YA World Wednesday.
So many writers are flocking to write young adult novels. And why not? This genre has a lot to offer. For the most part they are clean reads that have no limits. And if you're a great writer, you might even get an entire series. Think Harry Potter, Twilight, and The Hunger Games. These stories sold a lot of books. Why? Not only were they well crafted novels, but they appealed to a wide audience.
So what does a writer need to do to write YA fiction?
First and far most, you have to think like a kid. Second, and very important, you need to write at their level. And third, never, ever preach.
Think like a kid . . .
Some people believe older authors can't write good YA fiction because they can't possibly think like a kid. Give me a break. Did they ever hear of research? And I don't mean going online or reading books. That's one way to go about it, but the best way is to go right to the source. While I was writing many of my YA novels, I was a counselor in the Young Women's program in my church. I loved working with the youth, and boy did I learn a lot. So find a good source, do your homework, and before you know it you'll be thinking like a kid.
Write at their level . . .
Now this is not to say to write down to them. On the contrary. What it means is making sure you have context that helps describe difficult words. It means phrasing sentences like a teen would. And it also means writing about issues that are important to them. Give your main character baggage that some teens deal with every day. Either they yearn for acceptance from their peers, or they desperately want a boyfriend/girlfriend, or they might be dealing with critical self-esteem issues they don't want to talk about. Give the readers someone they can identify with at their level.
Never, ever preach . . .
This can be tricky. But becomes less of a problem if you show and not tell your story. A story plunges into dangerous water when it starts with telling instead of a scene. A well written scene pulls the reader in, not only at the beginning of the book, but especially at a critical point in the story. Let the character live, feel and breath. Let them work out their problems and learn. Getting deep into the point of view of your main character helps avoid this ugly trap.
These are three very important things a writer needs to deal with in writing YA novels, but I'm certain there are more. What have I missed? If you write YA, what do you find most difficult and how have you worked around the problem?