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Hello everyone and welcome to Mother/Gamer/Writer for The Priest and the Peaches Blog Tour. Today author Larry Peterson is on the blog discussing Writing YA. What does it take to write YA, how can you distinguish between the different age groups? Find out in Larry’s guest post which gives some helpful tips on writing Young Adult fiction.
The Priest and the Peaches
- ISBN: 978-0-9837418-4-8
- ISBN: 978-1-4658-6327-0
- Pages: 285
- Release Date: January 1, 2012
Historical fiction novel set in the Bronx in the mid-1960s
Take a seven day journey with the five, newly orphaned Peach kids, as they begin their struggle to remain a family while planning their dad’s funeral.
They find an ally in the local parish priest, Father Tim Sullivan, who tries his best to guide them through the strange, uncharted and turbulent waters of “grown-up world.” A story that is sad, funny, and inspiring as it shows how the power of family love and faith can overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
Writing for Young Readers
You asked if I might discuss writing for young readers. Okay, but remember I am not an expert and, to tell you the truth, I am not even sure what it means to be an “expert” in this area. The whole thing seems ambiguous to me. What I mean is this; many books classified YA are fine for adults also. MG might be okay for some YA readers and then, they might be okay for some savvy readers under eight. MG is classified 8 to 12. YA is classified 12 and up. Personally, I believe MG should range from about 10 to 14. YA should start at 15. My own rule of thumb is that I try to remember that MG kids are still discovering things inside themselves, especially as they head toward puberty. YA readers are discovering things outside themselves, like the realities of the adult world. Where do you transition? I’m not sure. I guess it comes down to some good old fashioned common sense.
Now that I have attempted to separate MG from YA what’s next? Okay, I think that MG books should be 125 pages or less and YA books should be 300 pages or less. When I was in high-school (a long time ago) required reading for us in junior year was Gone With The Wind. That was well over 900 pages long and I’m sure, in today’s world, might not be considered YA. So, who is to say? Certainly not me. The best advice I might give – READ YA books that have been out for awhile.
I would suggest that your writing should be be honest and straight-forward. Avoid being too “slick” or “tricky.” Kids are too smart for that and you will not win them over. But, you must make them think. Good luck. Also, avoid long sentences. The human brain starts losing focus often after the 20th or 25th word in a sentence. Another thing is I believe that the interaction between and among characters is crucial. Describing places with all the white, fluffy clouds overhead should be less, not more. For example, “At the foot of the steps the water was the color of gray foam,” or “At the foot of the steps, a long, curling string of seaweed lay upon the sand like a chubby snake watching the thin, legged sea gull hop to and fro in the gray foam.” Which do you think is best? You have to decide as you go along.
Thanks for having me and I hope this was a bit helpful.
About the Author:
Larry Peterson was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. A former Metal Lather/Reinforcing Iron-worker, he left that business after coming down with MS. He, his wife and three kids moved to Florida 30 years ago. Larry began doing freelance newspaper commentary after graduating from Tampa College in 1984. His first children's picture book, Slippery Willie's Stupid, Ugly Shoes was published in 2011. In 2012, his full length novel, The Priest and the Peaches was released and he is presently working on the sequel. He also has a blog (http://www.
ThePriestandthePeaches.com) where he posts weekly commentary. He lives in Pinellas Park, Florida and his kids and six grandchildren all live within three miles of each other.
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