Confession time: on February 22nd, the first completed draft of my WIP got deleted.
'Cause I still can't figure out how it disappeared.
Okay... That's a lie... It was my fault... God, I hate owning up to mistakes!!
Anyway, my clumsiness led to the death of my first draft while I was in the middle of revising it. Many tears, fistfuls of pulled hair, and shrieking later, I chose to ask myself the following question: will I be able to do it all over again?
The answer at the moment was more along the lines of how-the-hell-am-I-supposed-to-do-this?!!, but right now, it's looking like a yes. A yes that took a while to appear, but it did. A yes that almost drove me clinically insane, but it didn't. Lexie's story is shaping up to be what it was, but with far less craptastic writing (I. Hope.).
And what was the reason behind the craptastic writing?
Cliches. Lots of them.
YA stories tend to sway toward similar storylines, but there's always a twist that makes them stand out. There's always something that the other books don't have that makes one story memorable. From what I've read, Lexie's story has a couple of twins in terms of main theme. But what sets it apart is, of course, the hook (which took a while to develop, the darned thing...).
My advice for writers diving into YA waters? Avoid cliches. Young readers have been there, done that with most plots in the market, even though they still respond to them. Try to spice it up or tone it down, but in an original way. Tired of girl-meets-mysterious-boy-and-forsakes-her-dignity-to-be-with-him? Write the opposite--give your character a purpose that doesn't involve being with the cute stranger, even though she's got the hots for him. Don't relish reading about an ordinary MC who turns out to be extraordinary and needs to be shipped off to an extraordinary school? Think about ways to weave an extraordinary MC with our blah world in a way that makes the reader get lost in the narrative. There are tons of possibilities for the creative mind, so don't lose hope if things fall flat in the beginning.
And that's what I've been telling myself ever since February 22nd. Rewriting is tough, but it can be way more rewarding than that first draft. Why? Because it will be better. Hands down.
Now I'm off to write what I already wrote, but kicking way more ass than before.