The following “tip sheet” is meant to provide the author with a general sense of what BSB is looking for in Young Adult fiction manuscripts. These criteria are not meant to be absolutes – guidelines are just that – a jumping off place for an approach to a work.
BSB seeks appealing, compelling stories of 40-70,000 words in any fiction genre that:
SEX: Examining and exploring sexuality are a big part of growing up, and BSB does not impose disingenuous parameters that pretend teens are non-sexual. That said, highly explicit or gratuitous sexual content is not suitable for BSB Soliloquy. Defining “explicit” and “gratuitous” is inherently subjective -- context is everything. Sexual content that is integral to your story, character-consistent, well-crafted, and age-appropriate may be allowed.
In addition to asserting the usual good taste considerations, BSB notes the following as unacceptable in YA works we publish:
VIOLENCE: In any work of fiction, violence is a powerful element with innate drama – an author seldom needs to wallow in gory detail to make her/his point. Avoid gratuitous violent content, including violence toward animals. Be mindful of your audience, your genre, and the demands of your story. There is no need to defang your vampires – just use common sense and read quality Young Adult fiction to see where the lines are drawn.
LANGUAGE: Keep your text generally free of obscenities. We know teens may be prone to obscenity use, especially in private, so there may be swearing in dialogue, but remember “authentic” is not always interesting. No one wants to read line after line of realistic teen chatter such as: “You know, we uh…like…uh…my mom she’s like…uh… so hostile. And uh.. fuck uh …and you know it’s like so old…I’m so like over him…” The same holds true for repetitive use of coarse language.
THEMES: YA fiction often pushes boundaries and plays hardball on ethics and society; BSB Soliloquy titles are no exception. We’re interested in meaningful, universal themes of family, relationships, rites of passage, and personal identity, as well as the LGBT-specific experience. Sensibility should be contemporary to edgy. Among the specific themes we may find interesting are:
GENRE: All genres are considered subject to the specific parameters for BSB Soliloquy: general fiction, mystery, fantasy, speculative and sci fi, dystopian.