Young Adult Creative Writing Workshops (YACWW)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Online Chat with Jamie Martinez Wood

YACWW invited Jamie Martinez Wood on Thursday, November 20, 2008 to chat with the 6th Grade class at Riverhead Charter School on Long Island, NY.

Check out the words of wisdom Jamie had to share with the students at RCS.

For more information about this YA author check out her website at

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Exciting Rap Trailer for Simone Elkeles New Release!

Simone Elkeles, author of Perfect Chemistry has put together this absolutely fantastic rap trailer for her YA book. She’s got two versions, the uncut and the G-rated. I watched the uncut. It’s clever, it’s hip and it’s a must-see. I won’t say any more. Get yourself over to her website and check this trailer out. Tell me what you think and tell me you don’t want to go out and buy this book.

Major kudos to Simone!

Coming in December 2008!

A modern tale of star-crossed lovers with a fresh urban twist. At Fairfield High School, on the outskirts of Chicago , everyone knows that south-siders mixing with north-siders can be explosive. So when Brittany Ellis and Alejandro “Alex” Fuentes are forced to be lab partners in chemistry class, this human experiment leads to unexpected revelations – that Brittany ’s flawless reputation is a cover for her troubled home life, that Alex’s bad-boy persona hides his desire to break free from gang ties, and that when they’re together, life somehow makes more sense. Breaking through the stereotypes and expectations that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart, Perfect Chemistry takes readers to both sides of the tracks in a passionate love story about looking beneath the surface.

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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Blast from the past Interview with Agent Maya Rock

This interview originally happened in August 2006 on YACWW

MAYA said...

I'm a new agent at WRITER'S HOUSE LLC looking for good transportive fiction, especially literary and historical. I enjoy Young Adult fiction, romance, memoir, self-help, inspirational, non-fiction, and stories of people at the edges of society.

Bring on the questions!

Lyric said... Hi Maya. Can you please list the word count difference between middle level and young adult. If an agent says they accept YA, does it mean they accept ML too?

Maya said...Middle grade is from about 10,000-50,000 words. Young adult is about 40-60,000. If an agent says they accept YA, I imagine they prefer it to middle-grade—the term YA definitely doesn’t encompass YA and middle-grade. But if they say they do children’s, that does run the gamut from picture books to middle-grade to YA.

Amanda Brice said...I also have a question for Maya. At RWA this weekend, several agents mentioned that they're seeing booksellers starting to cut back on thenumber of "edgy" YA titles they order and that the market might be wanting sweeter YA's (not quite innocent, but not super edgy either) least from the parents. Are you seeing this as well? Also, how hot is the YA market right now?
What types of themes and are you personally looking for?
Finally, (I know, I'm curious) at a workshop at RWA with Nadia Cornier and Simone Elkeles, they broke YA down into 4 age groups:Middle grade (10-13)Tweens (12-15)YA (14-16)Older YA (15-17)Do you agree with these breakdowns and what would you say is the word count for each of them? Should we just call it "YA" in a cover letter and a suggested age target?

Maya said...Personally, I think edgy YA is too broad a category to ever die. The problem becomes when too many writers are writing things that are just too similar to other books out there. The market can’t handle too many generic copies of previous books. There will always be room for edgy books that do something new. I think, anyway. King, and Carl Hiaasen have all been hugely successful in this genre.

This breakdown seems accurate to me, though perhaps a bit too scrupulous. The big distinction I make is between Middle Grade and Young Adult, which I discussed above. I don’t really think these separate breakdowns merit different word counts. The answer to your last question seems to me to be “Yes.”

Dancewriter said...I write both YA and Women's Romance and I put out a lot of material. But I need to switch agents -- mine just isn't doing anything for me. It's lame. But it's so hard to GET an agent...I'm hesitant to let go, even if the lifeline is sinking! What do you suggest?

Maya said...It depends on what you mean by your agent isn’t doing anything for you.
A lot of people feel if their agent sends their manuscript out to editors and it doesn’t get sold, it’s time to get a new agent. But your new agent might not want to take on a book that has already been rejected by other publishers. Does your agent take your calls? Respond to your questions? Share with you her plans for selling your books? Does she love your work? Is she working hard on your behalf? That’s a good agent, even if she (or he) hasn’t been able to sell the book.

However if she doesn’t do these things or you are just not comfortable with her, then maybe you should let go. If you’re looking for a new agent for a book that’s already been rejected by ten or more publishers (this is not an official number, just one off the top of my head), you might encounter some resistance from agents. It might be easier to submit a new work if you can and mention that you have another one that’s been seen by X number of editors. And it’s good to mention you had an agent, and a nice touch to say “you parted amicably.” Do not say, “My old agent didn’t work hard enough for me” as that sends up a big warning flag.

Sasha said...What are you waiting for in young adult literature that you haven't seen yet and wished you could?

Maya said...This is a great question. I think it’s easier to say what I’d like to see more of—I’d like to see more people that were really in touch with today’s teen. It’s a really hard way to be, but I love when people can handle the slang and the computer stuff, the music and the magazines—the authors who really know what today’s teenagers are doing. I find that fascinating. Also I would love to see more things that were genuinely funny. Too much of the humor in YA seems to be too forced.

Harried Mom said...Hi, Exactly what is transportive fiction? I've been listening to a variety of Lois Lowry's works on CD while driving. Does that count?

Maya said...Transportive fiction is a term I came up with to describe the kind of fiction I liked. Of course it’s also possible I just read it somewhere and forgot where. I did hesitate before using it since Word put a red squiggly line underneath indicating it was it was misspelled.

I just like fiction that takes place in strange places, times, or otherwise fully realized settings that I may not be familiar with. I’m just curious about other cultures—whether it’s somewhere across or the world, or just down the street.

I cannot be the final judge of what counts. Your transportive fiction may be different than mine.

Sasha said...What is your pet peeve?

Maya said...I don’t like clearly unresearched work—this particularly stands out with historical and scifi.

Colleen Kosinski said... Do you have any good suggestions of a YA novel that switched voice from third to first. My novel starts with an intro in third and then back to the protag in first.

Maya said...Nothing comes to mind and that could be because switching perspectives can be problematic. It is critical that you avoid disorienting the reader. Perhaps the third person intro could turn out to be something your protagonist wrote?

Sasha said...What advice would you give a teenager looking to break into the world of publishing?

Maya said...As a writer? Write a lot and read a lot and spend tons of time on your work. If you write something great, it will get published. It’s a problem if you spend significantly more time trying to get published than working on your writing.

As someone trying to work in publishing? Summer internships. They don’t pay much but they look good on your resume.

Danica/dream said...I have a question for Maya Rock. I'm writing fiction and nonfiction (self help/ inspirational). Would I need a seperate agent for each, or does that depend on the agent?

Maya said...It depends on the agent, although most agents I know take on fiction and nonfiction.

Sasha said...Maya, what makes you decide about taking on a new client?

Maya said...I don’t usually take on clients based on what I think the market really wants—it comes into play, but it’s hard to change my own personal taste just because I know something is popular. Right now I wish I could get more good historicals in both adult and young adult. My own historical taste is very particular, and sometimes it seems difficult to find the ones that have fantastic, relatable characters but also seem genuinely to take place in another era.

Amanda Brice said... Also, how hot is the YA market right now? What types of themes and genres are you personaly looking for? (I've got a YA mystery series)

Maya said...YA is very hot. Personally I like historical, scifi and deeply psychological books. But I’m ok to anything, really. So much has to do with the quality of the writing, not the genre. Anyone can query me at (no attachments please, but first page can be copy-pasted)

Rhonda Stapleton said...Maya - what YA paranormals are hot right now, and what's been overdone to death?:D

Maya said...Good question. I had to get help for it!

I asked my colleague, Diana Fox, to field this one since she is much more into paranormal than I am. She says, "The entire YA paranormal genre is very hot right now! I think the most successful books are the ones which use tried-and-true YA formulas but with the addition of a supernatural element, as in BLUE BLOODS by Melissa de la Cruz which is essentially Gossip Girl with vampires, or AVALON HIGH by Meg Cabot which is a teen romance with the main characters cast as reincarnated figures from Arthurian myth, or high school cliques at a new school through the eyes of a girl who can see auras in GOLDEN by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (just to give a few examples). You could call this theBuffy model because TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed, and Roswell really helped sell the supernatural as metaphor idea as a staple of teen popculture, and it's an incredibly versatile one for writers because they can do everything from comedy to serious issues... and that's why I don't think anything has been overdone to death, because it's all in the execution. It's easy to say oh yeah, vampires are so overdone, but you know what? Vampires remain enduringly popular for a reason, and for every tired unoriginal treatment of a cliché you can also hope to get a new vampire novel like Stephenie Meyer's TWILIGHT, which readers respond to because it's a timeless story. I personally keep hoping someone will send me the Great American Werewolf Novel--maybe set in high school with cheerleaders--but seriously, all it takes is one great new twist on an old idea!"

Sasha said...Maya, is there any particular type of YA lit or adult lit that editors are clamouring for right now that you wished you could get your hands on?

Maya said...I still hear the clamour for edgy and paranormal. For me personally, I would really like to see strong characterization. Too often I feel like I am just reading about generic teen, and not a real personality. I like to fall in love with characters and get beneath their skins. To me a novel could be any genre and I would fall for it if it made me feel the characters were real.

Last but not is what Maya had to say for her last question.

Lis said...Hi, my question is where do you see the YA market headed and what do you think has been overdone to death?

Maya said...In my humble opinion, fantasy has been overdone to death. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t demand, just that I, a former fantasy lover, feel like the quality has gone down in this genre since so many have started tackling it.I see YA increasing in popularity and hopefully drawing more closet (or uncloseted) adult readers to it. I’m not a big trend forecaster as I just go with my gut in terms of what I take on, but I feel there’s room for more SF and more serious books—but that’s just what I find hard to locate when I go to the bookstore, not necessarily where it’s headed.

Sasha said ...You rock, Maya!
Thanks for coming out and chillin' with us.

Hey, don't forget to mention you met her on YACWW!

For more details visit

Saturday, March 15, 2008

NYC Writers Conference

Getting Past the Gatekeeper Panel - 4/12, NY, NY

WHAT: Getting Past the Gatekeeper Panel, which is part of the
NYCIP's New York Round Table Writers' Conference. Attracting
writers of all levels from beginner to seasoned professional,
the two-day conference provides access to the nation's
leading literary figures, including editors, agents, publicists,
reviewers, bestselling authors and publishers, speaking on
the business and career of writing. The conference, now in
its fourth year, has built up a considerable reputation for
quality instruction from knowledgeable publishing insiders.

WHEN: Saturday, April 12, 4 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.

WHERE: General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen Library,
20 West 44th Street, New York, NY

Jessica Sinsheimer, Sarah Jane Freymann Agency
Laura Walsh, Wiley & Sons
Marcela Landres, Editorial Consultant

For a list of all my upcoming workshops, visit
Info courtesy of Marcela Landres
Editorial Consultant
Helping writers get published.
Writer's Digest 101 Best Web Sites for Writers

Friday, February 22, 2008

Upcoming Conferences Spring 2008

Have you heard about these upcoming Children's writing conferences?

24th Annual Children’s Literature Conference April 26, 9:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY
Fee $99, Lecturers to be announced
Co-sponsored by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators
Here’s an opportunity for published and aspiring writers and illustrators to
gather with librarians, educators, editors, booksellers and all others who wish
to create or share good children’s books. The program features two general
session speakers; six special-interest groups (from which students may choose);
and a panel of two children’s book editors, who will critique many randomly
selected, first-manuscript pages submitted by registrants. Be inspired to begin or
complete that children’s book you’ve always wanted to write!
For registration or more info

6th annual Hofstra Network of Education Teachers (HNET) Conference, March 8, 8:30am - 2:00pm
Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY
The fifth annual Hofstra Network of Elementary Teachers (HNET) conference is open to all prospective and current elementary teachers and administrators. Workshops explore elementary and early childhood literacy, mathematics, science and social studies, as well as how to land your first teaching job. Admission is free. Teachers receive a staff development letter for submission to their districts. Keynote speaker:Beth Dykstra Van Meeteran “Are Constructivist Classrooms Unstructured?”
Iowa early childhood master teacher and author
Free to general public
For more info or to register officially, you need to email with your name, address, home phone #, school, and email

For more info on Hofstra Events visit

International Women's Writing Guild
Annual Conferences around the USA, Ongoing dates
The IWWG, founded in 1976, is a network for the personal and professional empowerment of women through writing and open to all regardless of portfolio
For more info check out
Or download their registration form

Information courtesy of (permission to reprint)

Utah State Valley College (USVC) Forum on Children's Literature, March 20 & 21
Utah State Valley College, Orem, UT.
The annual Forum on Children's Literature will feature Caldecott Medalist David Small, Newbery Honor recipient Kirby Larson and Simon & Schuster editor Alexandra Penfold. The conference features workshops, peer critique groups, book signings and more. Details at

Colorado Christian Writer's Conference, May 14-17
Estes Park, CO.
This major conference covers a wide range of topics of interest to the Christian writer. Three full days of panels, workshops and addresses. More info:

The Native American Literature Symposium, Many Voices, One Center, March 27-29 Minneapolis, MN.
Panel discussions, readings, exhibits, demonstrations, and workshops highlighting the heritage and impact of Native Americans on current American literature.

For more info on upcoming conferences in your neigborhood.
Go to

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

February Market News Update

Love is in the air! And so are some new opportunities for wiriters.

Courtesy Marcela Landres
Visit her at

Voted best industry new websight by Editors and Preditors 2008!
Susan B. Katz is a literary agent with East/West Agency specializing
in the representation of Latino authors and illustrators, including
clientele in Latin America, Spain and the U.S. Her authors range
from writers who are already well established in the children's
market to astronauts and politicians, all with a unique story to tell.
For more information, contact:
Registration deadline: February 15
Dates: February 27 to March 2
The first Mid-South Creative Nonfiction Conference features two
programs: Making Memoir and Journeys – Travel Writing. For
more information, visit:
Deadline: February 15
A prize of $1000 and publication by HarperCollins are given
annually for a book-length poetry manuscript by a student
currently enrolled in a college or university. For more information, visit:
Registration deadline: February 22
Date: March 8
Location: New York, NY
Bella Stander and top-notch publicists, media trainers and recently
published authors provide real-world advice and tips in an intimate,
lively, and collegial forum. Class size is limited to eight, so there is
abundant individual attention and in-depth discussion. For more
information, visit:
Deadline: March 1
A fellowship of $10,000 is given annually for a work-in-progress of
fiction by a U.S. writer who has not yet published a novel. Novels as
well as novellas and collections of closely linked stories are eligible.
For more information, visit:
Deadline: March 15
A prize of $1000 and publication in the Colorado Review will be
given annually for a short story. Antonya Nelson will judge. For
more information, visit:
Deadline: March 15
A prize of $3000 and publication by the University of Nebraska
Press are given annually for a collection of short fiction. For
more information, visit:
Deadline: March 15
A nine-month fellowship, including a $16,000 stipend, is given
annually to a Christian writer of poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction
to complete a first book. For more information, visit:
Miami-based educational publisher seeks three editors in K-12
publishing. The ideal candidate needs editorial experience and
Spanish language skills. The publishing company will pay for
relocation expenses for the right candidate. All resumes should
be sent to:
Penguin's Dutton and Gotham Managing Editorial department is
looking for an Associate Production Editor to handle production-
editorial responsibilities. The position requires: 4-year college
degree or equivalent work experience; minimum 1 year prior
production-editorial, copyediting, or managing-editorial
experience in book publishing; excellent copyediting and
proofreading skills; ability to multi-task. Please email resume,
cover letter, and salary requirement to;
indicate "Dutton/Gotham Associate Production Editor" in the subject line.
Do you have an idea for a book, but don't know where to begin?
Are you ready to submit your work to agents or editors, but want a
professional to polish it before you send it out? Did you get rejected,
and wonder what's wrong and how to fix it? I can help. For more
information, visit: and click on Services.
E-mail announcements about contests, calls for submissions, jobs,
book publications, literary events, etc., to
If you like my web site, please nominate it for next year's Writer's
Digest Magazine's "The 101 Best Web Sites for Writers" list. Send
nominations to with "101 Best Web Sites"
as the subject line and a brief note explaining how has helped you. Thank you in
advance for your support!
Visit and
click the "Join This Group!" button.
Visit and
click on Messages.
Visit and
click on "Edit Membership."

Free Writing Children's Books E-zine

Everything you wanted to know about writing a children's book or illustrating for children's books is right here. Sign up and get the first e-zine for free!

Check out

Saturday, December 29, 2007

So the Drama... Drama Club!

Drama Club Series by Peter Lerangis
Reviewed by Kevin Ferral

The DRAMA CLUB series is definitly for the 10-17 crowd. Lovers of teen love stories, drama, or passionate in reading will enjoy these stories. The humor is witty, flashy sentence structure and speech to boggle the Gilmore Girls, and unique charcters provide an enjoyable experience. Sadly, I must say realistically, this book [might] be missed,...for the typical passerby in a library or store it will most likely happen [as it] isn't a noticable piece of work (and probably is overshadowed by the flashier High School Musical series from Disney).

THE FALL MUSICAL (Drama Club) The first book is told from the perspective of the new girl in town, which is the best way to approach the DC(or Drama Club in the book's jargon. Doing so places the character in the shoes of the reader. The two, you and the main character, view a new place, people, and situations which is a refreshing way to begin a story. But that doesn't neglect an underlining annoyance brought on by the unknown past of the main character. The main character, Casey, comes to the school to escape her past, but the reader doesn't find out why exactly until later. The suspense comes from periodic mentioning of her disturbed past and how it affects her without revealing too much. Granted, later in the story, a great catharsis of the main character is made, but that doesn't make up for the irritation experienced early on. Throughout the story there are numerous humorous moments, awes, and, of course, DRAMA. A typical teen/tween book set in high school life.

THE BIG PRODUCTION (Drama Club) is the second story tells from the previous main character's major influence into the DC, but sadly the previous main character has a minor role. The story has the same key enjoyable humor set in the previous installment, but emphasizes more on other characters' drama and development. The middle of the piece's mood is darker and gloomier. An introduction of typical teen temptations sets in with parents, crushes, drugs, and the stress of life. Everything we've seen, or rather read in this scenario, before.
But don't get me wrong, this is a great book. Something I encourage others to read.

The characters of DRAMA CLUB by Peter Lerangis are lovable and indeed have development, but lack essential originality. Luckily the series narrates from different charcter viewpoints, and this provides different preferable styles of writing that will appeal to the masses.

Drama Club: The Big Production and The Fall Musical are available now at

Learn more about Peter Lerangis.

Praise for Thirteen Reasons

Thirteen Reasons by Jay Aasher has been reviewed by Book Page
"It's a serious read, for serious readers, that delivers a powerful laook at teens in torment." James Neil Webb, Book Page, January Issue 2008

For more reviews check out