As I near the end of my first foray into writing for teens, I’ve collected quite the range of random thoughts from the experience and from the bits of feedback I’ve thus far gleaned.
First, am I qualified to comment, given I am many decades removed from being a teenager myself? I do read the genre, not exclusively, but quite a bit. I also have two prototypes of the teen beast running around in the wild that I may observe at my leisure (whether I want to or not.) The latter reason alone should be sufficient justification.
Second, I’ve not yet queried, certainly haven’t published a single bon mot, so what follows are EARLY impressions only.
What I don’t like about YA fiction:
- No sex
- Minimal cussing and swearing
- HEA is happily ever after for now (because I’m in the “thorough and exhaustive search” camp vs. the soul mate camp)
- Cultural references are big with teens but can easily date a YA book so I stay away, plus mine are hideously out of date
- I don’t have any teen beta readers…yet. My teens are boys but my writing is more likely to appeal to girls
- Fear of having too mature of a voice, making the characters unrelatable
- Present tense writing
What I do like:
- Present tense writing
- First person POV is my natural inclination and is widely accepted in YA
- I get a second chance to do what I couldn’t do, was afraid to do, or didn’t want to do as a teen with no negative consequences
- My characters can be immature, headstrong and rash and not damage their likability too much
- I can imbue the parents with more intelligence than real life teens credit their own parents
- I get to dress my characters in what I want them to wear without a single word of protest
- My characters listen to me!!! (this is HUGE!)
I have no idea if my YA novel will or won’t play in Peoria. This was a writing journey I wanted, needed to take. I’ve not hidden my genre confusion. Thus far I or Claire or that other wench have written romance, urban fantasy, suspense, erotica, horror, science fiction, steampunk and now contemporary young adult. Perhaps my next will be a western. Oh, wait, I’m recalling the middle grade book I started writing for my youngest son. It’s…wait for it…a western. Ha! So there you go.
I’m sure all the genres will have likes and dislikes about them. The question will be: which one or ones have fewer or less odious dislikes than likes. Or to go with the glass is half full analogy–which one will have likes overwhelming enough to swamp the dislikes?
So, dear readers, do you have “I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up” confusion? If so, how do you indulge it, if at all? What drew you to a particular genre or target age group?