Posts by Stacey Nash

Writing for the young and new adult market, Stacey's books are all adventure filled stories with a good dose of danger, a smattering of romance, and plenty of KISSING! Hailing from the Hunter Valley in New South Wales, she loves nothing more than immersing herself in the beauty and culture of the local area. Author of the Collective Series and the Oxley College Saga.

Our Love is in The Trope

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Credit: Bigstock images

Happy Valentines Day, AO&R readers!

Whether it’s something you celebrate or not, I think it’s hard to survive February without getting sucked into the cutesyness of it all. The huge red hearts, the dozens of roses, the white teddy bears. It’s everywhere you look. Even at my kids’ school, where the little ones where handing out lollipops to one another.

Anyhoo, all this loving got me thinking about romance in books at how there tends to be set tropes that are followed. Even in YA! Just thinking about the last half a dozen books I’ve read, every single one of them follows a similar romantic path. Even though it’s predictable as readers we often gravitate towards the same trope over and over.

So what are these romance tropes? Ah … here’s the ones I think are most common in young and new adult books:

The Love Triangle: The dreaded love triangle is actually one of my favourites. I think perhaps it was overdone a few years back, which is why so many readers now shy away. I’m still a sucker for a well written triangle though, where the heroine (or hero) has to decide between two suitors. Some of my favorites = The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare. Matched by Ally Condie

Friends turned lovers: When the characters have been friends for years and suddenly their friendship grows into more.  I think this one makes for a sweet story. My favourites = Frigid by J Lynn. Hopeless by Colleen Hoover.

Enemies to Lovers: When the characters hate each other’s guts, but we all know hate is only a step away from lurve. The sizzling tension that comes with this trope gives me all the feels! It’s got to me my absolute favourite. Best examples = The Lux Series by J L Armentrout, Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi.

Forbidden Love: This is a fun one too, and it also sizzles with sexual tension. Usually the couple are deeply in love/lust with each other but the can’t be together because Montagues and Capulets. My favourite examples = Delirium by Lauren Oliver. Fallen by Lauren Kate.

Opposites Attract: She’s a book nerd, he loves sports. She hates self absorbed people, he is one. (well she thinks he is) This trope can work well too, although I haven’t seen as much of it in YA as I have the others. Top picks = If I Stay by Gayle Forman. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Sephanie Perkins.

Are there any other typical romance plots you’ve noticed? If so share, share away in the comments. I’d love to hear all about them.

 

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Stacey NashStacey Nash has written one of all of these tropes. To find out more about the love stories she’s had published or to connect with her on social media (where she tries to be engaging), check out these places: www.stacey-nash.com, instagram, twitter, facebook.

Are you an Aussie YA writer?

If so then we want you!

It’s not often a contributor place opens up on an established blog, but that’s exactly what has happened here at AO&R. With several changes at the end of last year, we’ve found ourselves a blogger short and because we want to make sure there’s a steady supply of fresh material for our readers we’re looking to fill the hole.

It’s a monthly gig and you need to meet two criteria to jump on board.

  1. You need to be an Aussie, because well … we are Aussie Owned.
  2. You need to be a writer of either young adult or new adult fiction, because that’s what we’re all about.

If you think this sounds like you please get in contact with us at aussieownedandread [at] gmail {dot] com Except you know, without the brackets and spelled out “at” and “dot”. 😉

We can’t wait to hear from you!

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Image courtesy of cooldesign at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Beyond beginnings …

It seems fitting that our topic for January is beginnings. 2017 brings with it many changes and hopes after a particularly unusual and tough year for many.

As for me, I’m hoping that with the new year I will carve for myself a fresh beginning with my writing. You see, I had a tough time with it during 2016. With three kids, four after school activities, three separate schools, two P&C committees, and only one me it was a rather time-poor year. And as a writer who thrives off the total immersion method I found myself unable to pen new words. Basically I just couldn’t get my head in the story. The same with reading. I found myself reading the same pages over and over again, unable to move forward because there was never enough time or head space for imagination.

Yet, beginnings are the one thing I didn’t struggle with. Whatever sucked up my creativity seems not to have affected my ability to pen first chapters. I have a grand total of five beginnings that are so darn intriguing (no modesty here) that I’m determined to make them full stories this year.

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Getting past Chapter One can be a chore.

 

So what is the trick of getting beyond the beginning?

  • Stick to it: don’t allow yourself to be sidetracked by shiny new ideas. Write them down then come back to story number 1.
  • Plot it: If you’re having trouble finishing a story, plan out where it’s going next. In fact, plan it all the way to the end.
  • Make time: If, like me, you’re strapped for time get up half an hour earlier, stay up half an hour later, write in your lunch break. Whatever it is you need to do to snag a few minutes of writing time, do it.
  • Don’t edit: you heard me. Don’t read yesterday’s words before writing new ones. That chews up valuable writing time and makes it impossible to move forward to new words.

Let’s hope that 2017 is a productive writing year!

I plan on sticking to these golden rules to finish my stories. Do you have any tips for getting beyond the beginning?

Happy writing!

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Stacey NashStacey Nash is going to write lots of great words this year. To find out more about the great words she’s already had published or to connect with her on social media (where she tries to be engaging), check out these places: www.stacey-nash.com, instagram, twitter, facebook.

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Clean Out The Crap – how to spring clean your final draft

This month we’re talking about spring cleaning on Aussie Owned & Read. Because I’m sure none of us can spring clean our bookshelves — because there’s no books to clean out, right? Who does that?! — we’re taking a writing approach to the topic by talking about ways you can apply spring cleaning to your manuscript.

For me first drafts are all about getting the story out there. Drafting like tomorrow doesn’t matter and not stopping until I reach those magic words ‘the end’. If I don’t write this way, I get stuck in a perpetual editing loop of perfecting yesterday’s words and never writing any new ones. This means I’m often always left with a hot mess at the end of the first draft.

So how does one clean up that disaster?

By making all the big changes first, of course. Adding, deleting, rearranging scenes. Once that’s all sorted (usually two drafts later) I like to clean up my manuscript by sweeping through and killing all the unnecessary words.

Nasty ‘telling’ words to omit from your manuscript.

See, hear, taste, feel, is/was: these are almost always telling words.

just, only, really: most of the time these are just filler.

that: it can almost always been removed from a sentence without  changing the meaning.

almost, seemed, started, began: Making things absolute makes for a stronger POV.

now: telling word.

stood up / sat down: when used in context it’s not possible to sit any other way than down, thus the word down is rendered unnecessary. The same rule applies to up.

Those are a few of the words I like to spring clean from my final draft. What about you? Are there any words you like to nix?

 

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Stacey NashStacey Nash is the messiest first drafter ever. Lucky she edits and edits and edits some more to make up for it. To find out more about this young adult author or to connect with her on social media (where she tries to be engaging), check out these places: www.stacey-nash.com, instagram, twitter, facebook.

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Literary fathers – why they’re important

In honour of Fathers Day this month, we’ve set a fatherly theme for all of our August posts. We hope you enjoy the celebration of great men in our lives and books.

A few years ago it seemed that absent or bad mothers were a popular trend in YA fiction. It doesn’t seem so apparent in more recent YA, but one thing I have noticed in both older and newer works is the importance of a fatherly figure. Just like in real life teens need to have a solid role model. Someone who fits the role of mentor as well as protector, and sometimes tormentor. Not only teen boys need a fatherly figure, but girls do too. Dads teach their kids how to drive cars, their boys how to shave, and their girls how to be treated well. Mother’s can definitely do these things too, but often in fiction it’s the dad’s role.

This absence of mother trend in early YA led to many single dads struggling to understand their hormone-driven rebellious daughters and I think, out of that trend we saw some pretty awesome fathers doing the best they could. The first one who springs to mind is

  • Charlie Swan – (Twilight series) He may have been awkward as anything trying to deal with Bella, but Charlie Swan loved his girl and did everything he could to keep her safe and to keep their relationship strong.

Then there are all the YA books that have the absent mother trope reversed. In these stories we often find a fatherly figure stepping up to the plate. These amazing men are by far some of my very favourite characters and I’ve even written one of my own in the Collective Series. Some of my picks include;

  • Harry Potter – With both of his parents dead and horrid stand ins as his guardians, a whole cast of men step in to fill the fatherly role for Harry Potter.  From the brief encounters with Sirus Black to the constant mentoring from Albus Dumbledoor, and even Severus Snape’s protection, Harry certainly has no shortage of wonderful men in his life. Let’s not forget Hargrid the man who’s door is always open to the sometimes emotional and often stressed teen.
  • Luke Garraway – (Mortal Instruments Series) With her real father absent and let’s face it, kind of psychopathic, Luke is a great fill in for Clary Fray. He’s compassionate, caring, and treats her as his own.
  • My Life After Now – this book features not one, but two great Dads, who are both caring, compassionate and present throughout their daughter’s contraction of HIV.ID-100231764

Which fictional fathers are your favourite?


Stacey Nash Stacey Nash has written many fatherly figures; evil dads (Wait! & Remember Me), great dads (Pretend…) and step in fatherly figures (Collective Series, Stolen Sanctuary). To find out more about this young adult author or to connect with her on social media (where she tries to be engaging), check out these places: www.stacey-nash.com, instagram, twitter, facebook.

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The best diverse characters (in my opinion)

In honour of NAIDOC (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee) Week this month, we’ve dedicated all our July posts to the issue of diversity in fiction. For more information on NAIDOC Week, visit their website here.

I love reading about diverse characters! It’s great when they are the star of the story, but my preference is to have them scattered throughout books, fitting into the cast just as real people fit into society and the lives of others. There’s actually a bookish term for this; incidental diversity. (Where a character’s difference is mentioned but not highlighted.) Don’t get me wrong, I like reading books with diverse main characters as well, but I’ll be honest … sometimes I find it difficult to connect and that’s all on me. It’s not the author or the character that’s the problem, but like most people, I connect best with characters to whom I easily relate … people like me. Now, I may be a straight, white woman, but I am diverse in my own way. I think we all are — we all have our own things that make us different to everyone else. There is no normal.

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Anyhoo, here is a list of my top 5 favourite diverse supporting and leading characters.

 

Magnus Bane: from The Mortal Instruments / Infernal Devices. There are so many things about Magnus that make him diverse; he’s Asian, he’s gay, he’s a warlock, he’s eccentric. But it’s not his diversity that puts him on my list. It’s his lovability. All of Magnus’s little quirks make him seem so real.

Brian: from I’ll Give You The Sun. Yes, one of the main characters is also gay, but it was this supporting character who grabbed my heart. Perhaps it was because I found Noah difficult to connect with, or perhaps it was because of Brian’s quirks and eccentricities. Brian, like Magnus, felt so real he could have been the boy living next door to me.

Josie Alibrandi: from Looking for Alibrandi. This homegrown book is so awesome it’s been on the school reading list for twenty years. It was an important book long before #weneeddiversebooks was even a thing. Josie is an Italian-Australian struggling to find her true self due to clashes in both sides of her culture. If you’re looking for a character dealing with accepting her diversity, than look no further than Josie.

August Pullman: from Wonder. I’m not sure if this one falls more on the middle grade side of the fence than the young adult side, but I think it rates a mention because WOW. Auggie is one of those characters that moved me so much I’m sure he’ll stay with me forever.  Even though he was born with a facial deformity, August is just an ordinary kid, wanting ordinary things … like friendship. Wonder really highlights that despite our differences, we’re all the same underneath.

Evie: from Am I Normal Yet. She’s white, she’s straight, she’s middle class … so why is she diverse? Like many of us, Evie faces a mental illness that leaves her far from fitting into the ‘normal’ mold. What I love about this character is that she shows that diversity isn’t all about race, religion, or sexual orientation. It’s about so much more. I loved that Evie’s struggle feels real. She doesn’t fit in and she knows it, but tackling that … well, it’s not easy.

 

And those are my top five! Who are your favourite diverse characters? Have you come across any that I’ve missed?


Stacey NashStacey Nash has written her very own diverse character; a girl who suffers from an usual sleeping disorder. To find out more about this young adult author or to connect with her on social media (where she tries to be engaging), check out these places: www.stacey-nash.com, instagram, twitter, facebook.

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The Best Winter Themed Characters

Fuzzy socks, hand knitted blankets, finger-less gloves, and warm beanies. That’s just how you’ll find me most days at the moment, often with my computer sitting in my lap or a book in hand. I don’t have a crackling fire to settle in front of, but I do have two warm purr-buckets who like to curl around me and share their warmth.

Isn’t winter the best season for reading and writing?

You betcha! Anyways, while reading Wicked Lovely earlier this month I got to thinking about season themed characters and just how awesome a strong setting, with a character to match can be. Here are some of

my top wintry wonders

  • Donia from Wicked Lovely – This winter faerie isn’t just cool, she actually looks like winter. With corpse-blue skin and lips, plus the fairest hair you could image, Donia even weeps frosty tears. Her transformation throughout the book doesn’t see her lose her wintry appearance, if anything she becomes more, better, just … SPOILERS. This one is for fans of beautifully written fantasy.
  • Lucas from Winter Omens (The Last Years) – This alien-hybrid boy is winter personified. He’s cold to the touch, but not cold-hearted and he balances out Althea’s summery traits perfectly. He’s one of those protective, loving heroes that you just can’t help but love. Anyway, I’m not going too delve to far into this world because spoilers, but if you love dystopian sci-fi, read this one!
  • Ull from Elsker – You can’t get more winter-themed than the Norse God of Winter himself. Ull has the looks and charm of a god as well as the powers. If you love huge romantic gestures, love too great to be true, and guys who can manipulate snowflakes then Elsker’s for you.
  • Jadis the White Witch from The Chronicles of Narnia – Winter = cold. Cold = heartless. Heartless = broken. That about sums our self decalred Queen of Charn. You can’t get much more heartless than cursing a whole land with an endless winter. But poor Jadis isn’t just mean for meanness’s sake. If you haven’t read The Chronicles of Narnia then where have you been?
  • Elsa from Frozen – yeah, yeah I know she doesn’t live in a YA book, but how could I list off winter characters without mentioning the girl who can control the snow and ice?!

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via GIPHY

Is there anyone I’ve missed? Who are the greatest winter-themed characters in your opinion?


Stacey Nash

For reasons unknown to her Stacey Nash’s books are almost all set in autumn. Perhaps because of the fun you can have with falling leaves. If you feel like connecting with the young adult author on social media, where she tries to be engaging check out these places: www.stacey-nash.com, instagram, twitter, facebook.

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