Okay, admittingly, I'm a little late to the party on this--but Hannah Moskowitz's take on the state of YA was quite compelling. I wanted to respond as soon as I read it, but I was a little nervous. You see, I've only officially been writing YA for a year, but I've been reading the novels pretty much my whole life. All in all, I don't consider myself an expert of the community, but I'm a very strong advocate. So, during my year as a YA writer, albeit unpublished, here are a few highlights:
- I got to read TONS and TONS of really cool books and discovered that some of my favorite authors are actually YA writers (I'm looking at you Elizabeth Scott, Ellen Hopkins, and Courtney Summers).
- I got to start up a fun blog about my journey toward publication with one of my favorite people (my cousin, but only because she cooks for me and tells me that I'm her favorite writer. She's pretty much useless besides that :) ).
- I got to "meet" really cool people in the YA online community (we heart the ladies of YA Highway around here, and Blue Lipstick Samurai is a rock star who bakes the BEST cookies).
- I got to attend some really awesome conferences which helped me improve my craft (how great is SCBWI?).
The list pretty much goes on and on about how much I love everyone in the YA writing community. But, I have to admit, there are some things that worry me:
- The "hate" bandwagon: where everyone despises certain books and makes fun of it to the point where I'm embarrassed to be seen in public with said books. I'll admit that not everyone book I enjoy will win any "best writing" prizes, but it's okay to read just for fun every now and then. It's just like the movies. I'm a sucker for Oscarworthy films (hello? The Departed?), but sometimes I just want to have fun with my friends and pop in Transformers.
- The "love" bandwagon: where everyone lauds certain books and I read them and have this reaction: But that's fine. We don't all have the same taste. I can't stand Peeta. There, I said it. But I know that that he's one of the most beloved characters in YA right now. I know that if (I mean when :)) I ever get published, they'll be people who'll most definitely hate my books--and I'm cool with that. I just don't want people to be afraid to admit that they dislike them just because we're friendly over the Internet.
- The blogging contest: and I don't mean holding contests on your actual blogs. I LOVE me some blog contests--I enter as many as I can, and we'll probably be holding a few more in the near future. But it's like we're fighting to get followers. And I'll admit, I glance at my followers list from time to time and keep my fingers crossed that someone new will "like" me. But that same energy we use to get people to come to our blogs should also be applied to our writing. My cousin and I took the summer off from blogging, and though I know we lost a few of you because of that, we got soooo much writing done. And that's freakin' awesome.
I want to make sure that everyone knows that I'm not ranting. I LOVE the YA community because you've all accepted my cousin and me with open arms (it was so cool running into people at SCBWI LA this past summer. You're real!). I love the fact that we're uber supportive of each other and I never want to lose that feeling. I just want us all to remember that we love writing for teens and that's where our true focus should be.