Author of Middle Grade novels about friendship, family, and figuring out where you fit in.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Get Real: Thoughts on Realistic Fiction

I'm a big fan of realistic fiction, which is why majority of my manuscripts fall into that category. Don't get me wrong: I love fantasy and sci fi and magical stories, too. I even wrote a couple of manuscripts containing magical elements before I realized that it just wasn't my strength. But contemporary, realistic middle grade is my passion.

I think realistic fiction in general has the risk of appearing boring. Magical stories might deal with grand conflicts such as defeating an evil wizard or saving an entire planet from destruction. By comparison, a realistic manuscript's plot revolving around failed friendships, complicated relationships, or trouble at school/work (as examples) might seem a little too... ordinary. (Though, of course, there are genres such as suspense and mystery that are both realistic and intense. I just tend to write quieter stories.)

But here are some things I love about writing and reading realistic fiction:

- That I've-so-been-there feeling, when a character does something that you can totally relate to. As a writer, I like to pull things from personal experience and incorporate them into a story.

- That I-feel-like-I-know-you-from-somewhere feeling, when characters and settings feel so real to you. I remember feeling like this as a kid when reading the Babysitter's Club books. Kristy and Claudia and everyone may as well have been girls I went to school with.

- That I-can't-stop-laughing feeling. I love a humorous book that causes me to reread the funny parts a second and third time. I'm looking at you, Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

Of course, the above list is applicable to fantasy and magical books, too. But since I read way more realistic fiction, I experience the above much more frequently with that genre.

What are your thoughts on realistic fiction? Do you tend to read/write it, or do you favor sci-fi/fantasy/magical stories?
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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

New Things in a New Year

It's already 20 days into 2015, but Happy New Year, everybody!

Hope everyone's year is off to a good start. There are plenty of new things happening and about to happen around here, such as:

1) NEW house -- As I've probably mentioned before, we're in the middle of the (long, complicated, exciting, terrifying) process of moving across the country. I'll spare the details on this blog, but if you want to know more about our journey, just ask.

2) NEW email address -- Well, it's not 100% new, since I'd used it as a business email for a while now, but as of this month, I'll be using it as my personal email address, too: shelleysly2 (at) gmail (dot) com. Email me anytime!

3) NEW book -- I'll make an official post about this soon, but I plan to release my next book in a few months! It's a contemporary middle grade novel called ONE HUNDRED THIRTY STARS.

4) NEW WFW news -- Check back sometime this spring for something new related to my first book, WISHING FOR WASHINGTON!

What new things do you have going on in 2015? Feel free to share info on book releases or other happy news!
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