Sunday, July 12, 2015

Writing #QuietYA

I happened across a new-ish hashtag today - #QuietYA - and it inspired this post. Inspired because I'm working on a manuscript, two actually, right now that I think qualify as #QuietYA. There's no vampires, no swearing, no love triangles, no flashy-flash. I've shopped them both a bit to agents and editors and each time they're read, they've been rejected. One agent who said it was really good writing, better than most of what comes across her desk, but no, she can't sell it.

Maybe its because my manuscripts aren't the biggest concept or a retelling of something everybody already knows. Those seem really hot these days, but I've never been one for retellings. What I write is #QuietYA. It's character-driven, emotional stuff and I get the feeling its not what big publishers think people want to read. And maybe it isn't what most people read, but there are readers out there who enjoy #QuietYA. I've met them. I'm one of them. And I'm ok with that. I kinda like being quiet sometimes.

I remember years ago when I first wanted to write YA, everything I saw marketed for teens was super gritty, serious stuff about anorexia or rape or suicide. (That was before the Twilight craze that brought fantasy back, which I'm actually really glad for.) I wanted to write for middle graders and teens, but it didn't seem like I wrote the kind of stuff that was being published. I spoke to a published author at an Idaho Writer's League conference about my fears. Was there any room for me in publishing?

I don't recall her exact words anymore, but as they say, I do remember how she made me feel. Her answer was, and it still is, yes, there is room in publishing for #QuietYA. There are readers who want quiet, poignant, thought provoking stories.  With that author's encouragement, I started to write the stories I'd always wanted to.

I still worry about marketability and I still fret that quiet stories are passed over far too often for the flashy titles. But I found my own writer's voice and wrote the stories I wanted to read. I'm happy with that. It's where I want to be. Peace~

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