blanket. She also takes great satisfaction in cutting papers and playdough into small pieces instead of building things, and this is 100% her dad.

How many traumas and traits get passed down over the generations? For better or worse our ancestors live on in us, yet the end result is a completely unique person. We all contain multitudes, and the sum of our parts is something unknowable.

Reading:

  • The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste
  • A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena
  • House of Binding Thorns by Aliette DeBodard

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