Wednesday, May 16, 2012

In Which I Share More Stuff Pt. 2

So I'm back, with more deets regarding the Children's and YA Literature Conference Hannah and I hit up. The last presentation of the conference was Andrew Karre for Seizing the YA Moment.

Andrew Karre is the editorial director of Carolrhoda Books, Carolrhoda Lab & Darby Creek, imprints of the Lerner Publishing Group. He publishes books for kids & teens.

He was, imop, hands down the highlight of the conference. So totally cool and laid back.
He spent a lot of time talking about the #YAMatters Trend on Twitter, as well as the fact that YA is popping up in the media and culture more and people who were previously oblivious, or didn't pay attention, or now taking notice.

Highlights of his talk:

  • YA is now a "thing" and to be important you have to have an opinion on it, which is why we see so many articles etc talking about YA (that tend to make us angry, etc)
  • He prefers fiction "about" young adults instead of fiction "for" young adults. Because he feels that fiction about YAs is a self examination of the cultural phenomenon of adolescence, which everyone goes through, and have been since the abolishment of child labor laws and since teens aren't getting married and having kids when they're 14 anymore (as a generality).
  • Adolescence is a time in all our lives that we never get over. Moments of extreme emotions we experienced in adolescence we still feel just as keenly today. It changes us forever, which is why he loves fiction about adolescence because nobody moves on from it.
  • Writing "for" teens isn't necessarily conducive to art, since you're too busy trying to put across a message, or deciding what's appropriate and what's not
  • Nostalgia in YA lit is fatal. Nostalgia is like the song Jack and Dianne, which is all about the good times growing up, through a filter of an adult. YA fictions should be more like Smells Like Teen Spirit, with emotion felt in the now. Almost like looking through a microscope, unable to see the big picture, to see past what is happening and what the characters are feeling at that moment
  • YA is in its adolescence right now. Any disapproval that comes about (think of the hullabaloo regarding Marbury Lens) is all just fuel for the YA fire. YA is kind of like rock and roll. Maybe some people don't "get" it, so then they assume it must be bad.
  • He was open for submissions in April (or for a year for anyone who attended the conference) but he said by and large YA writers should get agents and that they should spend more time querying agents than querying him or other publishers

When he was done and there was a Q&A session, people actually ran out of questions to ask him because I think everyone was just so blown away by how awesome he was. Definitely attend a panel by him if you ever get the chance.

15 comments:

Anne Gallagher said...

I'm so glad you got to go to this conference. It sounds like you got a better scope on what it is you are trying to achieve with your writing. Which is a good thing. Great stuff here. Thanks for sharing. (Even though I don't write YA, I'm going to have to read it because the Monster will soon be growing into it.)

Maria Zannini said...

Ref: Nostalgia in YA lit is fatal.

This reminded me of "Peggy Sue Got Married". But if I examine it, I suppose it was meant for an adult audience even though it was written about adolescence.

Matthew MacNish said...

Andrew is my favorite editor. Carolrhoda puts out some amazing books. It may have been the highlight of my online career when Andrew quoted my review of Brooklyn, Burning on the Carolrhoda Labs Facebook page.

Stephanie said...

Sounds like an awesome conference. I'm glad YA is getting more recognition and respect, though I'm not quite sure how my pure fantasy stories fit in.

Jessica Bell said...

Another genre I'm not too keen on. LOL. BUT, I do like the YA that is realistic. Paranormal stuff and the like turn me off a bit. This guy sounds fabulous. What an informative conference!

LD Masterson said...

Thanks for sharing this. I'm starting to read more YA, searching for good books to give my YA grandkids, but haven't tried writing it. Something to think about.

Teebore said...

Excellent point about nostalgia. Even though I don't write YA, that sounds like it would have been an awesome panel to sit in on.

Johanna Garth said...

Sounds like an amazing speaker. Would really love to hear him talk sometime.

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

I think YA is only relevant because we live in a youth-obsessed culture driven by sex. When YA is written without overt sexual themes (it's underlying) and just means that the author is too chicken to write what they really want to write because their fellow church members would stare in shock at them for being pedophiles. And yes I did just go there with "church members" because the most repressed YA literature of any sub-genre is written by religious people and consumed by religious people.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I know of some pretty graphic and explicit young adult books, so don't agree with the assessment above.
Never move on from it? Well, I'd certainly never want to go back!

Katharina Brendel said...

Great points! I write YA and honestly didn't ever think about writing 'for' teens but just rather writing about them. I know that when I was a teen I could smell a 'here comes a moral' story a mile away. That is why I primarily focus on just writing a good story. If teens learn from it as well, great! But it is not my main objective. I simply think any type of reading is already a learning experience, no matter what the story is about.

Southpaw said...

I like his views on YA. I loved the first bullet point. LOL

Kimberlee Turley said...

I think you take excellent notes. Really feels like I learned something too after reading this.

Hannah Kincade said...

I could've listened to Andrew Karre all day & discuss YA. When he caught my comment about The Marbury Lens, I thought, yes. This is someone I could talk to about YA for many hours.

Lisa-Marie Jordan said...

Wow, that is some great adivce! Thanks so much for sharing it for those of us who weren't able to go!

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