What I'm reading
At YALC (see below! :D), I bought new books. :D So I started reading More Than This by Patrick Ness, and devoured it in less than a day. It's so gripping, and goes in directions I never expected (I'm pretty sure it defies genre). So. Good!
I finished Fearsome Dreamer by Laure Eve, which blends genres in a really interesting way.
I read We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, which I also got from YALC. Wow. o.O I'm still not sure what I thought, but it certainly gripped me hard (and gave me a book hangover!).
Now I'm reading Noble Conflict by Malorie Blackman.
What I'm writing
I spent most of last week in the editing/proofreading cave with my Darkworld books. Now I'm back in the editing cave again with my MG fantasy. Getting closer...
What inspires me
YA is definitely inspiring me this week, especially with the success of the UK's first YA Lit Con! It was sooooo awesome to see so many people who love YA in one place, and that the event was such a success - hopefully there'll be many more to come! ^_^
What else I've been up to
Well, on Saturday, I went down to London for the UK's first YA Lit Con! :D I met up with Cole, and also saw Laura and Sophie throughout the day. YALC took place within London Film & Comic Con, and it was PACKED - I've honestly never seen so many people in one place (and I've been to London Expos before!). But as I set out ridiculously early (which involved getting up at 5 a.m. o.O), Cole and I managed to get inside before the queues got totally insane...
And a bookshop, where I caved into temptation, as you can imagine...
...there were quite a few people there. Just a few. o.O
But it was amazing! :D Seeing so many people in one place who loved YA, meeting "our people", wandering around the Comic Con and spending money...
I also went to the two panels I was really excited for, the first of which was called Bring Me My Dragons, a discussion of contemporary fantasy with Ruth Warburton, Amy McCulloch, Frances Hardinge (who was absolutely hilarious), and Jonathan Stroud.
There was a really interesting discussion, first on the definition of YA, in which the panelists agreed that YA isn't just an age category - which is why you can, in some cases, have older/younger protagonists and still be classified as YA. Some adult books have teen protagonists, too, but YA books have a certain outlook. Jonathan Stroud said he writes books to appeal to all age groups, and that "young adult" is a grey area, seeing as so many people of different ages enjoy YA. Frances Hardinge writes "coming of age stories with revolutionary tendencies", and with a YA frame of mind and a readiness to question. Amy agreed that YA is a state of mind rather than an age category, and Ruth said that YA has a tendency to be more fearless and open than adult fiction.
There was also a brief discussion on violence in YA, and how YA deals with the same level of violence as adult books but in a more considered, thoughtful way.
Then they discussed the qualities of the hero in YA, and the panelists all had interesting things to say! Two things I picked up on were that YA heroes must have the capacity to change, and that they must be a kind of "everyman" (identifiable to the reader) but also have some special quality that makes them unique. Then they discussed villains and complexities, and how in middle-grade there seems to be more of a tendency to separate characters into good and evil. With YA, there's more opportunity to explore shades of grey and challenges from within the characters - for instance, in Amy McCulloch's novel The Oathbreaker's Shadow, the hero and villain start off as the best of friends. Thought-provoking stuff!
There was an open Q&A, and one person asked if the panelists had any tips for writing fantasy for young adults. The two main tips were to research the world thoroughly, and have a set of rules and stick to them!
Up next was the "Heroes of Horror" panel with Charlie Higson, Darren Shan, Will Hill and Derek Landy. Topics discussed included violence, and the panelists made a very good point that up until fairly recently, YA didn't exist and teen readers went from reading Roald Dahl to reading Stephen King. So YA caters for the "in between" stage, generally with the same level of violence as adult books but with a less bleak, cynical outlook. Having read Darren Shan's gripping Demonata series...yep, that's definitely gorier than many adult books I've read! Derek Landy talked about YA horror as a "gateway drug" to adult fiction.
My phone (which I was using to take notes) chose that moment to die a tragic death, so I didn't get as many notes as I'd have liked to, but I was thrilled to get my new copy of Noble Conflict by Malorie Blackman signed! I met the Children's Laureate and the genius who created this event! ^_^
And then it was time for the long journey home. With all these fabulous goodies!
Obviously, I had to buy a Toothless and a minion. :D
So that's it! I'm so happy the event was a success - go, UKYA! I'll absolutely be back next year - I'm hoping to stay for the whole weekend next time!