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?
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.
37. Google “HOW TO WRITE A YA NOVEL.”
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
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: www.UBUbiz.com. Also, if you’re unable to come, you can still help to support the event by making a donation!