Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Writing for the Younger End of Young Adult by Marva Dasef

There's a certain age which differs by individuals where the picture book no longer fascinates, but the dark young adult books seems to be for those kids way up in the stratosphere of high school.

This is the sweet spot for those kids which needs books more suitable to the younger than YA, but older than picture book. Many of the more famous of these types include the Harry Potter series and Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson books. The betweenagers or tweens can also find marvelous stories from the classics. What grade school girl didn't fall in love with Black Beauty or The Black Stallion, while boys were those noisy, smelly things. What boy couldn't relate to science fiction from Heinlein's juvenile series. "Have Rocket, Will Travel," "Star Ship Troopers," and the myriad of "Star Wars" books written after the venerable movie series appeared.

Authors are hard at work writing for the tween audience. I see many of my travels round the internet and, goodness knows, I've read a ton. My tastes run to fantasy. That's a genre that covers the entire universe and beyond. What can't be found in a fantasy tale?

I am long removed from young adults of today, so I send my thoughts back to the time when I became an earnest reader filling my library list with fantasy ranging from Narnia to Middle Earth.

So, this is where I find my comfort level as a writer. I'm thinking of a kid who reads, but can be either a devourer of books or a sometimes between video games reader. Although I usually have a female lead (to make up for the thousands of years when the women and girls stayed home while the men and boys went adventuring), but I don't get so mushy or girly that a fantasy-loving boy won't feel shortchanged.

Here are three of my books. Two fantasy and one adventure that I believe the tween audience will enjoy.

QUEST FOR THE SIMURGH: The village magician, Wafa, has gone missing. His star pupil Faiza thinks he has left a clue for her on a page of the Magicalis Bestialis. With the page open and marked with an X, she believes Wafa is telling them to seek out the Simurgh, the mythical birds who possess all the knowledge of the universe. She convinces her three classmates that they must seek the help of the Simurgh to find their teacher. Approx. 42K words.

She leads the boys on a difficult journey into the mountains in search of the elusive birds. A strange little man becomes their guide. However, they do not know he is a spirit leading them toward a battle between good and evil. Spirits, gods, and demons confront the four friends, who are being set up by the otherworldly forces for a much larger task than finding their teacher. The students were chosen to take sides in the battle which might spell the end of the world: a battle between the demons and the spirits.
Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B002LLNDVY/
Print: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0578004992

TALES OF ABU NUWAS: Abu Nuwas sits in the bazaar on his threadbare rug; a cup and sign proclaim him a teller of tales. For one small coin, he bids passers by to listen. A poor girl, Najda, sells spices from a tray. Would he, she asks, trade a tale for a packet of spice? Abu Nuwas agrees and begins the epic adventures of a girl and her genie. As did Scheherazade before him, Abu leaves Najda hanging in the middle of each yarn to keep her coming back. Between stories, he questions the girl about her life. He discovers that she has been promised in marriage to an old man whom she hates, but she must wed him to save her sick mother. The rich bridegroom will pay for the doctors the mother needs. Meanwhile, Najda sells spices in the market to earn enough money to keep her mother alive. While relating the fantastical accounts, the old man grows to admire the spice girl, and vows to find a way to help her. Listening to the stories of evil genies, demons, flying horses, dragons, viziers, princes, pirates, and nomadic raiders, young Najda finds her salvation with the help of Abu Nuwas, the TELLER OF TALES.
Book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vhzWTXsqtU
Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004HW6AWY/
Print: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0578003783/

EAGLE QUEST: Fiona, Hap, Billy, and Mitch make an odd set of friends, as different from the usual high school crowd as they are from each other. Mitch, the oldest of the four, is a half-breed Native American, adopted by white parents. Troubled that he doesn't know his tribe, he avidly studies Native American history and lore. Learning the nearby Bear Valley Wildlife Refuge is a bald eagle nesting site, he wants to add an eagle feather to his medicine bag and explore the refuge as a site for his Vision Quest, a Native American rite of passage. He and his three friends get far more than an overnight campout as they encounter a black bear, an old man living in the refuge, and a pair of eagle poachers. Bringing the poachers to justice, they test their courage and gain confidence in themselves and each other.
Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003JBI2CA
Print: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1451592809

Marva Dasef is a writer living in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and a fat white cat.  Retired from thirty-five years in the software industry, she has now turned her energies to writing fiction and finds it a much more satisfying occupation.  Marva has published more than forty stories in a number of on-line and print magazines, with her stories included in several Best of anthologies. She has eight published books. A middle-grade contemporary fantasy series, Witches of Galdorheim, will begin in October with the publication of  "Bad Spelling" by MuseItUp Publishing.

She blogs at: http://mgddasef.blogspot.com/
Her website is: http://marvadasef.com/


Marva Dasef said...

Thanks for letting me blather on for such a long post. I hope teen readers would like to try something in the fantasy line that doesn't have to do with fairies and elves. There's a whole lot of great mythology out there to explore.

Marva Dasef

Charlie said...

Hi Marva,
Wonderful books! I am definitely going to seek them out. I too love writing for the tween scene. I read once the difference between MG/Tween and YA is that YA is all about THEM and MG/Tween is more concerned with saving the world. It's not a bad thing that YA focuses on themselves...it's a scary age when they are finding themselves and getting ready to take that leap into adulthood. I remember it only too well and am glad I only had to go through it once. ;-) But I think this is why I gravitate toward the MG/Tween. Your thoughts?
Thanks for sharing.
C.K. Volnek