Wednesday, 29 February 2012


Hello and Happy Wednesday, Dear Readers! Today I bring you a trio of random delights which I hope will soothe away the midweek blues.

We begin with a link to the Queen of Teen Award 2012. Now, I know this is a pink, sparkly site for a pink and sparkly award, and pink and sparkly are not my usual style. But it's for that very reason that the award is interesting to me. It's been running a couple of years and so far both winners have, predictably, been the writers of pink and sparkly books - excellent examples of their kind, funny and heartwarming and all that - but definitely *of a type*. In fact, it seems to me that the organisers of the whole thing, despite no doubt having very good intentions, have unintentionally corralled this award within a pervasive stereotype of YA writing and reading as something 'for girls', and girls as necessarily pink and sparkly. Which we all know is not, in fact, true.

And it seems to me, personally, that it would be a great thing if the next Queen of Teen were not to be the writer of that particular type of book (the type of book often believed by certain people to be the very definition of all teen girls' reading). What if the next Queen of Teen, were, in fact, a man? Or someone who writes about GLBTQ teens? Or even someone, like me, who just happens to write thick, rather gritty fantasies? Someone who does not fit this pink and sparkly stereotype and who perhaps deserves to have their work brought to the attention of a wider audience?

I urge you, Dear Readers, to pop along here, and, if you are eligible, nominate the candidate of your choice, unrestrained by the utter pinkness of it all.


Curious Writer asks:
When you're writing how do you calculate how many pages you've written? Do you know the approximate number of pages for 10,000 words or 30,000 words? How do you work it out?
A very good question. Basically, this is going to vary a huge amount from writer to writer, so before you can get any idea how many pages would equal 10,000 words or 30,000 words, you need to figure out what your own individual average words per page is. This is based on the size of your notebook pages, the number of lines on each one, how big or small your handwriting is, etc.

How you work this out? Pick out three average pages of your handwritten manuscript - that is, not ones with only a couple of lines on them. Now, on each one, count how many words there are on the top three lines in total. Add the total for each page together, than divide it by three, and three again. The resulting figure (rounded up) is your average words per line. For example:

Page 16 yields 32 words
Page 40 yields 29 words
Page 100 yields 37 words

32 + 29 + 37 =  98 / 3 = 32.6.

32.6 / 3 = 10.8, rounded up = average words per line: 11

Now you need to figure out how many lines there are on an average page. Take the three that you've chosen and count the lines on each one. Do not count any lines which are less than half full, or completely empty. Do now add the total for each page together than divide by three again (only once this time) and round down the final figure:

27 + 28 + 24 = average lines per page: 26

Now, times the average words per line with the average lines per page: (11 X 26) and the result will be your total average words per page: 286

So now you know that if you've written twelve pages, your total would be 3432 words.

Of course, you'll need to redo this each time you switch to a different notebook, as a standard exercise book has a different amount of lines and linespace than a Moleskine than a Paperblanks book. But other than that, you're golden. Hope this helps, Curious Writer!

And finally, I bring this, the first official review of the US edition of Shadows on the Moon. It is from Kirkus Reviews, notorious for being the harshest of all the review journals. Indeed, they had not-so-great things to say about both The Swan Kingdom and Daughter of the Flames. Which makes this particular review all the more memorable!

Review Issue Date: March 15, 2012
Online Publish Date: February 29, 2012
Price ( Hardcover ):
Price ( e-book ):
Publication Date: April 1, 2012
ISBN ( Hardcover ):
ISBN ( e-book ):
Category: Fiction

"Cinderella" is reimagined as a revenge story set in an alternate feudal Japan.

On the day Suzume turns 14, her family is destroyed. Soldiers arrive to slaughter her father, falsely accused of treason, and all his line. Suzume somehow escapes, and with the aid of Youta, a mysterious "cinderman," manages to evade the soldiers until her mother returns from traveling, along with her father's best friend, Terayama. Terayama takes mother and daughter under his protection by marrying Suzume's mother, assuming the wicked-stepfather role. As Suzume learns more about her parents' involvement with Terayama, she discovers reasons to hate and fear him. Marriott (The Swan Kingdom, 2009, etc.) writes wonderful villains, who fulfill fairy-tale roles while maintaining a balance between despicable and understandable. Suzume's blooming desire for revenge and the need to conceal herself to stay alive are aided by her emerging magical powers as a "shadow weaver," training in the craft of illusion under Youta. Shadow weavers are rare to the point of mythological except to other shadow weavers, who are conveniently drawn to help each other in times of need. The emotionally damaged, self-harming Suzume needs all the help she can get in her constant illusion-driven reinventions aimed at self-preservation and avenging her family. Strong characters and motivations abound in a rich fantasy world.

A dark yet very fresh fairy-tale reinvention. (QR code to digitally access poetry written by characters) (Fantasy. 14 & up)



Jesse Owen said...

I don't know why it has never occured to me that the Queen of Teen award plays into the stereotype - doh!

Completely agree though - it would be nice to see an author who doesn't write a pink sort of book win the award this year.

Congrats on the review :D

Zoë Marriott said...

Jesse: Well, the link turned up in an industry newsletter, and I sort of snorted and thought, 'That's an award *I'll* never have to worry about winning...' and then I stopped and went, 'Hang on a minute'. Stereotypes are just so damn easy to accept! That's why they're so deadly.

Anonymous said...

Thanks :)
From curious writer

Rebecca Lindsay said...

Congrats on the review! :D

Zoë Marriott said...

Curious: You're welcome.

Rebecca: Thanks!

Isabel said...


AmieSalmon said...

Congrats on the review! Much deserved I feel.
Also, I am now off to look at that, Queen of Teen site to see what I can do.

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