Last night I finished off the first draft of my first foray into young adult fiction, which is now in the hands of a small number of test-readers.
This project’s working title is “Action Figures,” and is a super-hero story, which does not appear to be among the more prominent YA genres out there; everyone is doing urban fantasy, sci-fi, or a “Twilight” knock-off. Seriously, take a peek in the YA section of a Barnes & Noble and half the shelf space belongs to horror-tinged romance novels oriented toward teen girls. Yawn.
Anyway, I’m pleased with how quickly and how well this particular project came together, and I credit both to the fact this idea has been percolating in my head for years. I knew full well how the story went, so I was able to produce a fairly tight 43,580-word first draft in one month. I’m normally a fast writer, but I’m actually a little surprised I finished this off as fast as I did, especially since I’m in the thick of faire season, when my creative energy is usually kerflooey.
The bigger surprise for me was how my main character turned out. The story is told in first-person perspective, and that first person is a 15-year-old girl named Carrie — about as far away from me as you can get — and I found her voice almost immediately. I don’t know where it came from. I frequently base characters on real people, friends or famous personalities, in order to get the character’s voice set in my head, but Carrie had no such template. She just happened, very naturally. Read into that as you will.
Initial reaction to the character was very positive. Two of my primary test-readers, my wife Veronica and my friend Kate, thought she sounded very authentic and extremely likable, so, big win for me there.
I’m hoping to get right into a second draft so I can start shopping this around, perhaps before 2011 is out.