Friday, January 24, 2014

From Supernatural to Contemporary YA

I was asking Twitter for blog ideas yesterday, and someone thought it would be fun to explain why I jumped from supernatural to contemporary. At least for my recent manuscript. I still have two supernatural/horror manuscripts in the works, so I haven't abandoned my love for the dark side just yet. With that being said, I'll tell the short story of how this all came about.

I never in a million years thought I'd switch up the supernatural. But as it is, I've had a hard time trying to get my manuscripts out in the world. When I had an agent, we went on submission with one and it got REALLY close, but didn't quite happen. Then, for reasons left unsaid, I went from looking for another agent and had a hard time finding GATEWAY a home. (Luckily I eventually did. Yay!) So anyway...I met an agent a few months back who read GATEWAY, but didn't quite click with it. I was crushed because I truly adore this agent and it wasn't like they didn't like GATEWAY, but it needed some work and my publisher really helped me revise it before I even signed. But agents want a manuscript that's clean and ready for submission, so I completely understood why they passed on it at the time.

The good thing that came out of this is that said agent really enjoyed my writing. They asked if I wrote contemporary. I, of course, said no. After talking back and forth for a while, this agent inspired me. It wasn't like the agent said: You should write contemporary or anything like that.

However, their faith in my writing made me realize that maybe I was selling myself short. Why didn't I write contemporary? Well, the answer to that is that I never thought I was good enough. The thing is...I've had a contemp idea in my head for a long time based on my own experiences (I'll write a blog about this another day). I've tried to write it a few times, but it just never happened. There was something that wasn't quite clicking for me. So when this agent asked me about my other manuscripts, I realized that I was perfectly capable of getting this story out. That maybe I was being too hard on myself.

It took some encouragement by an outside source to be like: Hey. You're a pretty neat writer. Maybe you should challenge yourself.

Those weren't the exact words, but that's what I took from it. It was the push I needed to step outside the box and see if I could do something completely different. When this was all taking place, NaNoWriMo was right around the corner. I took advantage and used this contemp idea for my project. This book had been inside my head for so long that I was amazed at how easily it flowed. I finished the first draft in two in a half weeks and I was like: WHOA. I guess I was ready to write this story.

And guess what? I'm really glad I did. I absolutely love this story and its heartbreaking characters, and I can honestly say that it has moved up to one of my favorites. It's a great feeling to know that I'm capable of more, and even if this manuscript doesn't go anywhere, I can go on knowing I did it. I wrote outside the box and it wasn't all that bad. It's been a lot of fun. I'm actually considering another YA contemp. Who knew!

So that's my story of SCAR TISSUE. I'll be querying this manuscript in hopes that it'll see the light of day, but if it doesn't, I still learned a lot about myself as a writer. It's been totally worth it. :)
Heather Marie is a YA writer who loves all things creepy. She enjoys writing horror/supernatural stories that make you question that feeling of someone watching over your shoulder. Heather spends most of her days reading and writing and plotting her next idea. When she's not in her writing cave, she enjoys watching creepy TV shows with her husband and picking apart plot holes in movies.

Her YA debut, THE GATEWAY THROUGH WHICH THEY CAME, releases August 25th, 2014 from Curiosity Quills.You can find her on Twitter @:
And visit her website @:

3 secret replies:

  1. Switching genres can be refreshing, I think. Nano is a good time to test out new ideas. Good luck with your query process!

  2. I think that the genre doesn't matter. Authors should just worry about writing a story, that's all. When I had idea for a new writing project, I don't care if it fits in science fiction, contemporary or otherwise. The most important thing is the idea, the story and the message I want to convey. After this it will be exactly, it matters little to me, but more often it's still my favorite genre: near supernatural and contemporary. And if one day, an idea comes to me and doesn't include paranormal, contemporary fair, I write anyway because it doesn't matter, this is the story that has.
    Other authors should do the same. So readers'll do not find themselves overwhelmed by the "literary mode".

  3. It is good to be versatile. It keeps you from getting burned out on a certain genre, brings you to more potential readers, and expands on strengths.