Monday, December 27, 2010

Writing YA

I know a lot of aspiring authors. Of those aspiring, I think about 50% are writing for the YA market. I am one of those aspiring YA writers. The other day I was reading this blog from Kristin Nelson that I thought was worth posting.

I've been reading the Gallagher Girl spy series by Ally Cross. The thing about her series that really stands out to me is that her characters are unquestionably teenage girls. Not grownups stuck in a teenage body, or kids forced to grow up too fast because of circumstances. Just teenage girls.

How do we, as adults, capture a younger voice, thus capturing a younger audience? Who are some of your favorite YA characters?


  1. Very good question--one complaint from a big agency about a book of mine was that the character sounded too old for 17. One thing I did during edits was take the vocab down just a notch, and add more slang. What about you?

  2. This to me is probably the main reason I haven't tried writing a YA story. I'm not sure I could capture the teenage voice effectively. Great idea to have a teen reader critique.

  3. For me, I try to remember what I was like when I was a teenager, and I pay really close attention to teenagers I see at church and stores and the high school (soccer games, football games). It's also important to me that my teen characters behave naturally in whatever setting I put them in. One great example of this in tv is in the Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles when they have a teenage girl come back from the future. Her character eventually dissolves, at least briefly, because she can't handle knowing that Judgement Day is coming. Perfectly normal response for a teenager.

  4. When I met with an editor about my book, she liked the voice of my main character, but felt the villain was too over the top. So I tried to change the dialog to make her a more realistic teenager, because let's face it. Teenage girls are the best fodder for villainous behavior.

  5. That is a struggle. Even when I was a teenager, I personified older women. I was always cast as the mom, never the teenager, cause I couldn't pull it off. Hmmmmmmmmm...

    Too true Deb, teenage girls are the best fodder...