9 Rules for Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy Children's Books

Thursday, November 8th 2012
(1888PressRelease) Despite the publishing industry's overall downturn, the YA science fiction/fantasy market share is growing faster than ever.

(Las Cruces, NM)-Science fiction and fantasy are among the most popular genres young adults are reading, and breaking into the exploding, highly lucrative market as an author may be easier than ever.

Rick Riordan's famous young adult (YA) fiction series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, reached number one on The New York Times' best-seller list and sold millions of copies worldwide. More than twenty-six million copies of Suzanne Collins's Hunger Games trilogy is in print in the United States, and it's movie adaptation already grossed $400 million in movie tickets sales. "Ship Breaker" by Paolo Bacigalupi received rave reviews and became a Michael L. Printz Award winner and a National Book Award finalist.

It turns out that despite the publishing industry's overall downturn, the science fiction/fantasy market share is growing faster than ever-the title output is increasing, and books from the genre are showing up on the USA Today, New York Times, and Publishers Weekly best-seller lists with ever-greater frequency, according to Simba Information, a media and publishing forecast firm.

Indeed the children's science fiction/fantasy segment of the total trade-book market is not only gaining share; it has tripled its growth rate.

"The key to breaking into the booming young adult science fiction/fantasy market is to write a book that will grab a kid's attention," says L.A. Miller, author of the new science-fiction and fantasy YA book series the Quests of Shadowind, which includes "Sky Shifter," "The Grounding Stone," and "Veil." "One of the biggest challenges for writers is to come up with plots and characters that are unique but at the same time familiar enough that children can relate to them."

Quests of Shadowind is the story of a group of kids who are abducted to an alien world called Shadowind, which is inhabited by ghostly creatures, cyborg animals, and virtual humans-a land where anything is possible, including being downloaded into a cryptic, evil, role-playing game. In order to survive, the teens band together as they search for a way back home.

"One tip: science fiction and fantasy stories require world-building based on both logic and real science, so be prepared for plenty of research to enhance your work's credibility," says Mr. Miller. "Also keep in mind that with children's stories you need to keep the pace moving quickly,"

L.A. Miller has been writing for more than forty years. His backgrounds in science fiction, astronomy, technology, and classic literature inform his work, which has included novels, short stories, and music. He is the owner of Wood n Nails Music and lives in Las Cruces, New Mexico, with his wife and two dogs.

Mr. Miller believes "kids will read if we cater to their lifestyles, interests, and concerns. This is, after all, a generation focused on their gizmos, communication avenues, and particular entertainments. Just look at their obsessions with smartphones, games, the Internet, and social networking."

Here are some tips and suggestions on how to write children's science fiction and fantasy books:

* Be familiar with popular science fiction and fantasy books.
* Do not copy stories; create your own unique plots.
* Do research and be familiar with scientific elements used in the story.
* Decide if it will be a series or not.
* Develop compelling ideas, characters, and events.
* Create rules for how the world in your story works.
* Determine your readers' age group.
* Stay focused.
* Be patient and don't give up-writing can take some time.

"I've found that writing young adult science fiction and fantasy to be both challenging and rewarding," says Mr. Miller. "My advise is, if you have the calling, go for it!"



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