Thursday, June 7, 2012

Wild Ink Review

Wild Ink: Success Secrets to Writing and Publishing in the Young Adult Market 
by Victoria Hanley
Prufrock Press, May 1, 2012

Summary from Goodreads:
What do you need to know to break in to the flourishing young adult (YA) market? With humor and a solid grounding in reality, author Victoria Hanley helps readers understand the ins and outs of the YA genre, how to stay inspired, and how to avoid common mistakes writers make in trying to reach teens. This book includes unique writing exercises to help readers find their own authentic teen voice and dozens of interviews with YA authors, blogging experts, editors, and agents to give inspiration and guidance for getting published. Chapters include writing exercises and self-editing techniques tailored to YA, along with encouraging words on dealing with self-doubt, rejection, and lack of time.
This book is a great resource for anyone looking to jump into the world of writers. I was very honest when asked to review this book: I am not a writer and I don't think I will ever become one. I used to write in high school (poetry and short stories) but haven't since then. I would love to, but I just don't think I have anything to say.

Anyway, while I'm not a writer, I am, of course, interested in the writing and publishing processes, so I agreed to give this book a read.  Overall, I was pleased with it (and a lot of my high school Creative Writing class lectures starting coming back to me). This book could be considered a handbook for writers looking to hone their craft or become published, or even for people who think they might like to try writing, but aren't sure how to start.

Most of the content in this book would apply to the writer of any kind of book, not just YA. Still, I felt that some of the most important information was gleaned from the series of interviews at the end of the book. Hanley interviewed agents on what they look for in potential clients, editors on what an ideal query and submission might look like, and several YA authors (MT Anderson, David Lubar, and Lauren Myracle, to name but a few) discuss their writing process and how they handle rejection. This is real, practical information that any writer seeking publication will find useful. In addition, there are many resources provided for anyone who would like to further their research.

The one fault I will find with this book is that, while it is a great technical resource for writers, very little attention is given to actually writing for the YA market. Yes, there is a chapter on the different genres of the YA world (although I really can't wait for the day when "multicultural" and "LGBTQ" are no longer genres--I mean, we don't have a "heterosexual genre," do we? But I digress.), and yes, many of the interviews are with people working in the YA field (or all, in the case of the author interviews), but I just wish there had been...more...YA. Hanley uses two novels in her chapters on writing--Pride and Prejudice and The Hunger Games--which is awesome, and I totally appreciated only using two, to demonstrate continuity. It just seemed like there was something missing. Perhaps some side-bar quotes from teens about their favorite books, or about books they hated? Something to make this writer's guide stand out as a YA writer's guide. Overall, though, anyone looking for information on the world of writing and publishing will find this an interesting read.

Received book from publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Enjoy your reading!

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