It’s not just Twilight! More and more adults are diving into YA (Young Adult) fiction. When I was a kid, I’d borrow my mom’s sci-fi novels, but nowadays, the moms are borrowing from the kids.
1. Diversity. After graduation from high school, our lives branch out. Some go to college, some don’t. We branch off further with career choices, marriage, children, and cats or dogs or both or maybe snakes. The people we surround ourselves with become more and more homogeneous as we age. But, back in high school, future brain surgeons and future fashion designers all shared the same sweaty gym change rooms. Drama!
YA writer’s tip: Be sure to throw your young characters together with some people they would not choose to socialize with. The more diverse, the better. One of my favorite TV shows, Community, does just this.
2. First love. First kiss. I don’t think this requires further explanation!
3. More story per page. The average length of a YA book is about 75% that of books marketed to adults. People of all ages can enjoy a book that can be read over just a few days. Devouring a book in a single sitting is exhilarating!
YA writer’s tip: Keep it moving and cut the backstory.
4. Escape from grown-up worries. Teen protagonists don’t typically worry about corporate restructuring, mortgages, and poopy diapers. Sure, they have to save the world and stuff, but defusing bombs won’t remind the reader of their laundry that needs folding.
YA writer’s tip: If your characters use the word boring to describe something they’re doing in the book, consider changing or cutting the scene. If the protagonist is bored, we’re bored. We’re often reading to escape boredom, so don’t drag it in.
5. YA books are hot hot hot. Since Harry Potter made reading kids’ books cool, YA books have been topping the bestseller charts. Most of us prefer to read great books, whether they’re popular or not, but being popular sure doesn’t hurt! The only thing more fun that reading a book is discussing it with other people who’ve read the same book. When I near the end of a book, I race to finish it, so I can log on to Goodreads.com and see what other people are saying.
YA writer’s tip: Books can take years to get from idea to print, so writing for trends may not be wise. However, if you write about things you are passionate about, chances are other people will also care. The trends in settings may come and go, but stories about love, loss, friendship, and identity will always be on-trend.
Dalya Moon writes novels that are called “sweet” and “light-hearted.” She may have to one day murder someone (on the page) to be taken seriously, but for now she’s happy to not be taken seriously at all. She is the author of Charlie Woodchuck is a Minor Niner and Practice Cake, which are both available on Amazon and Smashwords. www.dalyamoon.com