Young adult (YA) fiction is one of the most popular, progressive, and emotionally engaging genres of all times, encompassing a wider audience than just teenagers and various life experiences and stages. YA novels explore many topics, such as personal growth, adolescence, family dynamics, and even social issues.
Do you want to write young adult fiction? Here are five tips you should follow:
Talk to teenagers and young adults to know how they feel about certain things in life, deal with tough issues and tough times (especially at home and in school), and interact with their peers and other adults. Scour social media, online forums, and other online platforms. That way, you can create not only realistic dialogue but also genuine characters and an authentic setting for your YA novel.
Draw from your experiences
Of course, you also need to look to your teenage experiences, as well as relationships and lessons learned for insight in writing your young adult fiction. You can also put a bit of yourself and other people you know into your characters and even include some details from your and other people’s lives. Write what you had experienced and learned, but strive to make your characters’ journey unique.
Create flawed yet genuine characters
Readers of YA fiction look forward to not only a good story but also characters they can see themselves in and relate to. Readers of YA – mostly between 12 to 18 years of age – are still growing and learning, and they look to characters in young adult fiction for comfort, strength, and reassurance that they aren’t alone in their struggles. Of course, nobody’s perfect, so don’t attempt to craft the perfect characters for your YA novel – just the right characters that your readers can genuinely identify with.
Write from a teenage/YA POV
Writing young adult fiction entails writing from the point of view (POV) of a teenager or young adult, not of an adult looking back to his/her youthful past. Sure, a teenage or YA character can look back on his/her younger days, but he/she can’t have an adult’s wisdom gained from experience and hindsight. The perspective needs to be immediate, and readers should be experiencing the teenage or YA character’s world as he/she sees it at the moment. Writing YA fiction entails putting yourself in the teenage/YA mind and not caring much about the adults’ world.
Watch your language
Not a teenager or young adult but planning to write or publish a young adult novel? Make sure your teenage or young adult characters don’t sound like adults or your book doesn’t sound current via slang or else risk being mocked for being unrealistic and silly by readers. To make your YA novel sound/look authentic, you need to immerse in the language used by teenagers and young adult. You can talk to them to get the hang of their communication styles and watch MTV or YA movies and TV series. Better yet, read some YA fiction titles, such as The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han.