September 14, 2011

Focus on Editing YA Fiction: Upcoming Class from Pamela Greenwood

Editing young adult fiction was a natural for me when I started doing developmental editing, since I’ve been writing and publishing in the field for about fifteen years, read in this genre, and participate in a young adult book discussion with several other writers and children’s librarians. Fiction techniques apply across genres, from mainstream adult novels to mystery, romance, historical and speculative fiction, to novels for middle graders and teens. But publishers—and young adult audiences—have specific expectations.

One new publisher of young adult fiction, Musa, has an interesting take on what makes YA fiction different: “Part of the fascinating conflict inherent in every YA novel is that a teenager has to handle trouble that he or she isn’t experienced enough to handle.”

An effective writer goes on the journey of discovery with that character, without talking down, without teaching what the writer has already learned through life experiences, with respect for the new challenges in today’s world.

In responding to a writer’s young adult manuscript, an editor will be most helpful when taking these aspects into consideration. The class I’ll be teaching online this October will provide an introduction to—or a deeper understanding of—the current field of young adult fiction. Participants will be analyzing such issues as how to be age appropriate, experiment with voice, and reveal backstory in a way that urges readers on.

There’s a step beyond being able to recognize what’s working and what isn’t in a manuscript: communicating it respectfully and honestly to the writer. This course will build on those values and skills instilled in all the Author-Editor Clinic’s offerings. It’s one of the things that drew me to the Clinic, and I’m pleased to be carrying it through to working with young adult novels. I hope you’ll spread the word about the upcoming session, to editors interested in this age group or to writers with their own works-in-progress. There’s more about the class on our website, along with a FAQ that can be downloaded.

Thanks for sharing the information,
Pamela Greenwood

Editor's Update: Find Pamela's class on editing YA fiction here.

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