It feels like I’ve been reading predominantly young adult for years, but in actuality I didn’t “get into” teen fiction until I wasn’t one anymore*. I’m certain I’m not alone in this (similar experience anyone? Anyone? Bueller?), so I won’t pretend like I was special or precocious as a teen. I don’t know what would have been teen fiction in the late 90s and early 00s, but I know what I read wasn’t it.
For one thing, I didn’t read to the volume I do now. I fancied myself an artist, and I thought I would go on to design characters for animation and video games. I wrote with communities of similarly geeky people in incredibly involved story lines, but I never thought I’d go on to be a novelist. It was a hobby, just writing games**.
Young adult also didn’t exist like it does now. There was Harry Potter (the first book came out when I was in grade seven — at the time I thought I was too old to read it), Artemis Fowl, and others, but the first section of the bookstore I’d go to would be horror. I didn’t want to read teen fiction because I thought I was beyond it.
In my teens, I discovered some of my favourite authors — Neil Gaiman, Chuck Palahniuk, Clive Barker. I read Simon Logan’s collection of short fiction, I-O, and then I read it again. And again. To date, I don’t think I’ve reread a book as many times. (It’s no longer published in print, but it’s available on Smashwords for $1.49USD.)
I read novels like Girl, Interrupted, The Bell Jar, and Prozac Nation because I had a morbid fascination with mental illness, dealing with a disorder of my own. Arguably, all are young adult since I believe the authors were in their late teens when the books begin. It’s, uh, been a while.
And then there are the books I read for school — The Lord of the Flies, The Great Gatsby, Animal Farm, all almost cliched for classroom reading. But we also had a brilliant Canadian Literature class featuring books such as Kit’s Law by Atlantic Canadian author Donna Morrissey, The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx, The Stone Carvers by Jane Urquhart, The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje, and a number of others.
At twenty-seven, I’ve been reading teen fiction for six or seven years now. Obviously, I no longer believe I’m “beyond” teen fiction, though I am choosy in what I read. And I don’t regret not reading it as an actual teenager. From a writing standpoint, I needed to read Neil, Chuck, Clive, and Simon to understand what I love to write, and how I create characters, and what my voice is. They taught me how to break genre boundaries, and create worlds outside of the box.
Let me know what you read as a teenager below in the comments. I’d love to hear! (Or just poke fun at me for how ridiculous I looked as a teen. Sigh.)
* There will be post about this one day.
** And probably at least two about this.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013 // Comments Off
This week’s question: What are some non-writing blogs, Tumblrs, Twitters, Pinterests, Instagrams, etc., that you follow and get inspired by?
This one was tough.
I don’t follow any non-writing-related blogs, but everyone I follow on social media inspires me in some way — but, considering I follow 317 blogs on Tumblr and 117 people on Twitter, it’s hard to pin down many specific places of inspiration.
As far as Pinterest go, as it’s newer on my list of social media outlets I found it easier to pinpoint the truly inspiring pinners: Fellow writers Holly Black, Dawn Kurtagich, and Lisa Mantchev should all be given a visit.
Check out the lists below (categorized, because that’s how I roll) for more. Not that I imagine very many write about post-apocalyptic circuses or abandoned hospitals filled with terror, but just in case.
Ask The Circus – Full of art, photographs, and videos related to the circus.
#lucent dossier – One of my tracked tags on Tumblr ~ the brilliant Lucent Dossier.
The Grand Vizier – Pinterest user with a definite circus theme.
Horror – A board of scary things.
Horror Movie Freak – An amazing Tumblr of horror movie goodness.
monsters irl – Probably one of the hugest Pinterest boards on horror out there.
Pumpkinrot – Unique and creepy Hallowe’en decorations from an amazing artist.
Skulls & Bones – Art and miscellany devoted to skeletons.
Post-Apocalyptic | Urban Decayblog carnival, circuses, horror, i like to mention my favourite writers a lot have you noticed that?, inspiration, links, linkspam, post-apocalyptic, road trip wednesday, scary things, ya highway
Sunday, May 5, 2013 // Comments Off
- Music | One of my favourite musical artists of all time, Poe, recently posted a few clips to YouTube and PTCH, revealing that new music could be in the works after eight years of silence. The following is short, but very haunting:
- Writing | Brain Pickings‘s post on The Daily Routines of Famous Writers is inspiring, intriguing, and makes me really, really wish I was writing for a living. The rest of the blog is fantastic as well, full of great posts on writing and reading.
- Check out WritingHelpers for this massive list of tips on writing. It’s brilliant.
- This is probably one of the handiest tips I’ve seen in a while, from Shannah McGill.
- My friend Dawn Kurtagich and a few other writers have put together a pretty fantastic blog called Fox Force Four. They post tremendously helpful articles on everything from writer’s block to self-publishing to writing process.
- Food | Pesto is one of my favourite things ever, and TheYummyLife has compiled The 25 Best Pesto Recipes. Ermagerd.
- Now that summer is getting closer, I just want to eat smoothies. All the time. For every meal. This article and infographic is adorable and fantastic and has some great ideas on smoothies for every occasion. linkspam, miscellaneous, personal posts, randomness
Thursday, May 2, 2013 // Comments Off
This was actually the Road Trip Wednesday topic for yesterday on YA Highway (best book read in April was, anyway), but I obviously failed at getting it up in time — work and real life got in the way, as always.
Anyway. Here are the books I read in April. A bit late. Don’t judge.
Favourite Book Read in April
Of course, anyone who’s listened to me go on about books over the past month knows the answer to this one: The Archived, by Victora Schwab. This book ruined me. I haven’t been able to read another novel since — I’ve been poking through Shards & Ashes, an anthology compiled by Melissa Marr, but nothing has been holding my attention. This may be my favourite novel read so far in 2013.
I fell in love with The Archived the moment I read that first chapter. The writing is exquisite, the world-building is brilliant, and it has all these little bits and pieces that I love. The apartment setting, the library of the dead, a strong female protagonist who interested me far more than her male counterparts, long hallways with endless doors …
At the same time, it was a book I found difficult to read simply because it made me want to write. It made me want to create with the same attention to detail. The same brilliant execution of original mythology. I have it for my Kobo, but I have definite plans to purchase a print copy as soon as I can.
Other April Reads
Yeah, I failed at getting much reading done this month. I did however read …
Rock Your Revisions: A Simple System for Revising Your Novel by Cathy Yardley
In my neverending quest for a really good book on editing (Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne is my favourite thus far), I grabbed this for my Kobo and gave it a quick read. It didn’t give much information that I didn’t already know from personal experience and searching the web, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. You can find it on Goodreads here.april 2013, books, reading, the archived, victoria schwab
Tuesday, April 30, 2013 // Comments Off
Writing Diary is a regular post every couple of weeks where I touch on what’s going on in my writing life — whether it be updates on what I’ve been up to, snippets of writing, or posts about the process.
I wrote a book.
Back in late summer 2012, my life went through some changes. My Diablo III buddy stopped playing, so suddenly all those hours spent dungeon-crawling (or chatting in tiny boxes while my character shifted from foot to foot on screen) ended. We had almost beat the game on Inferno mode too. What a jerk*.
So, in true bored Ley fashion, I wrote another book. I wasn’t expecting to finish the first draft before NaNoWriMo ’12 began, though I’d certainly hoped to. In a way, the rush to complete the book before NaNo started helped me set a deadline.
Ley works very well on a deadline. My first completed novel (first draft, anyway) was written before NaNoWriMo ’09, while my second completed novel (again, first draft) was written during. It’s after that deadline ends that things get tricky.
The first novel I ever wrote and completed made it to its second draft before I trunked it. In hindsight, this was largely due to the huge influx of angel/demon novels and the realization that I would never be able to sell it. The way publishing works, if the trend** is currently going on with released books, that means it’s already passed for the agents and the publishers who buy the books.
Anyway. I wrote a book. And then I edited it over the span of a couple of months. And as I reread it for purposes of finishing the third draft — soon to be followed by letting another person read it! Eep. — things are becoming scary. By the end of the year, I could be querying agents.
But first: more editing. I’m hoping it gets easier after the second draft.
* A couple months later we started dating, so I don’t really mean it. (Okay, kind of.)
** Thank god that vampire trend passed, amirite?