Like sands through the hourglass…

Paula’s Post #8 – I have a Mac. I’m sure it is more or less the same on a PC, but on my Mac, I have a little calendar icon affixed to the ‘dock’ that runs across the bottom of my laptop screen. Tonight, the number I see on that little calendar icon is a ‘5’. Look closely you can see the ‘5’ too.

As in November 5th.

As in ‘Yikes’!

Two months down, three months to go. Like the tick of a metronome  I feel the minutes, the hours, the days slipping past. Where have all those precious days gone? How have they slipped away? How can it be November 5th already? Somewhere in the background I imagine I can hear a riff of melodramatic organ music, a distant memory from some 1970’s mid-day soap opera where a rich, deep voiceover intones: ‘Like sands through the hourglass, so are The Days of our Lives.

I get it. I know I have to quicken my pace, that the numbers are not in my favour. My 5writers friend Joe likes to provide status updates. A sort of writers ‘show and tell’.  So here is my status update:

Pies eaten this week: 1/6th (Lemon Meringue)

Characters created to date: 21

Scenes outlined to date: 77

Pages written to date: 0


Yes, zero. Which means by whatever formula you apply, I’m in trouble, with a capital “T” and that rhymes with “P”.

But don’t get me wrong, I’m not without hope. If you’d asked me this afternoon (after I took the morning off to play golf, then lunched with friends),  I would have happily told you I had everything under control. That I had 77 scenes sketched out. And even if I hadn’t quite finished my outline yet, I was this close to knowing what that ending would be, and when I knew what that ending would be, I would be able to start writing ‘Chapter One’.

But tonight, I’m not feeling quite so confident. For one thing,  I’m not entirely sure how my 77 scenes and 21 characters are all going to fit together. Not sure if I know enough about the structure of YA fiction to pull this whole thing off. I do know I’m going to need one big blitz. A veritable marathon of writing. But can I embark on this marathon while writing in a genre so far from my comfort zone?

A little clarity would help.

An acclaimed, NY Times Bestselling author who recently ventured into the world of YA fiction  revealed that she is learning a lot of YA rules, and one appears to be: “No Adult Point of View Characters”.

Really? I’m just finding this out now! Just when I’m ready to outline the climatic ending to my novel? I’ve a dozen or more scenes told from the POV of my adult characters. Assuming that I now have to ‘flush’ the scenes that I’d planned to pen from the POV of an ‘adult’ antagonist, my actual scene count has to be closer to 60, a much more modest number.

And that’s not the only problem. How can I move the plot forward and reveal information that I want you, my readers to know, yet at the same time I want to keep hidden from my young characters, at least for a few more chapters. In the end, I’m left with one big dilemma: how does one reveal important parts of the narrative without the very useful device of having an adult POV antagonist?

Who knew there were so many different ‘rules’ about writing YA fiction?

I read the Hunger Games trilogy. I even purchased the aptly titled Writing Young Adult Fiction for DummiesBut even so,  I still have a lot of questions about this strange new genre, and very little time to find out the answers.

Or maybe I’ll just decide ‘some rules were made to be broken’.

What do you think?


4 thoughts on “Like sands through the hourglass…

  1. Love your honesty, Paula. Zero pages written! But as we know, the actual writing is only one part of producing a novel. You have bravely stuck to the other tasks that are so necessary – and will save you time later – before you can put pen to paper. Don’t panic: 77 scenes and 21 characters are a solid achievement.

  2. When it comes to writing – except for grammar, spelling and punctuation (and sometimes even for those) rules are more like guidelines. Just make sure you understand the rule, the reason for the rule and why and how you’re choosing to ignore it.

  3. If you looking to procrastinate, whoops I meant to say, do more research, read the Cassandra Clare books, starting with City of Bones. I liked them much more than the Hunger Games trilogy, and they are also in movie production staring Lily Collins. Otherwise best of luck. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s