Posts tagged ‘california’

March 27, 2011

So . . . is your novel in the Young Adult category?

Is Tardy Son a Young Adult novel? This was asked my by another writer, Kimberly Elkins, after I told her about my novel. I had written most of it already and was on a final rewrite. I never did intend it that way, so I finished it with the same intention, but then took this test she gave me:

Test for “Tardy Son”:

Young adult literature has certain unique features which set it apart. Books for teens are often written in the first person and usually have:
• a teenage protagonist [ YES ]
• adult characters as marginal and barely visible characters [ NO ]
• a brief time span (the story spans a few weeks, yes, a summer, maybe, a year, no) [ YES ]
• a limited number of characters [ NO ]
• a universal and familiar setting [ NO ]
• current teenage language, expressions, and slang [ NO, HISTORICALLY SET IN 1958 ]
• detailed descriptions of other teenagers’ appearances, mannerisms, and dress [ NO ]
• a positive resolution to the crisis at hand (though it may be subtle and never in-your-face moralistic) [ NO ]
• few, if any, subplots [ NO ]
• about 125-250 pages in length (although many of the newer YA books are much longer) [ YES, 225 ]
• a focus on the experiences and growth of just one main character [ MAINLY, BUT NO ]
• a main character whose choices and actions and concerns drive the story (as opposed to outside forces) [ MAINLY, BUT NO ]
• problems specific to adolescents and their crossing the threshold between childhood and adulthood [ MAINLY BUT, YES ]

SCORE:
YES, YA = 4
NO, YA = 9

Conclusion? INCONCLUSIVE, BUT IT REALLY DOESN’T MATTER.
Is the writing good? THAT MATTERS.

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September 21, 2010

Tardy Son Synopsis (Novel #4)

Tardy Son synopsis: (Manuscript now complete . . . Yay!)
When a 12-year-old California boy’s attempt to run away from his abusive home is thwarted, he defies the police, and wages war against his father. His first attempt to escape by jumping onto a freight train bound for San Francisco becomes an odyssey. He wants to start an imaginary baseball team, go to an imaginary school, and become a real writer. But when cornered by the police and angered by the lies his father tells the newspapers, he uses his wit and humor to fight back and publishes his own side of the runaway story which becomes infamous throughout California. “Two crazy people are better than one,” he says. He writes his day-to-day story for his teammates, his girlfriend, and his father to read. When he finally faces his father again, his anger draws blood, yet it also reveals a deeper story. He’s a polio survivor and a Mexican adopted by a white family in the 1950s, so his fight for his truth becomes more than a struggle to survive life on the street—it becomes a struggle to find his own identity.

September 12, 2010

Photo of Words

Here is a photo of a page in a book that speaks of the importance of stories. The photo is by Anne Abrams. The link to her photos is on the home page of this blog.

Book about the importance of stories

September 4, 2010

Tardy Son Synopsis

When a 12-year-old California boy’s attempt to run away from his abusive home is thwarted, he defies the police, and wages a war of words against his father. At first he escapes by jumping onto a freight train bound for San Francisco. He wants to start an imaginary baseball team, go to an imaginary school, and become a real writer. But when cornered by the police and angered by the lies his father tells to the newspaper, he uses his wit and humor to fight back and he publishes his own truth for his teammates, his girlfriend, and his father to read. He’s a polio survivor and a Mexican adopted by a white family in the 1950s, so his fight for his truth becomes more than a struggle to survive life on the street—it becomes a struggle to find his own identity.

February 25, 2010

Mendocino Coast Writers Conference

The Mendocino Coast Writers Conference is held on the scenic northern California coast. I know, I learned to write and swim there (Fort Bragg, CA). Its faculty has included: Barbara Kingsolver, John Lescroart, Ronnie Gilbert, and Gary Snyder. It offers scholarships and contests and nature hikes. I wish I could be there to see Glass Beach, Noyo Harbor, and Pudding Creek. It’s held this year in late July. Check it out at http://mcwc.org.

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