Writing Excuses 7.42: Contemporary YA Fiction

Debut author Janci Patterson joins us to talk about contemporary young adult fiction. Her first book, Chasing the Skip, hit the streets October 2nd, 2012, and while Janci writes fantasy, this tale has no fantastic elements in it. Apparently bounty-hunting is plenty exciting without adding magic.

We talk about the genre, the research Janci did, and some of the essentials of a good character drama. We also discuss how Janci starts with the pitch before outlining, let alone writing drafts, and how this process has helped her write books that are easier to sell to agents and editors.

Finally, Janci talks to us about breaking in, and why she took the path she did.

Audiobook Freebie! Legion, by Brandon Sanderson, narrated by Oliver Wyman


Pick a place where teenagers are not typically allowed, and put a teenager in that place.

Chasing the Skip, by Janci Patterson. It’s not currently available as of October 14th, but it’s coming real soon.

13 thoughts on “Writing Excuses 7.42: Contemporary YA Fiction”

  1. Very nice episode. Janci, for being a newly published author of her first work, sounds like an incredibly experienced writer and seems to have a really good head on her shoulders. I look forward to seeing how she does in her genre fiction.

  2. Excellent podcast, especially when talking about using pitches as part of the early plotting process. I also enjoyed the bit at the end on traditional publishing contrasted with self-publishing. There are so many avenues open today; as a 3-book self-publisher who makes more from his books than he does from his day job, I can vouch for the opportunities of the market. However, traditional publishing–if you have a good agent and editor–gives writers so many advantages that it will remain alive and well even as its business model changes.

  3. Very nice ep, and an intriguing setup for a novel. I hope an audiobook gets released soon!

    Brandon, I just finished your Legion story and I was greatly entertained. I can’t help but see this as a good setup for a TV/Web series. Each ep has different aspects to follow him around (usually missing the one he needs the most) etc. I know I’d watch it. :)

  4. I like what she says about being able to speak a concise synopsis of your story and if you’re having trouble doing so it speaks to a larger problem within your story. It has the ring of an axiom to me.

  5. As a wannabe writer I would like to hear the pros vs the cons of going with a traditional publisher vs going with self publishing. I want to make my goals early and work to achieve them, but I do not know what to aim for exactly.

    Just an idea, in case if anybody important reads this comment.

  6. @Rustivious
    The topic has been covered multiple times on the podcast. Basically if you can get your book to the audience better than a traditional publisher can (and you are willing to put in the effort to do it yourself), then it’s alright to publish it yourself. If not (and most of the time it’s a not), it’s probably a better idea to go for traditional publishing.

  7. Almost didn’t listen to this episode since it isn’t in my wheel house at all, but the 2nd half made it worth it. I’ve played with doing the pitch first, but for some reason never stuck with it. I think I need to, however, as I’m discovering I have a habit of putting extra… stuff in as Janci talks about.

    In this case it’s still pre-outline, but in NaNo preperation working on my novel, after like 2 weeks of looking at my story one way, I realized I had two conflicts that were too large and would attempt to over shadow each other, and they shouldn’t be happening at the same time. Kinda annoying to keep wondering why the story doesn’t feel right only to realize I’m jamming two stories into one part way into the process.

    *goes off to work on this novel’s pitch*

  8. Very timely episode for me, as I am writing my first middle grade novel for NaNoWriMo this year. Mine does have fantastic elements, but the advice is relevant just the same. I also look forward to seeing what Janci does with genre fiction!

  9. Excellent podcast, as always. Unfortunately, Legion isn’t available in New Zealand and possibly other countries due to publishing restrictions.

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