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Book Review: ‘Writing New Adult Fiction’ by Deborah Halverson

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NWIf you’re an aspiring New Adult fiction writer or you’re already published but would like to understand in depth the secrets on how to succeed in this revolutionary new category, let award-winning author and former Harcourt Children’s Book editor Deborah Halverson show you the way.

Naturally, NA fiction must have the same foundational elements as all other types of fiction, such as plot, characterization, dialogue, etc. However, the NA fiction writer must learn how to tap into the experience and mindset of characters between the ages of 18-26, those who aren’t teens any more yet aren’t fully mature adults either. This isn’t as simple as it sounds. Halverson, who also offers writing advice on her popular blog, DearEditor.com, warns that it’s easy to fall prey to a kind of tunnel vision focusing on love and work. Those are only two of the three “pillars of adulthood,” as she calls them. There’s also “worldview,” which the author goes on to describe and which I found fascinating.

Halverson explains the undertones of a great NA novel, providing clear, effective techniques to shape a distinct NA narrative voice, such as conveying stress, conveying self-focus instead of selfishness, lacing the characters’ sensibility with optimism, writing within the crash of expectations against reality, and exposing inexperience in the characters’ decision-making, among others.

In her conversational, engaging style, Halverson demystifies the process of plotting, writing, and marketing your NA novel, touching on topics from premises to voice to POV to rising tension, among many others. Throughout the book there are quotes from NA authors and editors. I will not go into the complete table of contents here. Suffice to say that this is a powerful tome chock-full of information to help both aspiring and established authors succeed in this exciting and competitive category. If you’re serious about writing a NA novel you can be proud of, one that is also marketable, you’ll add this indispensable title to your permanent reference shelf.

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About Mayra Calvani

Mayra Calvani writes fiction and nonfiction for children and adults and has authored over a dozen books, some of which have won awards. Her stories, reviews, interviews and articles have appeared on numerous publications such as The Writer, Writer’s Journal, Multicultural Review, and Bloomsbury Review, among many others. Represented by Serendipity Literary.