Thursday, August 18, 2011

From a YA to a YA Author

Hey, Lizzie here! I'm not sure if Les is planning on posting today or not, so I decided to post something I put on W.O.C..
I'm going to offer my help to authors writing for my age range. If you'd like some YA feedback on your book, feel free to email me either a small portion of your novel to your entire manuscript, and I will give you take on it. I also critique queries, pitches, and synopsis'. What I look for in books:
1. I want excitement and un-expected twists--I do not want to be able to predict the whole book from the first ten pages.
2. I want detail; you don't have to go droning on for five pages about the weather, but I do want to be able to view the picture you're painting.
3. I want quality--act like you're writing this book for someone close to you, not as if YA's shouldn't have as much quality any other age range.
4. Make it your own. Don't go copying something that's been written a billion times. Refresh me. Give me something new.
5. Make me fall in love with the characters, make me feel what they feel. Make me empathize with them, cry with them and laugh with them.
6. Endings shouldn't always be happy. I'm so sick of everything turning out amazing at the end--make it bittersweet.
7. Do not plan on charging a ton of money for your book. I am not--am not--going to pay ten dollars for a book when I can get five for the same price. Always make sure that you have an ebook available for less than five dollars.
8. Don't change your book a lot based on the opinions of another person--it's your book, you should be the author of it.
9. Have a well written prologue; they make the reader die to know the rest.
10. Whatever length it is, so be it. There are excellent short books out here, as well as some amazing long ones. I'm personally a fan of huge books, but I don't like it when the author tries to stretch out a 60,000 word manuscript into a 150,000 word manuscript and appear to be some sort of J. R. R. Tolkien.
11. Don't be cheesy. I hate cheesy romance, as well as all other forms of cheesiness. Seriously. It makes me put down the book and recommend to all of my friends that they shouldn't read it.
12. Don't be gruesome--yes, I love action, but that doesn't mean I need bloody scenes to be described in to much detail.

I hope this helped you!~Elizabeth


  1. When I start writing again I may take advantage of this offer. :) It is certainly a generous one.

    It's interesting to know your criteria for stories. I think most authors/writing instructors would agree with #8.

    Of course, with #4, Lewis said: Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.

    While I think a lot of people would agree with most of your criteria, it may be helpful to remember that it is your opinion--not true for every reader or writer.

    I'm not sure what you mean by #7. Would you mind taking the trouble to clarify it for me, please?

    P.S. I'm excited to see you girls are getting new followers!

  2. What I mean for #7 is that if an author decides to go into self-publishing, they shouldn't charge a lot for their book. I also mean that a lot of YA's aren't going to have the money to want to buy a $10 book, but will probably spend $5 or less. I know what you mean about this being my opinion, I'll make sure I clarify that on some of the forums I'm going to be putting this on.
    P.S.I know, I'm so excited about it!~Lizzy

  3. Oops, I meant to ask about #11. That makes sense about #7. :) Thanks for answering!

  4. Oh--all I mean by #11 is making things overly cheesy, especially romance. Like this one part in Breaking Dawn, for example:

    Bella: "The moon is so beautiful tonight, Edward."
    Edward:"Not nearly as beautiful as you."

    This isn't word-per-word, but you get the gist of it. I can take a little bit of romance, but it has to be realistic. Otherwise, how can other people relate to it?~Elizabeth