My Guest this week caused people throughout the World to succumb to attacks of hysterical laughter when last on this blog. Today she's going to reveal the secret... No wait, I'll let her tell you. Ladies and Gentlemen...
Who doesn’t? Of course you might be worried about all the YA tropes that have become cliches. Or not. (Certainly the writers who have been flooding my inbox with their latest YA opus are not the least bit concerned with cliches…)
But that gave me an idea. Why shouldn’t I be the one to pen that next best-seller and get the TV and licensing deals? I already know most of the tropes involved. I’d just have to be careful to avoid a couple (okay, a lot) of YA cliches.
I’ve totally got this one!
My de-Clichéd YA Paranormal Urban
Fantasy Novel – Draft 1
Susie Smith is a sixteen-year-old girl whose family disappears for two months. Nobody notices because it’s summer and school is out and she isn’t really all that popular.
Tragically, her parents don’t die and leave her an orphan compelled to excel at martial arts while concealing her dark secret identity. (Heartlessly, her parents even make their mortgage payments, hold down normal jobs, and contribute regularly to her college fund, making it impossible for her to take on the adult role of paying bills and taking care of the house and her younger siblings.) Instead they all go on vacation together to her grandparents’ house, where Susie does not meet a sexy boy with a devastating secret and bizarrely pale skin. She has a good time, and comes back at the end of the summer with her virginity and all her blood volume intact. Oh, and she still has her soul. Plus she is not secretly revealed to be the love child of a powerful member of the fey domain. Or a princess.
She catches sight of herself in the mirror and instead of spending the next few minutes cataloging the ways she is a totally and completely normal girl (who happens to have long red hair, big green eyes, pouty lips, and black hole of darkness within her very soul), she leans in to plop some Clearasil on a couple of pimples, pulls her shoulder-length brown hair into a ponytail, and then heads off to school, surreptitiously humming Abba songs along with her phone.
There is a sexy new guy with a devastating secret sitting behind her in class. They pay no attention to each other, and she sits with her best friend, who is gay, but isn’t a fashion expert or a good cook. Neither one of them flips their hair. That night, Susie wakes up to find the sexy guy watching her from the rocking chair in the corner of her bedroom. He whispers that he’s been in love with her all his life, or at least since he saw her in third period history class. She screams, and her father runs in and beats the hell out of him.
At school, the head cheerleader and sexy captain of the football team break up because of his devastating secret. He tells Susie he’s always noticed her and thinks she would be stunningly beautiful if she let her hair down, stopped wearing baggy jeans, and took off her glasses. But since Susie is not preternaturally intelligent and thus has to work hard for her grades, she doesn’t want to be late for biology class. She leaves, and they never speak again. In class, she practices her DNA testing and discovers that she is, in fact, the biological child of both her parents and not the offspring of a god or paranormal creature.
In calculus class, a sexy boy with a devastating secret tells Susie that she has been chosen to help him save the universe and that she’s going to get some secret powers any time now, so she must reject the advances of his rival, the sexy captain of the football team. Further, he tells her their last calculus test was really The Test and they are now the Chosen Ones and must forever more wear only their team’s Chosen Colors (him: purple and red, her: blue and silver). She tells him that her only secret powers are a double-jointed right thumb that allows her to scoop ice cream really quickly, and the scary ability to memorize Abba lyrics. She’s late for her part-time job at the ice cream store, so she takes a raincheck on universe-saving. He decides that it doesn’t make sense for the universe to depend on a couple of teenagers (plus the thought of a lifetime of wearing purple and red makes him slightly nauseous), so he joins Susie’s study group instead.
They get into the same University and occasionally share a ride home for the holidays. She heads back east for graduate school, and he ends up taking over his family’s business, a small group of painting & decorating stores, which he sees as a brave stand against a gloomy dystopian future, plus it’s free. She gets tenure. He gets a boat. The Universe doesn’t end.
They meet again at their tenth high school reunion, and she introduces him to her partner, a woman from the Classics department. He’s married to the former head cheerleader from their high school, and they have three daughters, the youngest of whom occasionally turns into an owl and flies around the house. Someone else saves the universe. Probably.
The end? Oh, please. This is just Book One. Of at least a 28-book series… We haven’t mentioned sexy vampires with a devastating secret. Or alien mind-control. Or even were-badgers.
While you’re waiting for me to finish my YA opus, why not take a look at my other books?
Superpowers suck. If you just want to live a normal life, Null City is only a Metro ride away. After one day there, imps become baristas, and hellhounds become poodles. Demons settle down, become parents, join the PTA, and worry about their taxes. In a dangerous game that pits heaven against hell, the three Parker siblings each hold a key to Null City’s survival. And outside of Null City, an uneasy peace is policed by Wardens under the command of the Accords Agency.
Gaby Parker and Leila Rice: two young women confronting cataclysmic forces waging an unseen war between Heaven and Hell. Someone should have told them the angels were all on the other side.
Warden Carey Parker’s to-do list is already long enough: find her brother and sister, rescue her roommate, save Null City, and castrate her ex-boyfriend. Preferably with a dull-edged garden tool. A rusty one.
Hope flares each morning in the tiny flash of a second before Lette touches that first thing. And destroys it.
Two novellas from the Null City world. Now that the century-long secret Nonwars between Gifts and Haven are over and the Accords Treaty is signed, an uneasy peace is policed by Wardens under the command of the Accords Agency.
§ : They’ve worked cases for the Accords Agency before, but with war between realms looming and her baby sister as bargaining chip, partnering just got personal.
§ : Claire Danielsen is a young witch whose goddess is house cat of unusual size. Peter Oshiro is a Warden policing a delicate truce between those who are human and those who… aren’t.
In halcyon days BC (before children), Barb Taub wrote a humor column for several Midwest newspapers. With the arrival of Child #4, she veered toward the dark side and an HR career. Following a daring daytime escape to England, she’s lived in a medieval castle and a hobbit house with her prince-of-a-guy and the World’s Most Spoiled Aussie Dog. Now all her days are Saturdays, and she spends them traveling around the world, plus consulting with her daughter on Marvel heroes, Null City, and translating from British to American.
Here is where she hangs out, and she’d love to hear from you!
Amazon Author page:
Thank you, Barb, for a wonderful post. It's so motivated me, I'm going to start my own YA dystopian whatnot immediately. Watch out world... By the way, you win the prize for the longest Guest post title since I created this blog!
Eric @ www.ericjgates.com