Friday, March 20, 2009

The In Between...

Soccer Practice starts tonight! Now I need to run to Sports Authority because Thing One has outgrown her cleats since last season. Her feet are getting HUGE!
Thing Three needs new cleats too. He's been doing winter soccer, but complained of his cleats feeling a little "tight" the last two games. New soccer cleats all around, I guess.

That's my main chagrin about kids--they grow out of everything so fast!! Urgh.

We got our pinewood derby cars finished, and we're scrambling because the Derby is tomorrow and they WEIGH TOO MUCH! One is 5.30 oz. and the other is 5.25 oz. Thing Two's car last year was 4.95 oz--just .05 under the limit! We got lucky with that one. We're trying to figure out what we can take off and lose. .30 oz really isn't a whole lot...

I literally spent the whole day yesterday on the computer, researching agents. And I only found a handful that I'm truly excited about. My YA fiction is very juvenile and "safe" with very little cuss words and no sex whatsoever. And I'm looking at all these agents with sales in edgy, dark YA, and I'm thinking, we need to get back to the wide-eyed innocence of the 80's novels. Maybe I'm outdated because my characters don't do drugs or get abused or raped, but frankly, I think being a teen is depressing enough, why would you want to READ a depressing, edgy book?

So, I guess my book isn't a true "YA" but it's too advanced for Middle Grade, so what does that make me? Somewhere in between? Juvenile fiction isn't quite right, either. My friend Brenda brought this up. Maybe we should invent a new genre: "Happy Young Adult!" ;-)

When *I* was a teen, I was horribly self-conscious--to the point where I was nearly retarded, and I loved the "happy escape" books provided for me. You know, the "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" type books. Books that took you away, and had a HAPPY ending.

The trend these days is towards the DEPRESSING, if you ask me. I want an escape, for Pete's sake, not to be pulled into the personal hell of some abused teen trying to make a better life for him/herself.

Or maybe it's just me.

It's a tough market out there. I guess we'll see!


Anonymous said...

One of the reasons I love the "juvenile fiction" of the 1900s - 1940's is because they deal with important issues, but there's a lot of joy and lightheartendness. They also paint an interesting, if somewhat disturbing picture of society at the time, with their depictions of racism, sexiam, etc., yet they are still fairly "innocent" , in your use of the terms. I'm talking in terms of books like the Penny Parker, the Vicki Barr, the Sue Barton -- that sort -- the Stratmeyer stuff. You can look back on it and, in a way, drop your mouth to the floor at some of the depictions, and roll your eyes and say it's an "idealizied" in many ways, view of childhood, but it also gives a snapshot of the time, warts and all, but in a way that winds up still feeling positive at the end.

I get the sense that that's what you're going for (DIXIE DUST is kind of like that, as you'll see when you read it this summer). I think there's room for that.

I also think that marketers act like the minute someone turns a particular number, they become a different person and read different things. I started reading Shakespeare at age 8, and, in my 40s, I still read stuff like Vicki Barr and Beverly Gray.

I think kids are capable of understanding a lot on a lot of different levels, especially when they come from households where reading is encouraged and books are actually discussed -- "this is where this book differs in what our family believes and why" or "the choices made by this character have x consequences, so don't think, just because it's a book, it's the best choice" -- that kind of thing.

Write what you love -- the market is there, but it will be more work on your end to get it out, because heaven forbid those who are paid to market know how to do so effectively.

It's going to be less of finding the right agent than the right editor.

Michelle Miles said...

I agree with everything Devon said.

I truly think there's a market for what you're writing. After all, you have a lot of teen angst in those opening pages. YA is ages 14-21, but I also think you have wide appeal to adults and I think that's what will help you sell.

Just don't give up. You'll find a home for those fantastic book. I know it.

AGSoccerMom said...

I had to buy my girl child 2 pair of cleats last season because she out grew them and she just told me her toes are at the end again. Good news is I get another pair of cleats, I don't need since they are my size bad news my 11 year old girl has size 7 men feet.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you 100% Teenagers today are messed up enough without living out someone else's tortured life. We need to have the pendulum swing back to happy endings without all of the terrible things that are out there. Maybe there would be less violence in our schools, colleges and other locations that people go to commit terrible crimes they see enough of that on the news and on the “so-called” games played on their handhelds. I guess me being one of the old-timer Dads is why I feel this way, but it has to stop somewhere, why not in our literature? Can teens read today? DAD