5 Ways to Improve Young Adult Fiction Writing- Guest Post #1

First guest post of the month by writer Michael Blaylock

I am beyond thrilled to feature this awesome guest post by the writer Michael Blaylock. He is the author of supernatural/fantasy novella, Ferryman and runs an amazing website called- Fencingwithink.com 

Let’s head to his post now:

Oooookay. So the Young Adult genre and I have a little bit of love-hate relationship. I love many of the concepts, but hate many of the books.

Why? Simple: terrible writing about interesting ideas with poor execution dressed up in sensationalism.

In my opinion.

Granted, I am not in the YA audience anymore. But unless we’ve decided that the YA audience is stupid and doesn’t deserve good books, we still need standards.

So here are five ideas for making Young Adult fiction better.

Or in some cases, just making it good.

1. No More Dystopias

YA is an audience, not a genre. You can write anything. You can write a YA Western, Historical Fiction, Contemporary, even a Non-Supernatural Romance.

So how about we all agree the bleak future where there world is overrun by war and destruction, then taken over by an evil government that likes to oppress its population and make its children play deadly games to prove themselves has been done to death?

What’s that? You like bleak dystopian future stories? Well, then…

2. Better Dystopias

Hunger Games worked (the first one). Why? Because it thought out its history. War ravaged the world, then the Capital came to power and enslaved the other districts, forcing their children to play a mass-murder game as a constant reminder of their power. It’s simple, yet draws on actual political mindsets and the trend of reality TV.

I read that book only once and remembered the backstory.

In Divergent, the world split into personality factions because…um…I honestly can’t remember after reading the book and watching the movie. And if you say, “They explain it in later books,” well then the first book should have been good enough to keep reading the series.

Concepts are only as good as their execution. How did the world get this way? Why? What effect did it have and why those particular effects? Who benefits from the oppression? And how? And why?

In fact, just ask everything about your story “How?” and “Why?” and you’ll fare much better than even the most popular YA stories. Heck, even some non-YA stories.

3. Lead Characters with Character

Darrow from Red Rising is a Gary Stu. He’s perfect except when the plot needs him to not be. His only real talent is being clever except when he’s not. And yet he’s better than everyone at everything. He’s so amazing that the plot just stagnates because there’s no tension.

And I have no idea who he is. He’s angry, sure, but that’s a reaction, not a personality trait. He’s thrust into extremes and playacting without us ever really getting to know who he is when he’s just being himself. As a result, he’s boring and it’s difficult to relate to him.

Sadly, he is not alone. Too many YA female characters are good at fighting, then suddenly aren’t (usually when there’s a man around). And then they suddenly are again, at the least-believable moment (fake tension). Or have a generically-special trait that makes them unique and important in lieu of actual character development (the chosen one).

If you’re going to make me follow somebody for 350 pages (usually in first person), I need to like them. Give them motivation, personality, comfort zones, history, preferences, all those things that make up an individual. In short, don’t just give them situations, give them character to rub against the situation.

4. Love Stories with Actual Depth (or No Love Stories)

Why does every YA love triangle whittle down to Edward vs. Jacob? One guy is mysterious and sexy, but scary. The other is wonderful and available, but bland. How about a love triangle where each option fits the lead in some unique and reasonable way, rather than rehashing the light-vs-darkness love story?

Or how about a love story without the triangle? You know, like most people? And I don’t mean “love story” as in steamy glances and more blushes than the cosmetics industry. I mean characters growing together, appreciating each other, and helping each other. Preferably without a shirtless scene that’s only there because the author read Fifty Shades of Gray but didn’t want to lose her book contract, so she settled.

Friggin’ underage smut…

And here’s one more crazy idea: what if there was no love story? Or perhaps the love story was in the background? How would that push the book in a new direction? It’s almost like the main character would have to actually grow on their own. Or that they can just be friends with the opposite sex.

Or other messages the YA demographic could really use right now.

5. Goodness Without Gimmicks 

This summarizes everything that makes the YA genre function or fail: what is your story like in the downtime?

When your characters aren’t fighting “The Man,” do they have anything interesting to say? Is the dialogue functional and appropriate for the person speaking it or is it rote blabber we’ve heard before? Do you have a story or just a concept?

I made fun of Divergent before because it was a cool idea, but lacked in execution. It had a nice hierarchy and division of peoples, but couldn’t make me believe it. Many YA stories have neat ideas, whether the end of the world, dragon riders, or love stories. But you can’t write an idea. You can only write a story.

Joel Schumaker took Batman and made him a laughing stock. Christopher Nolan came right after him and made Batman serious. Two creators can take the same premise and one will succeed while the other will fail.

Good writing is more than cool marketing and sensational gimmicks. It’s why Hunger Games is beloved, but Mockingjay disappointed. The first knew what to do with the materials it had, but the final book did not (I’m aware deadlines played into the story, but the result is the same).

A good writer chooses the right words, creates fleshed-out characters, and understands the nuances of subtlety and art. A bad writer only has neat, in-your-face ideas. It might make a lot of money, but in the end it will be laughed at, derided, or forgotten.

Good writing lasts forever.

Guest Posts are Welcomed

Here is your chance to feature on Novelacious 😀

What’s up Novelacians?!

I hope you all are in great health. So, I’ve come here to give you some good news. But before that, I heartily thank all our followers for showing Novelacious so much support & love. Okay, so, now, let’s head towards the good news. Since we are receiving good amount of followers day by day, I am giving you an opportunity to promote your blogs/websites by joining us as a guest post writer.

Yes, we are welcoming guest posts by bloggers around the world. Guest posting will give aspiring bloggers a chance to feature on my blog and it is a great way to promote their own blogs/sites. You can join my team for as long as you like, provided that your content is great for my blog. So, I am laying down the rules of guest posting below. Hope I will get some great guest post writers.

Rules to be followed:

  1. This blog is about books & literature, so, you must write your posts accordingly. I am accepting anything from the realm of literature, books and reading. You can submit short stories (fiction/non-fiction), poems, thoughts, book reviews, discussion on any literary topic, books made into movies’ reviews, tv series’ reviews, favorite books and even writing tips for aspiring writers.                                    
  2. You must provide me a snippet before hopping on to write your post.
  3. I won’t publish already published posts.
  4. I’ll need at least 2 posts a month.

P. S. – If, I would like your work, you can be a regular contributor to my blog and I can even offer you an internship with my team.

Thus, these were the rules for guest posting. So, if, you would like to be our guest post writer then, comment below or you can write to us at – novelacious@gmail.com

Stay tuned and happy reading 😀

Cheers! xoxo

Worth melting for you…

Coz some people are worth melting for ❤

“Ignorance is bliss”, they say

and I was an ardent follower too.

Surprises never crossed my way,

only, until you decided to woo.

 

Hugging me with all the love was something

which you did then, and still do.

It’s been a year now, of our togetherness

clearly, it was worth melting for you!

 

Perfect in every sense

like an angelic presence you have been.

For me, your passion is so intense

that our love is a kind no one has seen.

World Book Day & Remembering Shakespeare

“A book is a gift you can open again and again.” – Garrison Keillor

Happy World Book Day guys ❤

In this digitally enslaved world, we have lost many of our readers to the technology. Almost everybody prefers to read online or watch movies instead of putting even a little effort in buying & reading a book. So, taking the advantage of this blog; a global platform, I would really want to appeal to people to buy tangible books and read as much as they can. Books are really magical. If, you are a non-reader then please take a pledge this day to read at least 1 book in your free time. Books carry the power to transport you to a land full of bliss. Trust me, once you will read a book, you will get addicted to reading. By buying books, one not only gets the opportunity to submerge her/himself in the ocean of words but also it’s a great way to encourage aspiring writers. So, buy more & more books and allow your life to be changed drastically. Once a reader, always a reader ❤ 🙂

Also, today is the death anniversary of the evergreen William Shakespeare. I would just want to quote one of my favorite Shakespearean quotes –

“We know what we are, but know not what we may be.”

P.S. – Thank you for such a heart warming response for our previous post about guest post writing. We have received and are still receiving huge amount of mails for guest posting. So, I hope, I’d be able to schedule as many guest posts as possible 🙂

10 Upcoming Thriller Novels of 2017 I am Extremely Excited About

Upcoming Thriller delight list 😀

By now, you all must be familiar with my crazy/insane/neurotic (LOL) love for thrillers. I am a die-hard thriller/mystery fan; they are the bread & wine of my life. So, today I will be listing 10 of the upcoming thriller novels of 2017 I am excited AF about. The list includes some of my top favorite novelists like Grisham & Patterson along with some newbies (for me). You can click the pictures and read their synopsis. You can also pre-order these books by clicking on the image and a link will open which will allow you to order. Since I am a pretty huge fan of thrillers, therefore, I have already pre-ordered all of them. So, let’s get started:-

                                                                                     

If, I have missed out any of your upcoming thriller then, do let me know about it via the comments section 🙂

Cheers!

Moonlight Movie Review – Showcasing Black Lives Matter!

Usually, I don’t review movies but I found it to be an extremely influential one (and also, because it won so many awards). So, I thought I should dedicate one post to it. Thus, here are my thoughts on it :-

“At some point, you gotta decide for yourself who you’re going to be. Can’t let nobody make that decision for you.” – Juan to Chiron (Moonlight)

This is the phrase which reverberates throughout the 74th Academy awards winning movie, Moonlight. Lately, you must have seen a lot of Hollywood movies dealing with the theme of searching one’s own identity, exploration of self or going through an identity crisis. But, one thing those movies never portrayed was the journey of self discovery of a character who is socially, culturally and economically marginalized. This is what the director producer of Moonlight, Barry Jenkins beautifully portrays through the cinematic front.

Moonlight, is basically a bildungsroman of an African-American boy called, Chiron. The story is set against the time when there was a crack crisis (drug-dealing) in Miami city. The timeline of this movie is divided into three parts. It begins with Chiron in his early childhood, then his struggling teenage years and finally, concludes with Chiron being a fully grown up man. Audience is served with three broad social questions as soon as the first part sets into motion. The first two obvious questions being the cultural & economical marginalization faced by an African-American in a white man’s land. Third being the question of homosexuality. Chiron is called, “little” at school because of his homosexuality and he has Paula, who has completely failed as a mother due to her obsessive addiction with drugs. The unfortunate part is that he is neither aware of being gay nor has someone to talk about it. Finally, he finds a father-figure in Juan, a drug dealer, who probes Chiron to find his own identity and come to terms with it.

But soon, Juan is also snatched away from Chiron by the hands of death. Then, comes the second phase, where we see Chiron stepping into his teenage years. He is already carrying a ruptured psychology and a mother who is a non-existent entity in his life. He is still bullied for being gay. But, amongst all this, his friend Kevin comes to his rescue. He provides him the familial support and even helps him understand his sexuality. There is a scene where they kiss each other and share some intimate moments on a moonlit beach. Soon this also fades away when Chiron gets arrested for hurting a fellow student.

In the third and final phase, we see Chiron coming out of prison and becoming a dealer of drugs. At this point, he forgives his mother for failing terribly at motherhood and is reunited with Kevin. Although, Kevin is now married to a woman, he expresses his discomfort towards the ways things turned out for him. This shows how most of the black gay men are impelled by the society to confirm to hetero-normative relations. Chiron confesses his love for Kevin and the scene ends with the two embracing each other.

Undoubtedly, it is a must watch movie and Barry Jenkins has done a marvelous job. He has provided a prestigious place in the cinema to explore the potentials & struggles of “Black Lives”.

What are your thoughts on this movie? Have you seen it yet or not? Or are you planning to watch it anytime soon? And do you think I should do movie reviews along with book reviews? Share your opinions in the comments section below.

Cheers! 😀

The inner and outer joy called LOVE/ Happy V Day 😍

Shakespeare gave us the true definition of love ❤

Being in love is like walking with an invisible halo of happiness around you. The most precious inner and outer joy called love transports you directly to a fantastical la la land. And, we celebrate this magical love on Valentine’s Day with our loved ones, although, I truly believe that we should celebrate it every day. I believe when you are with the right partner, your every day is gushing with love. But Valentine’s Day for me is an opportunity to express my side of love since I’m not that expressive. It is a day to convey to my valentine how much I love him and to thank him for being the perfect substitute of missing perfection of my life. So, I’m dedicating this Shakespearean sonnet to my special someone and all the lovebirds out there 🙂

Sonnet 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
   If this be error and upon me proved,
   I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Yeah, Love’s not Time’s fool

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – By Stieg Larsson

Review Time 😀

“Everyone has secrets…it’s just a matter of finding out what they are”, this true-to-the-core phrase, printed on the cover of this book, is exactly what this book explores throughout. “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, is the first book of the millennium trilogy, written by the spectacular author, Stieg Larsson. This is the only trilogy that Larsson wrote and denied us the pleasure of reading more of his works because of his early death. It feels very unfortunate when we lose such precious authors to the God.

So, coming back to the review of this book, I would say it is a perfectly pieced murder-mystery narrative, dealing mainly with incest, psychopathology and sadism. The plot revolves around the industrialist Henrik Vanger’s obsession with finding the murderer of his grand-daughter Harriet and is sure, that the murderer is none other than someone from his own family. The frame of the plot is very simple – somebody had killed Harriet and there is a lookout for the murderer. Now, the twisted part comes in when we get to know that it’s been 40 years to the killing (even her body could not be found) and someone sends a pressed flower frame, every year, on the occasion of Henrik’s birthday. Sending a pressed flower frame is like a ritual that Harriet used to do before her disappearance. So, it is quite clear that, definitely, the murderer is some family member who knows about this ritual but the question arises who could it be?

So, this is the basic plot and then, we meet Mikael Blomkovist, a financial journalist, who is entangled in his own plot. He had a wrong story published about some big tycoon and is, now, facing charges for defamation. Mikael is our protagonist, in future, he is appointed by Vanger to find out who killed Harriet. Now, this is what I loved about Larsson’s narrative, he makes a journalist to be the crime-solver of this nearly-impossible-to-solve case. Usually, in other crime-mystery narratives, we see that a detective or a police inspector is on the lookout for the killer but here a journalist is hired to do so.

Since, Larsson himself was a journalist, so, this book completely justifies that there is no better detective/investigator than a journalist. And, you will love Blomkovist for being an extremely relatable investigator. He won’t behave extraordinarily, like Sherlock or someone with super powers, his mind works exactly like you and me. He would commit mistakes, jump onto wrong conclusions and you would feel lethargic when he would feel so. This is why I loved Larsson’s characterization because his characters are with similar daily life problems like we do. Next is the character of Lisbeth Salander (she is the girl with the dragon tattoo) who is a psychologically problem adult. She has a very unique personality, especially on the physical front (spikes, tattoos, piercings). But she is a brilliant computer hacker and it is with her aid that Blomkovist is able to solve the crime.

Undoubtedly, I would recommend this novel for sure and there are 2 more in the trilogy which I would try to get hands on asap. The story is so engaging that you will find your fingers denying to let go of this novel!

I am not spilling any beans because I want you guys to read it and get the savory taste it offers for yourself☺

A Walk To Remember In Kerala <3

Back from the vacay, time to review the books 😀

Hey Kindred Spirits,

I’m sure you must be wondering where did I vanish after promising an exciting year ahead. Well, actually, I was on my dream trip to Kerala (the southern state of India). I had a week long vacay there and it was so much fun. I was enjoying myself so much that I didn’t want to catch the flight and go home. But, as we know, our professional commitments need us so I (with a heavy heart) had to catch that flight and head back home.

It was one of the trip that would stay etched in my memory forever. The peaks & waterfalls of Munnar, the divine Alahpuzha & Cherai beaches, Marine Drive walkway, the greenery of coconut & palm trees and of course, the Keralaite culture is something thatI won’t forget ever in my life. This once-in-a-lifetime experience gave me the golden opportunity to walk with & into the nature since Delhi (my home) is more of a throbbing-with-crowd city. And, as Shakespeare once said – “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”, I find myself fortunate enough to visit Kerala, God’s own country.

So, I am including some of my vacay pics which I’m sure would be tempting enough to make you visit Kerala once in your lifetime. And, now, coming back to the novel reviews – I have recently done reading of Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and will be posting its review anytime soon. Also, currently, I’m in the process of reading another fantastic book by Marquez, “Hundred Years of Solitude”.

church

  gorgeous-beach kerala-diaries kerala sunset-at-cherai-beachmesmerizing-waterfall    beach-fun     c360_2017-01-14-12-32-07-331

Meanwhile, if you have any suggestions to make, feel free to flood my comments section below!
Lots of love xoxo :*
Happy reading ❤