New Adult Fiction vs. Young Adult Fiction

As a writer I should be on top of developing fiction genres…but I feel like I missed a boat on this topic, as I had to look up ‘New Adult’ to see what the heck it is! And now, after reading various definitions, I feel confident I understand the difference between YA and NA. I have been labeling my Station Series as ‘YA Fiction’ since the first book was released, as that is what it fell under when I researched genres before publishing the series. But now that NA has taken off, I might have to make some adjustments. Why? Because NA seems to be a better fit.

Now, I could go online and read various blogs, websites and comments from readers to develop my own opinion on the matter (and I have but won’t list them all here), but to make things easier, I found a simple and straight-forward definition on Wikipedia. I’ll sit back and give you a moment to read it.

*fixes pony-tail…eats an apple slice…sips coffee…checks under nails…adjusts height of office chair…yawns because one cup of coffee isn’t doing it…flips through channels to find something entertaining for four-year old*

Okay – read it? Let’s move on. Since NA is specifically geared toward older adolescents and actual young adults, it makes perfect sense to me that it qualifies as an actual category. The NA genre (in my mind) is almost like a more intense version of YA with issues that come up after the character has hit adult age. Examples are just like YA but in NA there can be more descriptive sex scenes, a developing or aging character that falls under that 18 to 30-something age frame, life-changing issues like graduating school, starting a career, etc…and NA is targeted for a slightly older readership.

So I should ask the readers of the Station Series – does Piper Willow fall under NA or YA? I would say both. BUT, if you base her off of the NA definition listed above, Piper’s story is absolutely New Adult. I suppose I should attempt to market the Station books as NA and see what happens. This might help the parents out there, that ask if the series is appropriate for their fourteen year old. My answer is always for the parent to read the books first, and then make that decision, as every fourteen year old matures differently. Some can handle or even relate to Piper Willow, but others might be on the cusp and could benefit waiting a year or two before starting the series. Like I said, parents know best.

In the meantime I’ll list the book as NA and see if that makes you all a bit more satisfied with the genre. I don’t mind it – I feel like it narrows down my market for readers a bit, and that doesn’t hurt.

If you have a better definition or an entirely different view of New Adult Fiction, I’d love to hear it!

Happy Reading!

Allowing the Muse Full Reign

What a scary concept, right? I’m becoming more and more insignificant with my current WIP, Dying to Return – book 3 of The Station Series. At the rate the book is going, the characters will be fully in charge of writing their own story soon. My Muse is enjoying this immensely. See, the Muse likes to torture me at times. I freak out because the plot changes, and then the Muse lights a fire under one of the characters and they switch things up a bit. Usually in a good way.

I’ve been working hard to get this book right. Of course the beginning, middle and end were for the most part already done in my head before page one. But what fills the space in between is รผber important too. Andurush, AKA ‘Rush’ is my new favorite character. He was originally written to be mysterious, and honestly – a bit of an arrogant jerk. I know some saw him that way in Dying to Remember. He redeems himself a teeny bit in this next story but that’s mostly the Muse’s fault. See, the Muse has completely taken over this tale. I’ll be lucky to see it play out anything like how I originally planned it. I’m even considering allowing the Muse to make changes to the ending. We are in constant struggle about this – and every day one of us makes a good point worth listening to.

Oh, Muse. I do love you so. I really do. Thanks for bringing insight into this story in a way I didn’t expect, but try to remember who is really in charge here.

*long empty silence fills the room*

Right, who am I kidding?? The Muse has FULLY taken over and is currently sitting back in a chair much more comfy than mine laughing manically. Well-played Muse, well-played.

 

Happy Reading!

Setting Weekly Writing Goals

There’s no sense trying to deny it any further – we are well into Monday now. It’s almost noon my time, but it’s never too late to put together a weekly goal for writing. I’m working on two projects right now, so it seems as if I’m making baby steps with my current word count, but if I add the two together, the words are all there.

 

This week I plan on getting out at least 10k total – that’s about 5k words for each book. Since I plan on taking the coming weekend ‘off’ to hang out with the family, and I don’t write in each story every day – this is about 2k for each day. Totally doable but will need structure. It’s time to schedule writing, friends. And I’m not all that fantastic at doing so. I have a 4th grader working on the last few weeks of homeschool before Summer officially starts, her on the Spectrum 4yr old brother who has been a challenge lately, animals that don’t understand they aren’t the center of the universe when I’m typing and a husband. Life, as I know it, will be busy this week. Thus, the schedule.

 

I know not every writer must do this. Some have children in school, outside of the home and write during the day – while others work full-time and write at night. There are so many varying degrees of schedules for a writer I could laugh. ๐Ÿ™‚ There’s nothing ashamed about scheduling your creative time – though it often does not come to you on demand. Still, scheduling the time to BE creative is important for some. But this means the Muse must cooperate and show up on demand.

 

How, exactly, does one call on the Muse to arrive bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at a specific time? What works for me is establishing a playlist for each book – that way when I turn it on, I’m already in the groove and read to go. I also read back the last chapter or section of my book, so I know exactly what mindset I was in before. If neither of these work – I jump to my other WIP’s for something different, or I work on jotting down plot ideas till the Muse sparks some sort of interest in sticking around. What’s important is that my scheduled writing time is spent writing. As any schedule – the more you follow it – the easier it will become habit.

 

So, now that I’ve sufficiently prolonged the inevitable, I must begin my writing block for the day. The goal: 2k words total. No playing around till it is met. See you on the other side!

 

Happy Reading!

Scheduling Time To Write

There are some people who swear by schedules and do nothing without checking their calendar first. I am not one of those people. BUT I am learning. If I don’t schedule time to write, I don’t manage my time in a way that leaves plenty of gaps for efficient writing time. I have a younger child that naps – so I can write then. And both my children are in bed by 8pm, so I could write then. If I don’t schedule it, I find something else that needs done during the quiet times or in the evening. Like spending time on Facebook, Twitter or now, Pinterest…or browsing Fotolia for ‘future’ cover ideas for books that haven’t been written yet.

So now I schedule writing time. If I can’t write, or sit down and can’t concentrate – I find something else to do, like research, editing, marketing, etc…but at least the time was set aside to be used for ‘work’. Fact is, we all can find ways to fill our time – be it with work away from home, children, spouses, computer browsing, reading, chores, etc…but managing it appropriately means you learn how to be more productive in the time you have.

This is working for me. Because when I sit down and know it’s my writing ‘time’ I tend to work better and get into a groove every day. As long as CNN isn’t on the TV or my dog isn’t peeing on the bed. It also helps if my children are quiet during quiet time. It’s a lot to ask, I know. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Happy Writing!

Reviewing a Fiction Book With Tact

I find myself reading less and less book reviews, even tho I spend more and more time on sites like Amazon and Goodreads. Why? It seems that many book reviewers feel the need to dump not only their personal feelings on what happened in a fictional story, but leave an entire summary of the book, dropping plot spoilers about important characters (by name, no less!) or story twists, that are called twists for a reason – they shake things up and turn the story around on a dime so that the reader has that ‘Oh my gosh, I didn’t see THAT coming’ moment that most of us really enjoy in a good Fiction book. Let me just say – summarizing a Fiction book online is NOT necessary to leave your opinion of the book. We aren’t talking about perennials, college textbooks or biographies about people we already know – we are talking about fantasy worlds or characters created to entertain. Summarizing a Fiction book is like stripping it of all surprise factor. It’s just…rude.

So…why do reviewers review this way? I wish I could tell you. With the Indie Author rush on Amazon and elsewhere, book reviews are an important way to make sales. Not the ONLY way, of course, but it makes sense that a book with fifty 4 or 5 star reviews will attract more potential readers than a book with fifty 1 or 2 star reviews. The fact that all reviews are NOT honest from actual readers is a totally different conversation to be had at another time. Back to the why’s: Do reviewers feel obligated to lay out the plot for potential readers because they feel they are a voice of authority? Do reviewers reveal plot twists because they were so excited by them they want to share their feelings? Do reviewers know that their words have the potential to turn off or turn on a potential reader? I don’t have the answers to these questions. But I do have examples (all the following reviews contain plot spoilers – I suggest you don’t actually read them unless you’ve already read the book):

The last book I read was ‘Warm Bodies’ by Isaac Marion. Check out this lower star review on Amazon

Before that I read ‘Save My Soul’ by Kristie Haigwood. Check out this higher star review on Amazon

Not long ago, I read ‘The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden’ by Jessica Sorensen. Here is an example of an Amazon review riddled with spoilers but with one difference – there is a spoiler alert tag at the top of the review to warn potential readers to stave off.

In Nicolas Spark’s ‘Safe Haven’ (another recent read) there are plenty of moments intended for the reader to enjoy WHILE reading the book. Check out the spoilera in this 4 star review on Amazon!

It seems like the Amazon ranking system for reviews is a moot point. My version of a 5 star book could be the equivalent to another reader’s 3 star review. But regardless of the star review rank, one thing is CRYSTAL clear: Reviewers don’t seem to understand how to leave an appropriate review! I am betting most of those same people would hate to be told how a book will end, or be given a play-by-play of what a character goes through. I mean, not many potential readers enjoy that. We read Fiction because we want to be entertained. Personally, I don’t read something I know the outcome to – why bother? My life is busy, reading for pleasure is not something I have the ability to do 24/7, so when I sit down with a book, I want to be able to lose myself in the story and experience the plot twists for the first time. I know I’m not the only reader who feels the same way. The description area of a book online, left by the Author – who can choose to disclose what he or she wants, or the description on the back of the book, is the only thing I personally want to read before buying it.

Another thing that has exploded is the ‘professional reviewer’. Some people actually get paid to review a book. Let’s skip over the conflict of paying someone to leave a *cough, cough* honest review and focus on what professional reviewers do – they read. They they tell us about what they read. And their fan base takes into consideration their thoughts the next time they browse for books. A book is not like the new, nifty laptop you are considering purchasing and want to know EVERYTHING about – good and bad before buying. Books are meant to hold a few secrets for the readers. A ‘professional’ reviewer should obviously know this. So why continue to review books paragraph by paragraph? It’s already BEEN written – by the Author! Tell us how you liked the story and move on, don’t list it all and ruin the plot for the readers!

Sadly, there isn’t much that can be done for the reader browsing on Amazon or Goodreads in search of that next book to read. Amazon should have a box to check for reviewers – ‘Does this review contain plots spoilers?’ that can then bold that review in RED for the millions of us who want to find out for ourselves what happens, to avoid like the plague. Seriously, if you want to leave your mark on the review page of a book, consider that other people will read it. Consider what you want your mark to be. Will you be the reviewer that tore open a book and spilled its guts for the entire world to see, or will you be the type of reviewer that attracts people to your opinions by your own actual words? As a reviewer, I only seriously consider the reviews left by that latter group. If you happen to be the kind of person who ENJOYS ruining the ending of a book or movie, well I have nothing nice to say, so I won’t say anything else to you.

I suggest reading reviews with caution. Some are fantastic. Some are not. But don’t stop buying and reading books. I won’t, Fiction is a fantasy world I enjoy traveling to on a regular basis. Thank you to all the Authors out there for their hard work. And thank you to the reviewers who (whether they liked the book or not) kept their review tactful for the rest of us.

Happy Reading!