With my last post about Heinlein‘s juveniles, a list of them made sense. So, here they are:
When I researched this on Wikipedia I found that I’m not the only person to make that link.
Robert A. Heinlein was one of the three people seen as pillars of the Golden Age of science fiction (that’s another post). He wrote many books and short stories, but a period of his novels are considered as the start of YA, although he didn’t consider them as such.
The books that I’m referring to are his juveniles.
Between 1947 and 1958e had 12 such novels published by Scribner, with another (Starship Troopers) published by Putnam instead (Scribner rejected it) and another novel (Podcayne of Mars) listed as a juvenile, though he didn’t consider it one.
Heinlein didn’t consider these books as juveniles, at least not by nature. They were written for younger readers, but Heinlein had great respect for these younger readers, so he tried to write more challenging fare for them. In fact, this got him into hot water with his editors at Scribner, and often, after he brought guns into his novels, starting with Red Planet.
He also wrote 2 short stories in Boy Scout magazine, Boy’s Life. He created them after his tours in WW II, trying to diversify his writing from only pulp SF magazines. These stories were serialized.
Not only focussed on boys, he took a challenge to write for girls too, which led to 3 Maureen “Puddin'” stories in Calling All Girls magazine. He liked the character so much that he lowered her weight and relocated her to Mars for Podkayne of Mars.
I have to re-read this book. The original ending was hated by fans, so Heinlein rewrote it, then had it published with both endings. I don’t remember what they were. It’s been more than 3 decades since I read it.
Pundits call it a juvenile, but Heinlein himself did not. His involvement with Scribner and the juveniles line ended when they rejected Starship Troopers. As an aside, I don’t see a novel about interstellar wars as a book for young people, it was just not a great book to me.
What made the juveniles a step toward YA: youths are the protagonists of the stories. Not bad, considering they were written nearly 80 years ago.
I read this written about elsewhere, and it’s a concept that makes sense for me:
When you’re writing a trilogy, you want there to be sub-plots that match up from one book to the next one. Also, you don’t want to make your readers wait a year or more for the next book. To solve this problem, you should write at least the first drafts of other books in a series at the same time.
I’m facing this situation: I’ve been writing the first book of a trilogy (within an overall series) for over two years. If I’m fortunate, I’ll have it finished this year (revisions, beta readers, cover art and editing). With this current pace, I’ll have this first trilogy finished before I’m sixty. That’s not acceptable to me.
That passage of time is another problem for me. I’m 49 in less than two months. I want to be known for a lot of books by the end of my life. I already have 11 RPG credits so far, but most of them are very small press, and that’s a small interest pool. Novels are in a much larger one. I hope to follow of game writers who also became novelists, like Mike Stackpole, the late John Ford, and an also-late friend Aaron Alston.
I won’t achieve that goal at my current output rate. Writing multiple books at once might, depending on my writing output speed.
A caveat, though: I won’t attempt this until after I’ve finished book 1. Friends bought into my attempt to crowdsource that book on Indiegogo. Even though it didn’t make the funding target I want to finish it for them (I used the platform’s Flexible Funding plan, and the rules for that are that I have to finish, but I planned to anyway). Starting other books before I finish this one wouldn’t be fair. Besides, I follow one of Robert Heinlein’s Writing Rules: always finish what you start.
After I finish Book 1, 2 and 3 I’ll work on together, and I’ll hope this makes them more consistent and my output grows.
There’s a difference between these two genres, and it’s a difference that I learn more every day. I called myself a science fiction writer, but I’m really the latter.
They share a similarity, in that their original genesis is a basis in scientific concepts — but that’s where they diverge. Good stories are the ones in which the characters are ultimately more important, but in science fiction the science has a basis in aspects that can be explained — at least extrapolated.
Science fiction can be further divided into hard and soft varieties, but that’s a separate article for the point of this piece.
As I said my current stories are science fantasy; I deal with ghosts. There’s no scientific rationale for their existence — but that isn’t a reason for me not to write this story.
Ironically, I had no interest in the sciences in high school (except for astronomy) — but my writing interest is science fiction, for both reading and writing. I guess my interest in astronomy helps for the writing…
So my current Work in Progress (WIP) is really science fantasy, not science fiction.