Yesterday thanks to Express Media there was a YA Mini-Festival held at the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne which was a fabulous, informative day.
The keynote speech was given by Steph Bowe (author of Girl Saves Boy), a workshop about structure with Lili Wilkinson (author of Pink, Scatterheart and others) and voice and character with Penni Russon (author of the Little Bird, Dear Swoosie and more) followed by an industry panel with all three authors.
For a young lady of sixteen, I have to say, Steph Bowe conducts herself with such maturity beyond her years. She is softly spoken, speaks eloquently and answers questions thoughtfully. It's just an observation, but one I'm finding is shared by others.
What Steph had to say
She writes because she can't stand NOT writing. She goes a bit crazy if she doesn't do it.
She believes that to be an author, you can't get by just on talent. Writing takes practice and perseverance.
Teens often get a bad rap, they're called bad writers. But Steph believes this is probably because they haven't been around as long. They haven't had the same amount of time as adult writers to practice and hone their craft. (Sarah - valid point)
Older people may have had more time than teens, but if they don't practice writing, just being older doesn't make them better writers.
YA is being embraced by more adults now than it has previously and a lot of us are reading it, it's being embraced more openly than it used to be, it's not as looked down upon as "just writing for teenagers" anymore. (Sarah - this is a fantastic thing)
And yes, lots of adults are reading YA, but we as YA writers should remember that audiences are still predominantly teens.
Steph believes that some parents are embracing YA (Sarah - not only because the writing is so good) but because it's something they can do and share and discuss with their teen. Steph believes this is an excellent way to get your parents to pay for books. :)
So there you go, much less eloquent than how Steph put it, but she made some interesting points, don't you think? I also loved how Steph said that "As Generation Y...or X...I don't know...it doesn't matter, (anyway) Google and I are like besties."
Ah, yes. Google is a friend to all.
Still to come: Lili Wilkinson talks book structure, Penni Russon talks voice and character and all three just talk books!