Another class I’m taking this semester is Laurie Lawlor’s Young Adult Fiction class. In this class, we study novels written for the 12-22 year-old set. We examine works from realistic fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, and science fiction. Laurie has over 30 books in print, and she pushes her students to come up with an outline, a story map, and at least four chapters of their novel by the end of the first semester in the course. In the second semester, students are to complete a full manuscript of a novel or novella for the young adult crowd.
In class the other day, we worked on making our story map. This is a map of the action of the story, the main character’s journey, and the locations. It can take any shape the writer chooses. Laurie brought supplies for us to make these—construction paper, markers, crayons, post-it notes, glue sticks… you name it, she brought it. Sure, the supplies seem a little juvenile, but we all completed a story map by the end of the class period.[flickr id=”8121008317″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]
This is a great class, because it allows the writer to focus on any genre he or she chooses, as long as the intended audience is a younger one and the characters play to the emotional truths of young adults.
For this class, I’m focusing on a college-age coming-of-age novel, or a bildungsroman, as the literati call it. My character is suffering the loss of his mother while trying to maintain his good standing at school, an inability to cope, and looking at things in his life like alcohol abuse, losing his virginity, and becoming someone he doesn’t necessarily want to be. There’s more, of course, but I’m not one to really talk about my work until I’m close to finishing it.
Here is another picture from class:[flickr id=”8121023648″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]
I strongly recommend this class. Not only do you get a lot of work done, but… it’s fun! What are your thoughts on YA fiction? Leave some ideas in my margins.