I recently participated in an interesting discussion about adults purchasing YA books and whether this is a good thing. Of course, I do think it's a good thing.
My friends at Type M for Murder, a popular crime fiction blog, asked me to do a guest post about things editorial for them. Some tips for writing, some "what editors do" discussion.
On November 13, I was pleased to give a talk to the Capital Crime Writers, the venerable Ottawa-based crime writing group. I was invited by my good friend C.B. Forrest, whom I've edited three times, and each of his three Charlie McKelvey novels is a gem. Also in attendance were old friends and successful Canuck mystery novelists Barbara Fradkin and Mary Jane Maffini, in a supportive observational capacity.
I talked about lots of stuff — from some dos and don'ts of crime writing and writing fiction in general, to mutually beneficial strategies for working with an editor (and the necessity of hiring one!) to the realities of book publishing in our current epoch. By which I mean the decline of traditional publishing and the rise of genuinely workable self-publishing. I attempted not to give short shrift to either option, though I do believe that self-publishing is increasingly becoming a good possibility for a writer, which it was not really in the past.
Hopefully the accumulated wisdom, such as it is, of my years working in publishing and editing tons of people was of value to the attendees.
The crowd was pleasant and responsive and asked a bunch of great questions. And Forrest himself was a charming moderator, as one would expect.
The wife and I enjoyed a lovely trip and I look forward to seeing the group again someday.
One of my favouritest clients ever is Kat Kruger, who has written a really boss YA speculative fiction trilogy (well, 2 of the 3 so far, anyway). Her books are pretty damn hip and spectacularly written, some of the coolest YA I've read. She turns the whole werewolf thing on its head in The Night Has Teeth and The Night Has Claws, and provides really great insight into the writing process in this interview. THIS is how you do an interview, author folks. (and how you publicize yourself well in the process)
I've had the pleasure of editing two novels by a talented young author named Scott Carter, who is only now starting to get his due. Scott takes on interesting and difficult topics and has a dark sense of humour of the sort I've always appreciated. You should read his novels (the other one is Blind Luck).
Here's a very erudite and interesting interview with Scott upon the recent publication of his novel, Barrett Fuller's Secret.
And Scott wrote an interesting column in the National Post as well.
I was reminded that I did an interview a couple of years ago about revising a mystery. I commented particularly on my pet peeve, which is unbelievable characters and especially unrealistic dialogue, which is a plague upon the world of fiction. Authors simply must have their characters talking like the people they are in their time and their demographic, otherwise no reader is going for your story.
Author David Weedmark (award-nominated poet and also a fine crime novelist) interviewed me. The questions were toughies but give some insight into my mindset about editing and about the industry.