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Tools of the Trade

Colorado Ghost Towns and Mining Camps by Sandra Dallas.

"Moscow Never Sleeps" by Martin Cruz Smith.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.

What is so special about these three pieces of writing? Every single one of them, in some way, helped me write one of my WIPs.

What else is interesting about these three books? Not one of them is a YA novel.

As YA/children's writers we are constantly told to know the market. To read within our genre. To find out what is selling and gobble it up. And this is really fantastic advice. Reading YA gives you the tools to write YA - to understand voice and tone and why first person POV is so dang popular.

But there are tools outside of the young adult genre too. As a matter of fact, every book and magazine article and newspaper out there has the potential to teach you.

So I definitely recommend that you read TWILIGHT and THE HUNGER GAMES and GRACELING and GOSSIP GIRL. But you should also read THE LIFE AND TIMES OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN and THE WALL STREET JOURNAL and THE POETRY OF ROBERT FROST.

A writer's toolbox is full of words and stories, not genres - and stories are everywhere. You just have to look.

~Kristin
Kristin Briana Otts

Kristin is an aspiring YA author with an abiding love for her dog, ghost hunter tv shows, and rainy days.

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7 comments:

  1. I love this advice. I find that I read so much YA that I forget about other types of fiction (and nonfiction) that can often pique my interest. I recently read an adult book and I was kind of relieved by the fact that it didn't shy away from sexuality, the way that a lot of YA books do. So definitely, reading outside one specific genre can be a really big help to your wtiting.

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  2. This is excellent advice. A big reason we read so many different genres from different time periods in high school is because of the way they challenge our perspective and encourage us to think, reflect, and yes, write, in different ways. A writers toolbox is full of all of these things.

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  3. Haha, this is relieving advice, because if there's anything bearby that I can read to pass the time, I will. Heck, even the back of soda cans are picked up if there's really nothing.

    But this is something authors need to know. You can't be a true writer if you never read. It's simple.

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  4. True that. There's a reason why classics are classics and are still being read/ thought about/ discussed today. There are comparatively few YA novels that will have the same staying power. Good for you for being well-read.

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  5. You need to have that last line as a quote somewhere that's beautiful. I think that lookign outside your genre (adult fiction, movies, music, etc) gives you a certain versality as well.

    Great advice!

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  6. Great advice :) I do think sometimes I focus too much on trying to get through all the bazillion amazing YA books that are out right now, and forget the amazing other books!

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  7. Um can I print this off and hand it out? Please?

    One of the best things a writer can do is read a lot and read widely.

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Item Reviewed: Tools of the Trade Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Kristin Briana Otts