Tag Archives: tips

Jackie’s 17 Steps for Drafting Your Young Adult Novel

I’M BAAAAACK! MISS ME, BITCHES?

It’s been a nutty couple of months. I’ve been doing job searching while also finishing a draft of a Young Adult novel (aka YA for the uninitiated). It may or may not ever see the light of day (aka the shelves of a bookstore), but I’m pretty proud of having finished it. So proud, in fact, that I thought I’d share the wisdom I gained throughout the writing process for all my 17 blog readers. YOU’RE WELCOME.

Step 1: Come up with an original, never-before-imagined idea for your book. HAHAHAHAHA LOL J/K THERE’S NOTHING NEW UNDER THE DYSTOPIAN CHILD-KILLING-GAMES-MY BOYFRIEND-IS-A-VAMPIRE SUN; pick your poison, put your twist on it, and move on.

Step 2: Draft a detailed outline of your book, including key plot developments, character introductions, and emotional arcs. This one is easy: open a word doc and begin with Chapter 1. Then, halfway through outlining Chapter 1, give up and just begin to wing it because who has time for this shit?

screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-9-01-14-am

Step 3: Write about 5,000 words of your book and feel pretty good about it. You know what? This isn’t half-bad! Teens would like this, right? RIGHT?

Step 4: Re-read your first 5,000 words and realize they are TERRIBLE. Oh my God, my dog could have written this. Why am I even trying? WHY AM I EVEN ALIVE?

Step 5: Cry

Step 6: Remember the E.L. James is a published author of poorly-written plagiarized fan-fiction and get your shit together. YOU CAN DO THIS, YOU WILL DO THIS!

Step 7: Get to 25,000 words and feel pretty good about it. You like your protagonist, and you hate your villain. There’s real conflict here, and some humor. You’re a good writer, you really are!

Step 8: Re-read the 25,000 words and remember that you are the worst writer to ever walk the Earth and also a terrible human being. OH GOD WHY DID I DO THIS? I’m a worthless hack. I’m going to go eat everything now.

Step 9: Cry while curled up into a ball on your bed and devouring a bag of pretzel twists dipped in an ENTIRE TUB of cream cheese while re-watching Star Trek: Voyager on Netflix. To be fair, this is my coping mechanism for all my setbacks in life, not just writing-related fails.

Step 10: Remember that if she could see you now, Captain Janeway* would tell you buck the fuck up, guzzle some black coffee, and get back to work, Ensign! I’m sorry, Kathryn, I was weak. I WILL KEEP WRITING RIGHT AFTER I STOP THAT WARP CORE BREACH AND PREVENT THE BORG FROM ASSIMILATING THE SHIP, CAPTAIN!

janeway-borg-meme

Step 11: Read a really good book by an excellent author and come to peace with the fact that you will never be that good but at least you can write grammar real good; and know how to do punctuation and stuff and things.

Step 12: Damn it.

Step 13: Finish your draft! Wow, what an accomplishment! Even if no one reads this, you’ve written a fucking book–how many people can say that?

Step 14: Go on Twitter and realize everyone and their mother has written a YA book just like yours. Fuck.

Step 15: Edit your manuscript which primarily deals with the lives of teens and realize that you have no idea about the lives of teens. I think I made a reference to desktop computers in there…do kids even use computers these days? Or do they operate their smartphones via chips embedded in their brains that allow them to send Snapchats with the firing of a single neuron? HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO FIND OUT ABOUT THIS? I guess I could ask an actual teen, but…ew, amirite?

Step 16: Shake your fist at the sky and curse the day that the first members of Generation C were born. Little bastards expecting their lives to be accurately depicted in literature–don’t they know that you are OLD AF RN?

Step 17: Remember that Generation C will soon supplant your Millennial Generation as the most hated of all time. Steeple your fingers while laughing maniacally at their forthcoming generational pain. NOW GO BUY MY BOOK, KIDDOS!

THE END

*I apologize for the obligatory Star Trek reference as I know certain people (ahem, L**) think all I do is talk about “Star Trek, Star Trek, Star Trek,” but I’ve basically just embraced being a ridiculous obsessed nerd so…yeah, get over it. 

**J/K, L, you know I love you.