I’m thrilled to welcome back YA author SCOTT BLAGDEN, the busy Book-Dad you met two months ago in Part5 of WTEWYE–a BOOK!
Yes, the author of one of my favorite YAs, DEAR LIFE YOU SUCK, is still busy, but um…I invited him on a blog-hop a while back and –nice guy that he is–he agreed–even though I sort of overlooked the fact that he doesn’t have a blog to put it on.
Anyway– this WTEWYE series is all about the unexpected–right?
And it turns out Scott’s WIP (work in progress) is a YA about a high school track star with a full-ride college scholarship who suddenly discovers he’s a DAD.
“His life is turned upside-down as he tries to care for his baby, finish high school, train for the state championship, and decide what to do with his life and baby,” Scott explains.
Which brings me to the aforementioned blog-hop questions:
How does your WIP differ from other works in this genre?
Scott: “Most YA books about teen pregnancy/parenting come from the mother’s perspective, so the fact that it’s told in first person from the father’s perspective is unique. The baby’s mom is not in the picture, so he has to deal with the issue alone. The story focuses on his struggle to decide what is best and morally right for him and his baby. He loves his daughter, but doesn’t see how he can raise her unless he foregoes his dream of college and having a successful career. Should he sacrifice his life for his child? Or would she have a better life being raised by adoptive parents who are more emotionally and financially equipped to raise her? Is it selfish to keep her? Is it selfish to give her up?”
Why do you write what you do?
Scott: “The only stories I seem to be able to write are those which feature a narrator I’m passionate about; one who is struggling with some emotional or psychological dilemma I can relate to. I know I’m failing with a character when I am not being emotionally moved as I write the story.”
What is the hardest part about writing?
Scott: “Most of my characters have traits/personalities that make them somewhat unlikeable, at least on the surface, so for me the hardest part is getting the reader invested in the character long enough to hang around and discover the WHY of the character and eventually, hopefully come to like him or at least empathize and understand him.”
“For me, the worst thing is to get to the end of a book and realize I don’t care about the character. I was reading a YA book recently that got several starred reviews and with only a few pages left, I said to myself, “I genuinely don’t care what happens to this guy. He could win the lottery or get hit by a bus on the next page. I genuinely don’t care.”
Let me chime in here to add that if you’ve read Scott’s DEAR LIFE YOU SUCK, you know that one very strong aspect that connects the reader with his characters is VOICE. I asked him if he might share some tips about his process.
Scott: “Character and voice are revealed to a great extent through what the main character thinks about other characters, as well as what those other characters think about him. Obviously the main character has to ask himself a million other questions about a million other things, but the following questions are designed to specifically explore the main character through what he thinks of others and what he thinks others think of him.”
This exercise helps Scott understand the MC and discover his voice: He asks the questions in an interview format and has the main character answer in first person.
1. What do you observe physically about the other character?
2. What do you think about the other character?
3. What do you think the other character thinks about you?
4. What do you think the other character thinks about himself?
5. What do you think the other character thinks about the other characters in the story?
6. What do you think others in the story think about the other character?
7. What did you think about the other character when you were little and what did the other character think about you when you when you were little?
“Of course there are many more things we need to know about our character,” Scott adds. “Such as his beliefs, dreams, motivations, yearnings, etc. as well as what he thinks about his life and society. And what he thinks society thinks about him. And what he thinks about his world ( parents, school, adults, religion, society, work, money college, sex,–whatever the major factors are in his life. But the above questions help me to understand my MC in respect to his relationship with others.”
Now I see why he’s been a little busy lately.
Like babies–books take time.
So HUGE thanks to Scott for taking the time to blog-hop over.
I love this photo of Scott’s family and agent Rubin Pfeffer (East/West Lit) at the DEAR LIFE YOU SUCK book launch last March.
Are these amazing t-shirts or what?
This is where–if he had a blog–Scott would tag
author/Book-Dad of BULLY.COM , which released last April with Erdeman’s Book For Young Readers.
And REBECCA MAIZEL,
So–TAG--they’re it–their turn to answer to the blog-hop questions.
As for Scott–follow this amazing writer pal on Twitter: @sblagden
and congrats to DEAR LIFE YOU SUCK
which has been nominated by #YALSA for the 2014 Best Fiction for YA!
This brings me to another nomination –and an admitedly shameless plug for DECK THE WALLS,
Thank you to all who have made this unexpected miracle possible!
Will there be a WTEWYE–a BOOK part12 next week?
Like babies and books, you never know…