“‘I want to be abducted by aliens,’ Attison said as he shoveled a spoonful of tuna into his mouth.” From: Swamp Monster Bonanza By Michele Tallarita
“The 7-11 is empty, so I count the hairs on the third finger of my left hand.” From: Stubb By Arthur Slade
“Any minute Ms. Morris will call the girls up on stage. The cattle call.” From: In the Spotlight by Emily S. Deibel
Whew! Does it get any better than that? First lines that pull you in, making the computer screen disappear until all you see is a story unfolding word by word. Yet, this is exactly what I’ve come to expect from YARN–an online magazine packed with essays, poems, and fiction for teens. And YARN never fails to deliver.
In the following intervew, YA Consultant and Reader Lourdes Keochgerien discusses how YARN got its start, types of stories she is looking for, and what to expect in the future:
What inspired YARN? How did it get its start?
Back in the winter of 2008, Kerri Majors, co-editor, started writing a short story for young adults. After a little online research, she discovered how few venues exist for such writing. That story became a novel, so she didn’t wind up needing a YA literary journal, but ever since then, she’s wanted to start a journal that featured YA writing. After talking about it on-and-off with writer friends like Shannon, co-founder/co-editor of YARN, Kerri decided it was time to make the dream a reality in the summer of 2009.
What do you look for in a story? Are there any specific types of stories or plots that you wish writers would send you?
The story should be for a teen audience and honestly portray situations this audience can relate to, without losing their respect along the way. It’s also important that the story ring true, reel us in from the first words, and keep our interest from sentence to sentence. There is no one way to do this, of course, and we want stories that are as quirky and unique as possible. And people say writing YA is easy!
Believe it or not, despite the popularity of sci-fi, fantasy, and steampunk in YA novels, we don’t see many short stories in those genres.
Why would you pass on a story?
We’ve passed on stories for many reasons: sometimes it was because they were more for a children’s or adult audience, and sometimes it was because the story wasn’t well enough thought out, and still other times it was because, well, it just didn’t float our boat. This is a very subjective process, and because we’re all writers ourselves, we know how frustrating it can be. The important thing for writers to remember is to keep working on their craft, and keep sending out their work.
What do you enjoy the most about editing YARN?
All the editors can agree that one of the most wonderful things about editing YARN is discovering new talent, adult and teen, and helping those writers shape their stories into publishable work. We are very hands-on editors, willing to work with a writer who has promise. With teen writers especially, it’s exciting to see exuberance in their prose. The love they have for reading and writing will live on for a very long time.
Who are some of your favorite authors and why?
There are so many wonderful YA writers today, it is difficult to narrow the list down to a few. All the authors that we have had the opportunity to interview and publish can be found on our favorites list including: Barry Lyga, Malinda Lo, Pete Hautman, Allen Zadoff, Arthur Slade, Mitali Perkins, and Tina Ferraro just to name a few. Each author offers such an unique prespective on adolescence with heart, humor, and honestly.
Anything new coming to YARN this year?
Well, we don’t want to give away all our secrets, but we can tell you that we will have new short stories by Kody Keplinger and John M. Cusick, an interview with Gail Giles, new editors’ blogs, and of course, new publications from the brightest new fiction, non-fiction, and poetry writers in YA.