Bookitcon Author Guest Post: How To Write A YA Novel by Martina Boone

Posted August 3, 2015 by Nori in Guest Posts / 5 Comments

Martina Boone
Release Date: 10/28/2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse

Three plantations. Two wishes. One ancient curse.

All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead—a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family’s twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.

Princess Sofia Regular


by Martina Boone

1. Read a great YA novel.

2. Miss the characters and the world in the book you read so much you can’t forget them.

3. Wish you’d written the book you loved so that you could continue to live in that book world.

4. Decide you really want to write a YA novel.

5. Figure it can’t be all that hard–you’ve read literally thousands of books so you obviously know how to do it.

6. Find a character you want to write about–and of course, he/she is obviously *nothing* like any character you’ve ever read in another book.

7. Have a book “idea” that’s going to be the next Divergent or Twilight.

8. Tell all your friends and family you’re writing the next great YA novel.

9. Have all your friends and family ask you why you don’t want to write a real book. You know, for grown ups?

10. Scream.

11. Roll your eyes and patiently explain to your friends and family that novels for young adults *are* real novels, and that 55 to 60 percent of young adult novels are purchased by adults to read themselves.

12. Tick off on your fingers and toes all the great novels and films that your friends and family have loved that have actually been for “young adults.”

13. Shut yourself in your room/kitchen/office and open your laptop to start working on your brilliant new novel.

14. Research manuscript formatting on the Internet.

15. Get stuck on the part of the manuscript format that calls for a TITLE. Stare at the computer screen for three days trying to find a TITLE.

16. Choose a TITLE. (It’s a brilliant title.)

17. Get stuck on the part of the manuscript format that calls for an AUTHOR NAME. Stare at the computer screen for four days trying to decide whether to use your own name or use a pen name.

18. Decide that you want to use your own name so all the fan mail and invitations to fancy author thingies will be in your own name.

19. Get to the part of the manuscript format where you’re supposed to type an opening sentence that will jump start the brilliance that is your story. Spend five days staring blankly at the computer screen.

20. Start to feel a little tired of having your friends and family ask how your novel is going. (They obviously don’t understand that true genius takes time.)

21. Reread the first sentences of every novel you have ever loved. Write a first sentence that combines five or six different brilliant first sentences so that it will be five or six times more brilliant.

22. Start feverishly typing, even though you don’t know where your story is going. (You’ll figure it out as you get there–that’s what writing is all about, right?)

23. Spend two months locked in your room/kitchen/office in your pajamas/yoga pants coming out occasionally to hose off, shove food in your face, and explain to your friends/family that this is how literary genius works.

24. Get to the part of the manuscript format template where you type THE END.

25. Cry a little over your GREAT ACCOMPLISHMENT

26. Read your magnum opus and decide that every. single. word. is. genius.

27. Show it to your friends/family and wonder why they laugh/go pale/ask you if you’re feeling okay.

28. Decide your friends/family know nothing. They clearly do not understand literary genius.

29. Decide to submit your novel to literary agents, because surely they will recognize your genius.

30. Submit to every literary agent who has sold a novel by one of your favorite authors.

31. Wait for the phone calls to pour in offering you millions of dollars.

32. Wait. Wait. Wait.

33. Start getting rejections. Some of which politely suggest you consider not quitting your day job.

34. Decide that literary agents know nothing about recognizing literary genius.

35. Reread your brilliant manuscript again.

36. Decide that you know nothing about literary genius. Or writing a manuscript.


38. Buy every book you can find on “HOW TO WRITE A NOVEL.”

39. Read every book you bought on “HOW TO WRITE A NOVEL.”

40. Throw away the novel you have written and begin all over again.

About the Author

Martina Boone was born in Prague and spoke several languages before learning English. She fell in love with words and never stopped delighting in them. She’s the author of Compulsion, book one in the romantic Southern Gothic trilogy, the Heirs of Watson Island about three plantations, two wishes, and an ancient curse. The second book in the trilogy, Persuasion, will be published in October 2015.
She’s also the founder of, a Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers site, and, a site devoted to the discovery and celebration of young adult literature through YA series.
From her home in Virginia, where she lives with her husband, children, and a lopsided cat, she enjoys writing contemporary fantasy set in the kinds of magical places she’d love to visit. When she isn’t writing, she’s addicted to travel, horses, skiing, chocolate flavored tea, and anything with Nutella on it.

If you live in the NJ/PA/NY/DE/MD area, and are free on Sunday, August 9th, make sure to come meet Martina (plus 25 other awesome young adult authors) at Bookitcon, a charity book event that I’m organizing! All information can be found on the website: Also, if you’re unable to come, you can still help to support the event by making a donation!

Tags: , ,

5 responses to “Bookitcon Author Guest Post: How To Write A YA Novel by Martina Boone

  1. Oh my gosh this was brilliant!!! HAHAHAHA!!! Oh wow, it’s so true. I can’t wait to meet her in a week just so I can tell her how insanely brilliant this guest post is. I died laughing.

  2. Oh my gosh this was brilliant!! Hahahahaha!!!! I died laughing. I can’t wait to meet her in a week so I can tell her exactly how brilliant this post was and how much I relate. HAHAHAHA!

  3. Ahahah I just love this! I am someone who writes myself as well, and of course I write YA because it’s the genre I read and enjoy a lot as well. I think the first couple of pointers on here are right on track with how I started off!

Leave a Reply