Beginning January 1, 2013

Stop by the new site and take a look around.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012



Writing about something you know and don’t know. Pros and Cons.
YA nitty gritty author Renee Pace

When I ventured into writing young adult novels I thought it would be easy. Wrong. Getting that YA voice right is key. I’m not saying it’s perfect but I developed a sneaky trick I’m sure many other writers use when it comes to dialogue. Listening.

Key tips for YA writers:

1. Offer to drive your teens around. Turn on the radio and secretly listen to their conversations but the rule is don’t freak out and listen.
2. Hang out at your local gym and listen to the jock talk. Seriously, it’s another language.
3. If you have a teen, attend their sport games and again listen but pay attention to how teens interact.
4. Boys and girls interact differently so, again, pay attention.
5. To get more intel on girls – hit a mall and you’ll be amazed at the new lingo you’ll pick up.
6. Have lunch at McDonalds – yes, they are still filled with teens and they’re from all walks of life – observe.
7. Research – if you’re writing about a certain sport attend a few games to get a feel for the language and how the teens interact.
8. Don’t flood your novel with tons of teen lingo – KISS – keep it simple stupid. You don’t want to date your book but sometimes when you’re writing YA that’s the only way to get that YA feel so go with your gut.
Warning: doing this for an adult may cause the following:

1. Craving to chew gum and guzzle soda
2. Urge to showcase lots of skin
3. Craving for a tattoo or piercing
4. Coarse language with weird body language grabbing
5. Urge to sleep in well past noon
6. Messy room syndrome
7. Pimples
8. The ability to not smell body odor
9. Urge to watch Much Music videos.

Take a sneak peek at the third nitty gritty book Off Stroke:

“It’s three rotations of five miles,” says the coach. He’s new here and that’s good. He doesn’t know my past and hopefully we’ll keep in that way. “Shannon, can I speak with you privately?”

I’m thinking of playing deaf but know that won’t do me any good. Might as well get this over with. Turning toward him, my right ankle gives out and I almost falter, but at the last moment I grab the wooden rail and stand straight. I’m praying the coach hasn’t noticed. I’m about to walk over to him, but he halts me and comes over to where I’m standing, on the side, slightly there but not fully back with the ‘in crowd’.

“So, I’ve been briefed about what happened.”

Shit. That’s all I can think. Please don’t ask me questions. Just let me do this and get that damn K-1 in the water. I look with longing at my sleek red racing Nelo kayak. The last gift ever from my mom.I’m half listening to what Tyler, that’s the coach’s name, is saying. My gut tells me he’s going to send me home and tell my father I’m not ready. I am ready. I need to do this. Today. Not tomorrow.

“So, I think we should work on more dry land training,” says Tyler.

Christ, that’s all I’ve done for the past three months. If I lift another freaking set of weights I’m going to scream. “Please. Just let me try.”

Tyler, with his shaggy brown hair that seems out of place at the paddling club, leans closer. “You know, I broke my leg once so I get what you’re trying to do.”

I smile. He has no idea what I’m trying to do. I don’t even know. All I know is that after the accident, when I woke up in the hospital with a dislocated collar bone, three broken ribs and smashed right ankle all I thought about while recovering was the stillness of the lake. If I thought about the wreck, about how a drunk driver killed my mother, I lost it. So, I don’t think about that. But in that hospital, I made a promise to my mother. I’ll make her proud of me.

“Thanks. I’ll take it easy.”

“I’ll be in the safety boat shadowing you all the way and if anything hurts, you stop. You hear me? This is day one so don’t push it.”

I smile for real this time. “Got it.

Leave a comment to be entered into a drawing for a copy of Off Leash and Off Limits.

About the Author:
Renee Pace is a multi-published author who likes to tackle real teen issues in her nitty gritty series. She calls Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, home . Mother of four, she juggles writing, deadlines and her children’s hectic schedules. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada, the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia, and the Society of Children Writers & Illustrators. Her first nitty gritty book, Off Leash was a 2011 semi-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. Her second book Off Limits tackles poverty and sexual abuse, and for her third book, Off Stroke debuting July 2012 Pace writes about young love and prejudice.

Find Renee online at:

Eternal Spring – FREE YA Anthology-

No comments:

Post a Comment