Just a thought today...
My husband and I love Brian Regan. Have you heard of him? He's a comedian and he's awesome!
Just yesterday, we stuck on his CD (You Too and Stuff) and I was thinking about how writing YA is a lot like being a comedian.
Even if you aren't intending to write something humorous in your novel, you still need to keep the reader's attention. Scattered throughout, a comedian links back to previous jokes, creating a full circle of fun. The jokes can't be cliche, or people won't laugh. New and unexpected elements brought in make the audience do a double take and keep their attention glued to the comedian. And have you noticed something?
WHEN SOMEONE IS LAUGHING SO HARD AT SOMETHING: it doesn't matter what the comedian says next, the audience is still laughing. Still engaged.
So, my thought is this: You may not need to be constantly 'on one', but you do need to consistently bring in new and unexpected elements that gather a person up and make them not want to let go. Hitting a strong emotional cord and keeping up the momentum can really turn a reader's mild interest into a full-blown relationship with a book.
Also, a comedian doesn't take his time explaining why he said something funny. He just keeps cranking it out, hoping you'll keep up. Because you will. Readers/viewers are smart. We can keep up with a myriad of ideas, even if they come side by side. So, here's the challenge: PUT MORE into your work. Each chapter I write, I promise to add even more emotion as I go through revisions. This will help make my book engage the reader and help them relate to my characters (if I do it properly =).
And for your listening pleasure (sorry, I didn't have this live), here is a little bit from the genius himself, Brian Regan:
Enjoy!! And hope this inspires you. (more than my mismatched ideas!)
Who knows, maybe I'll post more of these later. I just love his stuff!