You Say YA, I Say Why-A
So I promised Dr. Peeler I'd post on the topic here, Thursday and here it is...Thursday. Well, Thursday night actually. As many of you know (or maybe you don't), I've been working on a young adult novel for several months now and it's been slow going miserable work to say the least. I figured I'd break it down for you 5-w-style. Cuz I'm structured like that.
Actually, I'm not, but it seems as good a format as any since I'm bloated from sushi, reheated coffee and blurry-eyed from revising the damned thing (aka Velveteen my Why-A).
Go ahead, say what you're thinking: But, Mark, you've built a career on filth! How can you reign in that dirty mind for the youth of America and beyond? Right? The truth is it isn't easy and some days I'm not kidding when I say it's absolutely miserable. I was never big on fiction geared towards children and adolescents, even as a child and adolescent. I was reading adult fiction in elementary school and so never had a good sense of what was appropriate, because, to me words could NEVER be inappropriate. Violence and stuff, yeah, that's bad, but words weren't. Even if those words began with F's, C's and S's. Nor were ideas. Luckily my parents were like minded, instilled that shit in me early. So when I think of YA, I don't distinguish between what I write for adults and what I write for teens. If it gets gross, crass or nasty, it just does. The other thing, it's not me, I've got to write them under a pseudonym, especially since the third Amanda book, BATTLE OF THE NETWORK ZOMBIES (in stores now), turned out to be a smutstravaganza.
So the world I've built is a wacked out view of Purgatory, with commandos and angsty teen romance and souls that look like ashy aliens (the kind from space and not the swap meet). It's been something I've been thinking about for a few years now and has undergone lots of changes. LOTS!!! Don't want to talk too awful much about it because it's not sold yet. That's one of the problems with this business, as Heidi Klum says, one day you're "in" and the next you're our. There are no guarantees and since I don't have the sales with my Amanda series to do what's called "Selling on Proposal," I've been busting ass to get the motherfucker done (how's that for YA talk?) to go on submission. We're talkin' tomorrow, bitches!
I'm not sure how to answer this one. July? I guess. I've got a short story (set in the same world as the novel) coming out in an anthology (Kiss Me Deadly). So yay! What's weird about the whole thing is, the more that I look at YA authors and their discussions and online stuff, the less interested I am. It scares me. Bad. I don't feel like I have a lot in common with them. Don't have a child protective bone in my body and that's coming from a child and adolescent psychotherapist. I mean, seriously, I think kids have been protected to the point of disabling them at this point.
::shrugs:: At my kitchen table?
This is the big question. And initially, I think I took up the task because I wanted to write something that my goddaughter could share with her friends, brag about even. That's not to say this precocious young girl hasn't already read Amanda, she has. But sharing Amanda around the 7th grade and shit isn't going to get her any bonus points with the nuns I don't imagine. So that can't be it. And it sure ain't the money, what with advances drying up quicker than rest home pussy. So I guess it boils down to this, don't write a YA unless you've got a story to tell. Trend hopping is for shit. I just happen to have one that's been bouncing around my head long enough I figured I should get it out before it turns malignant.
So that's that. YA my way.
Now see how I avoided giving out my pseudonym? I'm a tricky bastard like that.