Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

REVIEW - The Young Adult Writer’s Journey by Elizabeth Fortin-Hinds and Janet Schrader-Post

This book is intended as an encyclopedia for writing Young Adult fiction. It is meant to help you from choosing what genre you want to write, to understanding what and why editors want certain things in the manuscripts they choose to champion.


The Young Adult Writer's Journey is a specialty book that has the purpose to teach people how to write. Therefore I was very curious to see who the authors are and what kind (and in what amount) of information they were willing to provide. 

Having the habit to use Goodreads, it was the first place where I looked for the authors, but I didn’t find much (somehow in contradiction with the recommendations given in the last Chapter). Anyway, from what I eventually found, seems very possible that The Young Adult Writer's Journey was written based on the authors’ own experience and not necessarily on a specific professional training. But speaking from the own experience is almost always a plus because facing already the specific challenges means that the given advice or solution is based on what they found, applied and worked for themselves. 

From the Table of Content it could be seen that The Young Adult Writer's Journey is structured logical, from the things as: known your target audience, the “mythic structure” of a YA novel, how to build the characters and maintain the pace, what a YA novel should contain and the limits within which the YA authors could / must play,  to the non-artistic, but needed, information on promoting and selling your book. 

While I do not agree with some of the allegations, recommendations or analysis, I agree that they could be, sometimes, correct and useful in our modern world. 😃 What I liked is that, in the support of the “theoretical” presentations, numerous examples from the well-known books were given. That should make it easier to assimilate the lessons. 

Saying that I think that this encyclopedia is for those amateurs (in the sense of non-professionals) who, considering that they have the talent, have the courage to start writing. But, next to the aspiring writers, The Young Adult Writer's Journey would be a good and necessary exercise for the young readers and especially for all those (even older) who tend to read superficially and as a result to lose the full message or the beauty and quality of a story. 

As, till now, I didn’t feel the calling to evolve from reader to writer, I cannot say if, from an author's point of view / activity, The Young Adult Writer's Journey contains all what one “must-do, don’t do and how –to” (do it) when creating YA stories… successful YA stories, but I can say that it is a good start. 
“If you plot your book using The Hero’s Journey as detailed in Chapter Three, pick characters from the list in Chapter Six, put together a team filled with great sidekicks as detailed in Chapter Two, using archetypes and characters from Chapter Five and Six, you should have a great start. 
Next, build a world using the information provided in Chapter Four, pick a time and setting using what you read in Chapter Eight, pace yourself through that sagging middle like you learned to do in Chapter Eleven, and head for a bonfire of an ending detailed in Chapter Twelve
Along the way give your characters some kick-butt dialogue as described in Chapter Ten. If you decide to make it a series, check out Chapter Thirteen. If you need tips for writing with a partner, it’s in Chapter Sixteen.” 
But you, the aspiring writer, do not forget! You still need something that nobody can give you: the talent. Be sure you have it... a lot... and start writing. We are already waiting for your books!


Published: November 23rd, 3018

An Encyclopedia for YA Writers

Finally, an all-inclusive book on young adult fiction must-do, don’t do and how-to. If you want to write a young adult novel, you need to read this book first. Coauthored by an award-winning YA author and an acquisitions editor, both experts on kids and what they like to read, this encyclopedia contains all you need to start or improve a career as a YA fiction author.

From an examination of the market, genre and its sub-genres, to mechanics and the business, everything is at your fingertips. This amazing writer’s resource is written in a relaxed and interesting style, with plenty of contemporary references and examples for clear understanding and easier application.

About the authors:
Elizabeth Fortin-Hinds knows kids well. She spent decades teaching teens and adults to write and improve their reading skills. As a literacy expert and certified coach, she helped both teachers from elementary to secondary and preservice graduate students learn to improve reading and writing instruction. She has taught at both the secondary and graduate level, everything from rhetoric, essays, and thesis statements, to poetry, short stories, and how to write a novel. She has learned to use both sides of her brain simultaneously, but enjoys the creative side the most, learning to play piano, draw and paint, and find time for her own writing since retiring from her “day” jobs. 

A “true believer” in Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, mythic structures, she uses that lens when considering manuscripts for Tell-Tale Publishing Group, a company she founded with some friends from her critique group a decade ago.

Janet Schrader-Post - Daughter of a Colonel, Janet lived the military life until she got out of high school. She lived in Hawaii and worked as a polo groom for fifteen years, then moved to Florida where she became a reporter. For ten years she covered kids in high school and middle school. Kids as athletes, kids doing amazing things no matter how hard their circumstances. It impressed her, and it awed her. “How wonderful teens are. They have spirit and courage in the face of the roughest time of their lives. High school is a war zone. Between dodging bullies, school work and after school activities, teens nowadays have a lot on their plate. I wrote stories about them and I photographed them. My goal was to see every kid in their local newspaper before they graduated.”

Janet love kids and horses, and she paints and writes. Now she lives in the swampland of Florida with too many dogs and her fifteen-year-old granddaughter. She started to write young adult fiction with the help of her son, Gabe Thompson, who teaches middle school. Together they have written a number of award-winning YA novels in both science fiction and fantasy. 

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Unknown said...

Hi CCAM! Thanks so much for hosting our book on your blog. We really appreciate all you do for readers and writers. I hadn't thought about it, but you bringing it up made me realize that Janet and I use our 'real' names to write nonfiction and each have an AKA. I write fiction under Elizabeth Alsobrooks, and Janet goes by just Janet Post, and has some other monikers for romance fiction. I hope that helps you get to know us a little better as writers on Goodreads or Amazon. I'm sorry for any confusion.

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Bernie Wallace said...

Is this the longest book that you have ever had published? I hope the book is a success. Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

James Robert said...

I appreciate you taking the time to give us a great book description and giveaway as well. Thank you so much!

Unknown said...

Thanks for asking, Joseph. Actually, under Elizabeth Alsobrooks, I wrote The Book of Life, Book I in my Illuminati series, which comes in at around 110,000 words as I recall...over 600 pages. It's an urban fantasy novel. I'm currently working on Book 2, The Tree of Life.

Victoria Alexander said...

Thanks for sharing your review!

wendy Hutton said...

thanks for hosting and good luck with the tour

CCAM said...

@Elizabeth Fortin

Yes, I found "some" of your names and backgrounds and this is why I said that you both speak from experience, and I consider that experience is important when teaching others.

There are a lot of good things in TYAWJ or things that an aspiring author should know and from which they should continue to enrich their knowledge. As I already said, I think that not only they could gain something from reading your "Encylopedia", but also any other reader.


Rita Wray said...

Sounds like a good book.

Calvin F. said...

nice plot, definitely would find it fun to read along this journey

Bridgett Wilbur said...

I would love to read your book.