Tips for YA Lit: Point of View (Part 2)

Tips for YA Lit: 

Point of View 
(Part 2)

This 3-part blog won't be only tip giving, but also showing the struggles that arise with narrative point of view in young adult literature. Narrative style can make or break a book and turn off some readers, at least for me. Part of the narrative style consists of point of view, meaning the way in which the story is told or the lens of the storyteller. There are three commonly used points of view (I'm skipping second person "you" as it isn't very popular in novel form) defined in bold below followed by pros and cons when it comes specifically to YA storytelling. I tackled first person in part 1 last week (see POV Part 1), so here is part 2.

Third person limited omniscience--"He/she" is used but thoughts and events are limited to a character's presence. It combines the detail and personality that comes with first-person and third-person omniscience but we readers can only see so far.
  • Pros--by far this is my favorite. The reader can get a similar experience as first person, yet the use of pronouns "he or she" allows us some room for aligning ourselves with the character. This character can be vastly different from readers and the readers can still feel like a part of the story, not like they are that character but they know him/her almost as well as themselves. This viewpoint gives us a lot of dramatic irony which is when a character may not understand something that we readers can. 
  • Cons--I really can't think of many drawbacks to this POV except that readers feel the loss of a direct connection and prefer "I" or authors feel it is too limiting. A fix for this is to extend the omniscience to two characters. This one is popular in romance where we get the "he said, she said" gist of things. This is a way to create a lot of irony through misunderstandings and events the readers know about but the characters do not. I also suggest dividing narratives into separate chapters so head-hopping doesn't occur. Head-hopping is when the author jumps into one brain into the next without us being able to tell who is thinking what. A differentiation and clear labels are needed.
Popular third person limited omniscience novels--Harry Potter Series, The Diviners (although each chapter is a different chracter) and City of Bones.

In the end, when it comes down to it, what POV is chosen is up to the author's preference. They all can work, and readers buy books in both first or third person. For YA books, first person seems pretty strong, although with the popularity comes the criticism too. Third person, seems the safe bet, but author's have to work harder to make it more personal. 

Tips for YA Lit: Point of View

Tips for YA Lit: 

Point of View
(Part 1)

This 3-part blog won't be only tip giving, but also showing the struggles that arise with narrative point of view in young adult literature. Narrative style can make or break a book and turn off some readers, at least for me. Part of the narrative style consists of point of view, meaning the way in which the story is told or the lens of the storyteller. There are three commonly used points of view (I'm skipping second person "you" as it isn't very popular in novel form) defined in bold below followed by pros and cons when it comes specifically to YA storytelling.

First person-- "I" tells the story from a character's point of view as in he or she tells readers the events directly and shares a unique opinion and perspective of them.
  • Pros--we, as readers, are in the character's head so we get a firsthand account and a front row
    seat to their actions, words, thoughts, and behaviors. While we get to know her, we become her, the "I" making us put ourselves into the story as the character. In the end, we get an authentic experience although vicariously.
  • Cons--it must be done well. If the character is 100% unique, readers might not align themselves with the character, find no common ground, and not enjoy the book. Also, if the character is 100% generic, you have a stereotype and the reader again may not feel this character is worth sharing experiences through since he/she is just like every character out there. 
  • A solution? Make them somewhere in between--identifiable, somewhat common, but interesting, with a little something everyone has that makes him/her unique. Share a lot of details of their life, make a huge list of background info to include like foods they hate, extracurricular activities, hobbies, pet peeves, etc. They do not have to be blank (Bella Swan) for readers to align themselves; they just have to be real and identifiable.
Popular first person novels--Twilight, Beautiful Creatures, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, The Hunger Games, Divergent, etc. 

This seems the most popular POV and a theory to that is due to the audience being dominantly female, they easily accept first person since it is similar to keeping a diary. From antiquated times, women kept diaries and journals while for men it seemed to fade away over the years.

Next week...onto third person.

Tales in Publishing: Peaks and Troughs

Tales in Publishing: 
Peaks and Troughs

Recently I had a week. It was a full of highs and lows, peaks and troughs. Through my experience--as always--I view everything as a teaching moment, for myself and others. Sometimes in life, you gotta deal with a crappy lot and sometimes you feel as if nothing can go wrong. And then sometimes, the good and the bad occur so close together your just don't know how to feel. As a writer it is the same.

Troughs: to get published one has to submit a query letter to a publisher or agent to spark their interest. Sometimes they'll ask for an extended synopsis, first couple chapters, 50 pages, or the entire manuscript. It honestly varies. What doesn't vary is how it feels to send it off. I imagine it is tantamount to sending your kid off to college, but not hearing from said child for anywhere from three weeks to four months. And then the news you're expecting is either your kid is failing or on the
Dean's List. Because your "baby," your book, is completely rejected or accepted, not much of a gray area or any in-betweens. Sure, you can try, keep trying. Good ole J.K. Rowling had double digits of rejection letters for Harry Potter, and look at her now. But each rejection letter hurts, it stings, like someone judging your child. As a mother of a special needs child, I understand judgment fully. And it is the same kind of heartache when your book is rejected. You worked so hard and long to make it its best, and then it is rejected in a standard form or letter without a real reason why. This hit me hard, a rejection from the publishers who recently accepted a novella of mine for their anthology. This was my trough which happened within the same week the anthology with my story was coming out.

Peaks: of course, there is the opposite. Every wave has its peak as well. I wrote a novella for a submissions call in a week. I pounded out all 67 pages in a couple days, to be honest. It just came to me easy since the anthology set up a premise for us. I revised it, and then proofread once. I should've proofread it one more time, but the deadline was approaching (not theirs but I was getting 80 research papers to grade). I submitted without any expectations. I forgot about it as I graded like crazy to close the semester out, when I received an email, an acceptance! It was my first publication and I was over the moon. This was a peak, a goal in life checked off--my name in print. It was a huge sense of accomplishment.

The ocean analogy in reference to life is probably overused but it's so true for any instance. It's changing waters, vitriolic and yet soothing nature, and its hidden depths, all can relate to these descriptions in life. Particularly writing where one day your giving a unforgiving storming sea or you fall into a trough only to be lifted to the peak of a calm wave in the sweet summer sun.

UPDATE: After a trough I've hit a peak! Details coming!

Book Review: Breed by Niki Cluff

YA Book Review: 

Welcome to my first book review, on my blog at least. The backstory to my review involvement is such. I've reviewed books for years on Amazon and Goodreads. Then I realized when my novella got published in an anthology, we were supposed to have people review our book for us, ARCs. ARC stands for advanced reader/review copy, meaning you get the book early and free in hopes you will write an honest review. Not knowing any professional reviewers this was a problem for me. So now that I know quite a few authors when they ask for reviewers, I jumped on one so I could help them out. I'll be in their shoes again one day and need their support back. So here is my honest review of Breed by Niki Cluff.

Divergent meets Deep ImpactBreed, by the talented Niki Cluff, is a YA dystopian romance novel, set in our possible near future where Earth is being bombarded by meteors, and there's one headed our way that could wipe out the majority of the human race.

Kyle Singer is a girl born to an unloving family who wants perfection, and she's not up to scratch, which makes her jump at the opportunity to finish high school in an academy that will save her life. At the Realist Academy, she is forced into a "pairing," and insta-relationship, with Ichiro Seung-hun who is a mysterious brooder with a dark past. The academy and it's creepy-perfect facade instantly puts her and Ichiro on guard and they realize this place is not all it's cracked up to be. She and Ichiro work together, and against the principal, to do whatever it takes to unravel the mystery and escape, even if escaping means death.

Overall, what the book has working for it is its unpredictability. The description gives a lot away, unfortunately, but despite that things occurred that I could've never predicted. Kyle has the perfect amount of strength and insecurity that speaks to teen readers and adults who can reminisce on that uncertain part of life, even more uncertain due to the life and death situations and a forced relationship. The relationship between Kyle and Ichiro doesn't yield in love at first sight, although there's interest, which lends great credibility as to what would occur in real life. I found this book to be refreshingly honest, believable, with characters readers could relate to.

As for cons, I really just wanted more overall, which is great that it is a series and we'll get that. The romance is sweet, clean, but there's not a lot of it. However, I assume the author will build this up more, which is fantastic and ensures the relationship won't putter out, become redundant, or need to depend on other YA romance stereotypes. We also don't get to know Ichiro well, because it is told through Kyle's perspective, but this is another thing I think the second book will show readers once Kyle knows him more intimately.

Overall, it was a great read, the plot constantly rolling and surprising me, the characters well developed and relatable, and I was left wanting more. It is the first series I've read in a while that had the perfect amount of story to feel complete but also keep me wanting more with expectations of getting something fresh and different.

You can purchase this book through the following links:


Tales in Publishing: Query example

Tales in Publishing:  Query example I'm sharing my successful query to others in hopes it exemplifies what to do and helps other au...