Our Masterpieces...Err, Our Novels

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Help Pam Step Into the Light!

Outlining Song of the Day: "Gimme the Light" by Sean Paul

Call me pessimistic, but I don't believe in "happily ever after." The girl doesn't always get the guy, and the only miracles that usually happen to me are when I find a dollar bill in my jeans pocket (which doesn't happen as often as I'd like). Because of this, I like my reading and writing just like my desserts--dark (brownies, fudge cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies? Bliss!).

And it's not like I'm eternally grumpy. I love to laugh (Modern Family is hilarious), and I cry from good news on a weekly basis (thank you very much, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition). Also, I'm a school counselor, so part of my job is to smile and make other people feel better. But the other half of my job is spent listening to students share stories about bullying, broken homes, and other things too disturbing to mention. They say write what you know--and my experience shows me that life isn't always butterflies and rainbows.

But this needs to change.

As Quita mentioned earlier this week, we attended the Mid-Atlantic SCBWI Annual Conference this past weekend--and it was mentioned on the agents' panel that YA is much too dark these days. In fact, some of the agents are hoping for a resurgence in "lighter, humorous" YA. I'd like to take a stab at light-hearted, contemporary fiction--I'm even scrapping my original NaNoWriMo idea to go in this direction. But I'm like Carol Anne, I need help "stepping into the light."

This is where you, my lovely followers, come in. Do you have any recommendations for light-hearted contemporary YA? I'm not a fan of cheesy, but I'd like to know there's more out there than just heartache. Thanks!

11 comments:

Holly Dodson said...

Ooh! A parody. I would *love* to read a parody of the hot YA trends. Not sure if it has been done though.

Maybe that's not really a contemp YA, but it sounds fun! lol

To be honest, I don't read much lighthearted contemp stuff.

Pam Harris said...

A parody is such an AWESOME idea. Hmm, wheels spinning...

Megan said...

There is a Twilight parody called Nightlight by the Harvard Lampoon and it is amazing. I rarely laugh out loud when reading, but this one had me crying.

I think Sarah Dessen or Maureen Johnson would count as light-hearted. They deal with normal, teen-age things, but it's not done in a way that you feel you're being hit over the head with the issue.

Marquita Hockaday said...

This is such a good discussion so far. Parodies... such a BRILLIANT idea! I need this stuff too, so keep it coming!

BTW- Maybe Sara Zarr's Story of a Girl might be considered light-hearted.It deals with teen issues (sex, drugs etc.) but it is not overly depressing.

Abby Stevens said...

Glenna has reviewed NIGHTLIGHT on her blog, I think. I really want to pick that up. I think an AIRPLANE-eqsue parody of YA (in which all the conventions are parodied) that was still actually fun to read and made sense would be very cool.

KO said...

Hmm, I want to help, but it's difficult. I have been reading my a** off, and I still have a ton to read in YA.
Sarah Dessen covers important issues without making them overwhelming. Meg Cabot is very light (I've only read one of her books), much more so than Sarah Dessen.

Racquel Henry said...

Ummmm....er....lol... I don't have anything to add! I'm not an expert in the YA field so I don't really know of any books you could read. In fact, aren't you guys alway the one recommending YA books to me? I like the idea that you told me about on the phone Pam. And since you guys love tv as much as I do, you should draw some inspiration from that. Watch light, funny shows and movies. I often get ideas while I'm watching tv lol :)

Alex Mullarky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex Mullarky said...

I hope the not-so-lighthearted nature of my manuscript isn't bringing you down! :)

Pam Harris said...

Lol, not at all Alex--I much prefer darker reads anyhow. I'll probably be sending you my notes in the middle of next month if that's okay. :)

Medeia Sharif said...

I prefer darker books even though my own writing is light.

I read Meg Cabot from time to time.