Book Report #1: Advice with a Bite
Walking on Alligators: A Book of Meditations for Writers, by Susan Shaughnessy
The usual setup: spiffy quote, usually an author…brief reflection…pithy marching orders.
While this book isn’t written specifically for children’s authors, it’s chock-full ideas about personal psychology and the Human Condition. Everyone should find something that resonates with where they are in life. It was a quote from Anais Nin, of all people, that said something to me:
“The role of the writer is not to say what we can all say but what we are unable to say.”
I chose to write YA fantasy because I think it’s the best forum to talk about things not normally talked about.
For instance, in the novel that I’m currently working on, the mother of my main character is domineering and destructive to the point of mental illness. My critique group, WHO I LOVE DEARLY AND THINK THE WORLD OF, has gently told me that they think she’s over the top. I will wait until I have finished this revision to go back and review the mother-character. However, at this point I think it’s a solid depiction of a certain sick mother-son relationship I have seen several times.
I don’t want to shrink from talking about hard things.
But when you talk about hard things in YA, I think you have to present a way to transcend them, or at least live with them.
That’s what the other 200 pages are about.