Friday, July 22, 2011

Know It All

"Here's a question: do any other YA authors out there get asked if they have kids of their own? Because when I say no, I get this look..." - Claudia Gabel.

When Claudia* twittered this out, it got me thinking. "Write what you know" is a great way to tap into pure feelings and experience. You can explore real-life texture and detail from your own life. You can provide genuine emotion, and finally take advantage of some of the crap you’ve been through by spinning it into fiction. But you can also get tangled up. You can get set in, “But that’s not how it really happened,” and force your story to follow a narrower path. I’m a big believer in spring-boarding real feelings into new creations. It’s just that when I do it, I have to remind myself to balance what’s best for the story. Real life doesn’t always translate into believable fiction!

I say: whether you have kids, know kids, or were one (what feels like) two seconds ago, don’t let anyone give you the look! Have faith in your gut and your imagination, prepare an answer for the doubters, and do what feels right! Plus you know, if we had to wait for writers to write “what they know”, there’d be no Labyrinth, no Neverending Story, and not even a George’s Marvellous Medicine (I hope!)

Do you think that having kids is key to writing YA?
Do you write what you know?

(Or if it is true, and you have to have kids to write YA, and be in love to write about love, etc. Let’s not ask what’s happening over at Stephen King's place...!)

*Claudia is super-sweet, super-talented, and has an AMAZING new publishing deal. I was lucky enough to work with Claudia on my book The Jelly Bean Crisis, and can say without hesitation: she rocks! Yay Claudia - so excited to read Elusion and Etherworld!

Keep kicking ass!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Go Bagless (You Rebel!)

Toss on a tin-foil hat for an end-of-the-world party: are you an eco warrior? Do you compost? Recycle? Do Meatless Mondays? Walking Wednesdays?

There are a billion plastic bags choking up the planet, and that's just in NZ landfills. Hey, it's not like I'm totally eco-noid or anything. I drink fizzy drink (and recycle the bottles), I eat pizza (and compost the crusts), and I know that when I turn down a plastic bag, millions of others will probably take one.

But I love eco-initiatives that make me feel empowered, and I have to believe that every bag makes a difference. I don’t think feeling scarce, deprived or judgemental is going to make the world a better place. I can’t worry about melting ice or shrinking habitat, because it will keep me up at night. I can’t save the whole world.

But I can save mine. A billion plastic bags: one bag at a time.

July 3rd is International Plastic Bag Free Day - shop with reusable bags, or be a total rebel and go bagless!

...Wait, is it too late? Do you already have a whole drawer full of plastic bags in your kitchen? Don't worry! You can always recycle them as street art...

Keep kicking ass!