Tuesday, January 17, 2012


by Brett

Okay, I want to try something. I may fail miserably, or, who knows, maybe I won’t, but since this blog is dedicated to adrenaline pumping YA fiction, I thought…why not work on a story right here?

Yep, starting with this post, I’ll beginning pulling together a story and we’ll all see where it goes. Along the way, I’ll be asking you for opinions and thoughts based off of questions I ask and choices I give you.

I’ve been thinking about this for at least a week now, but the one thing I haven’t been thinking about is what the story will be. So, as I write these very words, I have no idea what direction things are going to go in. I don’t even know if this is going to be a short story, novella, or novel. My gut is that it’ll probably end up being either a novella or novel since those are actually easier for me (yeah, more pages easier…weird), but I’m leaving all possibilities on the table for the moment.

Now I won’t necessarily be blogging about this every time it’s my turn, but then again I might. Since I do only post twice a month, the process will be a LOT slower than I’m normally used to working, so I reserved the option of doing some of it “off screen” if the mood hits me. I can’t complain about the slow pace though, as it will help me given the fact that I’ll also be writing a couple adult novels over the next few months, too.

My usual process is to have a basic idea for a story—say…something like “a woman shows up who was supposed to have been dead for five years, and all eyes turn to the person who was supposed to have killed her.” Beyond that one or two line idea, I might have an inkling of how I’d like it to end, and, perhaps, an opening scene. From that point, I’ll just sit down and start writing a draft. I may or may not already have a title, and I definitely won’t know most of the characters yet (unless it’s part of a series.)

For this experiment, I want to plan things out more. The first thing will be to decide on a genre within the YA world. (Usually I do know ahead of time what genre a book is.) We’ll move on from there to picking a title, working out some plot points (though I may hold back on important things like the ending so those will still be a surprise), developing some characters, perhaps some research, then writing.

As I basically said above, I’m not 100% sure yet this is going to work, but it sounds like fun in my head. Hopefully it is, and also for you, too.

Okay, let’s get started.

Here’s the first thing I need your help on. Genre. There are as many (if not more) genres in YA as there are in adult fiction. What I’ve done is put together a list of ones that appeal to me…because, let’s face it, if it’s not in a genre I like, why would I want to write it?

What I need you to do in the comments section below is let me know which one (or ones) you prefer. Your suggestions will help me to decide which direction to go in. And please, I’d love it if as many of you as possible could respond…even if you consider yourself a lurker you can make a quick comment (I’m assigning a letter to each category, so your response could be as short as a single character. How easy is that?)

I should also say that no matter what the genre, I’m a FIRM believer that the best stories are stories about characters and how they interact with their world, not about the world itself.

Here we go, in no particular order:

A. Dystopian
B. Real World based Fantasy
C. Modern Day/Real World based Sci-Fi(ish)
D. Real World Thriller
E. Real World Detective Story
F. Full on Sci-Fi

Please do remember that I am male, so that undoubtedly forms many of my selections. (That BY NO MEANS is to say that females would not enjoy the very same list, I am merely pointing out my own deficiencies.) Plus, again, we’re all about adrenaline here, and those are all pretty adrenaline fueled genres.

Okay, have at it. Six choices. What do you think?


You can learn more about my tween novel HERE COMES MR. TROUBLE and my adult novels at my website:


Anita Grace Howard said...

Hi Brett! What an original and intriguing idea! Do I get a vote, too? Because I'm totally team B. I can't wait to watch this unfold.

Jordan Dane said...

LOVE this idea. I'll pimp it on twitterville.

Wendy Corsi Staub said...

Yes, do we fellow bloggers get votes? Because if we do...I'm all about the thriller. :-)

Brett Battles said...

Everyone gets a vote. So have at it!

ANS said...

If you can find a way to fuse full-on hard sci-fi with late 19th century historical romance without using time-travel or steampunk...that would be funny.

Jennifer Archer said...

I'm a 'C' or 'D' kind've girl. This is a great idea! Sounds like fun.

Tammy D said...

Team E! This looks like a fun idea.

Jordan Dane said...

B or D for me.

Chantelle Aimée Osman said...

Fabulous idea, Brett! My vote is for a combo of Real World Detective Story & Fantasy. Good luck! Can't wait to see this evolve.

Billie said...

Hey Brett, I know what my 13 year old grandgirl loves to read and it would be a thriller with her as a girl who finds something she wasn't meant to see. I worked with this heart of my heart when she had difficulty reading and we played out stories. We would pick the next person to walk into Tim Horton's and make up a background for him/her. That was 4 years ago and she just won a reading award at her middle school.

Sara(h) said...

I think a C/D combo. Or if it had to be one or the other D. =)

Pop Culture Nerd said...

How about a non-fiction romance about your teenage dating life? Maybe that would qualify as a thriller?

If that's out, I'd vote for D or E.

Prime7 said...


Marjorie Gaines said...

I'm all excited about choice B!

Anonymous said...

my vote is either D or E

Val Conrad said...

Wonderful idea for a new story. I'm partial to D and E.