1. Contemporary Women’s Fiction — Melody Carlson

From women’s edgier issues-based novels to lighthearted chick lit, Melody Carlson has probably written it. With nearly 200 books to her name (both fiction and nonfiction) her favorite “genre” is women’s fiction—make that women of all ages (from 10–100).

Discover what it takes to write novels about tough subjects like addiction or mental illness. Tap into real-life challenges to create real stories in the guise of fiction. Sometimes life’s hardest subjects are easiest told in the form of a novel.

Although chick lit is the other end of the spectrum from serious novels, quality fiction writing includes some of the very same ingredients. Whether it’s good characterization, compelling plots, engaging description—a good novel is a good novel. Chick lit is a good novel with humor and a light touch.

Not unlike serious adult fiction, the challenge in teen fiction is to connect with a younger reader. That does not mean dumb it down. And it does not mean this is an easier genre to break into. With nearly 50 teen titles to her name, find out from Melody the secrets of writing good teen novels.

Once again, writing for teens is not that different than writing for adults—just trickier. You want to be cool, but you don’t want to be too cool (teen jargon is risky because it quickly becomes dated). But this is a huge and growing market with doors wide open to good teen reads that can compete with some of the general trade series (without the smut).

mcarlson.pngBio: Over the years, Melody Carlson has worn many hats, from preschool teacher to youth counselor to political activist to senior editor. But most of all, she loves to write! Currently she freelances from her home. In the past eleven years, she has written around 200 books for children, teens, and adults—with sales close to three million, and many titles appearing on the ECPA Bestsellers List.

Lately, Carlson’s passion for writing has been greatly focused on teens. Informed and aware of the challenges and struggles facing teens today, she writes young adult novels that she hopes will change lives. Her popular series, Diary of a Teenage Girl (Multnomah), has sold more than 500,000 copies. Her TrueColors series (Nav Press) focuses on hard-hitting issues like suicide, addiction, and cutting. And her latest series, The Secret Life of Samantha McGregor, explores the paranormal from a godly perspective.

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