Monday, May 26, 2014

Subgenres: It's All Good

by Lynn Lovegreen

I love chocolate, and my favorite treat for finishing a draft or other milestone is a bar of dark chocolate. But sometimes I’m in the mood for a peanut butter cup, or milk chocolate, or a mocha.  Many of us do the same with our reading habits. There may be one kind of book we read most often, but we like a change now and then. New Adult (NA) romance allows you to do that too.

Most NA books I’ve seen are contemporary, and most of those are set in cities and college campuses. They are great reads, and that setting will be a perennial favorite. But there are emerging subgenres of NA romance that are fun, too. Here are a few examples of novels and novellas just to give you an idea:

Paranormal:
Drip Drop Teardrop by Samantha Young (novella)
Persephone's Orchard by Molly Ringle

Historical:
Worth Her Weight in Gold (Gold Rush Series #1) by Lynn Lovegreen (novella) (Sorry, couldn’t resist!)
Come Back by Melissa Maygrove

So how can these be NA? Because they are true to NA themes.  As the popular site NA Alley states (at http://www.naalley.com/p/about-us.html), 
“We view New Adult fiction (NA) as a category of literature—meaning, it gives readers expectations, but it does not dictate genre-based criteria. Typically, a novel is considered NA if it encompasses the transition between adolescence and true adulthood. 

Protagonists generally fall between the ages of eighteen and twenty-six, though exceptions may apply. NA characters are often portrayed experiencing: college, living away from home for the first time, military deployment, apprenticeships, a first steady job, a first serious relationship, etc. 

Other terms for NA include: Upper YA, Crossover Fiction, and Mature YA.”

We all fit under that umbrella. In my opinion, we make NA stronger by including a variety of subgenres, whether it be setting, characters or other features that distinguish us. We all care about the same kinds of things, and explore similar themes. As readers try more NA, they will appreciate having more to choose from. So it’s all good. 

* * *

Lynn Lovegreen grew up in Alaska, and still lives there. She taught English for 20 years before retiring to make more time for writing. She enjoys reading, hanging out with friends and family, and hitting targets with a cowboy action shooting club. Her young adult historical romances are set in the Alaska Gold Rush, a great time for drama, romance, and independent characters.

See her website at www.lynnlovegreen.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Tumblr, and Pinterest.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Geeking Out! How I Started Writing

by Wendy Bennet

I always wonder how people got their start in writing. Where did the passion come from? What did others write when they started?

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t reading or writing. Not to say the writing was good, mind you. I started writing poetry because I loved to read poetry. Probably why I went on to get my Bachelor of Science in English with a Concentration in Creative Writing and an Emphasis in Poetry (Yes, that's the full title because I'm a geek). Here is an example of an early (but not earliest) poem.





I’m assuming my work got better, because I did pretty well in my program. :)

My original career goal was to be a hockey beat writer at a newspaper. Preferably a newspaper in Detroit, so I could write about my beloved Detroit Red Wings. My earliest writing was articles about hockey in general, and the Wings in particular. I watched or listened to every game I could (even the French radio broadcasts of Montreal games). I wrote articles about issues and players that were of interest to me. I kept stats on EVERY game...



^^stats notebook circa 1988^^


^^stats notebooks in the early 90's^^

After 20+ years, I am revealing my inner geek...on the Internet.

Those original articles gave me a great idea! Write articles, summarize scores around the NHL and record it on a cassette! And with that - my Hockey Center Broadcasts were born. 





I feel really bad for my uncle who had to listen to these taped broadcasts. I don’t know if he really did, or if he just told me he did - and I don’t need to know. It was the fun of writing, recording and having the guts to hand it over to let someone listen.

I still get puppy-peeing-on-the-floor-giddy with excitement about the writing. There’s a thrill about creating characters and writing scenes. Why is giving it to someone to read so difficult now, when years ago I was begging for the attention?

Because my uncle was a safe environment. I knew he wasn’t going to tell me how bad they were - and they were bad! >.< But putting myself out there now isn’t a safe environment. It’s going to be rejection and criticism. I've developed a tough skin since my childhood years. Not saying it will be fun, but it will help me learn the craft and get better at doing what I have always loved to do. And that’s the point, right?

Geeking out on hockey is how I got my start. How did you get yours?



* * *

Wendy Bennetta proud Detroit native, is a NA writer who fell in love with reading, writing and hockey all before she became a teenager. She did not, however, fall in love with snow. So after graduating with an English degree from Central Michigan University, she moved to the warmth of North Carolina for the remainder of her winters.

Wendy spends her days chasing after her two, high-energy sons and writing things she wants to read. When she’s not chasing her crazy kids or pecking away at her laptop, she enjoys reading, watching her beloved Detroit Red Wings, and rocking out at concerts with her husband.

She is currently working on her first novel, a contemporary New Adult romance featuring a hot hockey player hero.

Tweet her: www.twitter.com/wmb313
Be her friend: www.facebook.com/wendy.bennettauthor.5
Stop by her website & blog: www.wendymbennett.com

Friday, May 9, 2014

Amazon Gift Card Winner

Congratulations to Janette (@jderucki) who is our lucky Amazon Gift Card winner! We'd also like to thank everyone who participated and appreciate all the support and kind words on the new blog. It is greatly appreciated!

Monday, May 5, 2014

It’s All Subjective – Thoughts from a Contest Coordinator

by Carla Luna Cullen
“Writing is a subjective business.”

How often have you heard that? How often have you told yourself that, after feeling frustrated by another rejection? 

My recent experience as a category coordinator for a local RWA chapter contest showed me a lot about subjectivity. As the Young Adult coordinator, I got to see everything: all the YA entries, all the scores, and all the judges’ feedback. With twenty entries and three judges per entry, I ended up reading through sixty returned entries. (Part of my job is to review each one, to make sure the judges left comments, especially in the case of low scores).

This is where subjectivity came into play. A few of the entries stood out, with high marks across the board, but the rest were all over the map. Judge #1 might love an entry and praise it highly, while Judge #2 thought it was in the middle of the pack, and Judge #3 thought it was “meh.” A few times, an entry would get two low scores, but the third judge would love it and give it a nearly perfect score. Sometimes I couldn’t believe that two people—experienced writers with a solid record of judging—could react so differently to the exact same piece of writing.

In the end, the difference between the rankings often came down to a point. One point out of sixty.  That point might be because the judge didn’t connect with the main character, or was tired of that particular genre, or loved another entry a little bit more. This is not to take anything away from the finalists, but to say that many of the other entries were equally good. 

Querying can be just as subjective. Maybe you’ve done everything right: personalized your query, double-checked your grammar and spelling, and crafted your hook until it shines. But maybe that particular agent has already read three queries that resemble yours (same genre, same retelling, same historical time period) in the slush pile that morning. Maybe she wants your genre, but not your take on it. Maybe your opening lines didn’t grab her. Someone else might feel differently. Another agent might think, “I want this. I have to read more.”

As readers, we’re equally subjective. Stephen King is a best-selling author, but not everyone likes horror, or even enjoys his wordy writing style. My teenage daughter and I frequently share YA books, and it’s amazing how differently we view the same book. Sometimes I’ll pick up a work of literary fiction—one that’s received strong reviews—only to put it down before I reach the halfway mark. It might be beautifully written, but it’s not for me. 

So don’t let a low contest ranking or a rejection deter you. When judges give you feedback, take it under consideration, especially if more than one judge brings up the same issue. If an agent is kind enough to give you a personal response, take note of their comments. But remember that much of writing is subjective, and that one person’s rejection might be another person’s full request.

What about you? Have you ever experienced widely differing feedback on your work? If so, please share. We'd love to hear all about it!

* * *

Carla Luna Cullen is a YA and NA writer who lives in Wisconsin with her husband and two teenagers. In her pre-kids existence, she worked as an archaeologist on projects in the Mediterranean and the Middle East. When not writing or reading, she spends time hanging out with her children and trying to keep up with their technology. She also loves baking, listening to Broadway showtunes, watching movies, and going for long walks, where she plots diabolical ways to torment her characters.

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/carlalunacullen/

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Welcome to Winsome and Wild and a Giveaway!

**The giveaway is now closed and the winner will be announced later today! Thanks!

Welcome to our new blog launch! We are so thrilled that you dropped by! Please sit down, put your feet up and relax a bit.

What’s this blog going to be about, you may wonder? And just who are we?


Well, we are an eclectic mix of writers who met through an online writing workshop, and we are all in different stages of the writing journey. We write in different genres and range from being unpublished and published and everywhere in-between. And although we differ along this spectrum, one thing unites us, our love of creativity and the written word.


We decided to create the Winsome and Wild writer’s group to keep in touch, since the writing path can often be a lonely one. It makes all the difference in the world when you are part of a supportive group, when you have a place where you can celebrate, commiserate, share, and learn with people who understand exactly what you're going through.


This blog is simply an extension of that, so we hope you follow along and share and learn along with us. We look forward to getting to know all of you a bit better.


And, in honor of our new blog, we also have a $20.00 Amazon gift certificate to give away (will be sent by email).


To enter, simply leave a comment here no later than May 8th!


The winner will be announced on May 9th.


Good luck, everyone!


The Winsome and Wild Writer’s Group