Young adult fiction deadline

12 February 2012 / Leave a Comment
So I need to set aside my non-fiction writing this week and focus on finalising my submission for Hardie Grant's The Ampersand Project http://hardiegrant.com.au/egmont/contact-us/the-ampersand-project 


The Ampersand Project is looking for debut writers of Young adult fiction. They want manuscripts about the 'secret lives of teenagers'. The first 5 chapters, plus a synopsis is due on Monday 27 February, with full manuscripts due in mid-April.


I read about this project before Christmas last year and spent a week staring blankly at my computer screen trying to come up with an idea for a Young adult book. What are 16-18 year olds into? I kept asking myself. I thought up a myriad of terribly weak and uninteresting plotlines. I started working on a story about a 16 year old girl named Audrey who fell in love with her sister's friend who was studying art at university. It was about how he made her see that all she had to do was get through highschool and then everything would be fine, that there was life after school, and that life actually got interesting after school. But when I started considering a love triangle between the two sisters and the friend I got freaked out and knew that I had to stop there and then.


And then I had this vague recollection that I had already written a story years ago about a 16 year old girl being forced into an arranged marriage. It's a futuristic story, set in Australia, where it is the norm for middle-upper class girls to get married by arrangement. It's sort of a backlash to women getting married older, and the strain on the health system, that kind of thing. The idea came from a single cousin of mine in her late 30s, who said, 'I wish there were arranged marriages.' And it got me thinking, was it actually easier and better for some people? Anyway, I started remembering that I'd written this story about this girl, so I looked back into my old files and found that I'd actually written 20,000 words. I had written it sometime in between having my first child and second child. It's all a bit of a baby-era blur to me. But when I read what I'd written, I actually really enjoyed it. It was like I didn't even recognise it, like it had been written by someone else.


In the next couple of weeks, I wrote another 10,000 words. They came flowing out of me. I got back into the character that I had set up, Sylvie, and her drop-kick husband, who she finds with his hand down his pants, on the first night of their honeymoon, while he plays his virtual computer game. And she sees on the TV screen that his Avatar is doing the deed with another Avatar. Errr.


But then I got stuck. I don't know how to finish off the novel without it being corny and cliche. I need another 10,000 words. I had wanted her to get pregnant, either by her other love interest, or the drop-kick husband, and for her to have the baby and realise that the love a mother has for a child is far better than any romantic love. But then I realised, that's not going to mean much to a Young adult audience. That is more for me. So I need an ending!!


Anyway, I am happy with the first 5 chapters and I've drafted a synopsis. I've thought up an alternative ending, that is slightly better than the love thy baby one. But it's still not completely amazing. I'll need some sort of satisfactory ending for the synopsis. Hopefully, I can come up with something by the 27 February....
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