Stary Writing Academy III: Recall Your Youth, and Create YA Fiction
As one of the most famous novels of the past decades, you must hear the name of Twilight even if you might not have read it. The series is a collection of young adult vampire romance novels that reached the New York Times bestseller list at number five. Millions of readers worldwide share the story of Bella and Edward and make this series become one of the most successful Young Adult (YA) fiction.
What is YA fiction?
Wikipedia defines Young Adults as an age group that focuses on the protagonist’s psychological and moral growth from youth to adulthood. YA fiction is “a category of fiction written for readers from 12 to 18 years of age.” The main characters are typically between 14 and 20 years of age, experiencing the transition from childhood to adulthood. So they always face unforeseen challenges. The features of this age group determine that a YA story is always connected to a “problem”. Solving the problem is a journey for young girls and boys to discover who they are.
However, this genre also takes up a large market of adult readers. Referring to an article on The Atlantic, approximately 55% of YA fiction readers are adults. Being recognized by both the teenager and adult groups is not that easy. How do we create a good story that can satisfy the different tastes between these two groups? Here are four tips for you!
1. Make Sure the Character’s Age and POV are Correct
Generally, a young adult is more concerned about the present than the past or future. This feature and mindset determine the way they think and see the world. When you create young characters, try to put yourself in their shoes. If you are an adult writer, you might find it is a little bit challenging because adults’ mindsets usually are different from the youth’s. How to solve it? The answer is rolling the clock back to your youth and recalling how you saw the world and processed the world around you at that age.
2. Know the Voice and Language Habit of Youth Generation
The language habit of the teenager group depends on their worldviews and identities, which include but are not limited to social class, sexual orientation, economic situation, education, family, etc. What they say through their mouths must reflect these things, just like adult characters do. Also, the young character’s voice is influenced by word choice, sentence length, punctuation, etc. Before writing the first sentence, a young adult says, you can do some research about the words young people use in daily life. For instance, teenagers generally do not speak in long sentences, and the vocabulary they use is common and accessible. But if you are creating a nerd or genius as the main character, their language habit needs to distinguish them from others, of course.
3. Add More Details to Characters
Well, it sounds corny. But it is always a must during writing fiction. A successful character should have depth and dimension, and it is a golden rule for fiction. Even writing YA fiction does not mean authors are allowed to stereotype. For instance, not all teenagers are full of energy, or acting childish. The most exciting protagonist needs both strengths and weaknesses. More importantly, these characteristics should not sketch an outline based on what a stranger would see on the outside but be known by the character’s parents or BFF and released as the story develops.
4. DO NOT Teach Readers a Lesson in YA Fiction
Petty issues will arise as youth grow up into adults, such as abuse, alcohol, or bullying. When plotting such scenes, the core of these plots is to let the characters figure things out and grow, rather than preaching. Your emotional honesty is essential.
To learn more about creating great YA fiction, you can get more tips HERE. Also, you can share your ideas or experience about YA fiction with more than 80,000 writers at the Stary Writing Academy Facebook group now!