A Sprinkle of Love with YA
Most Young Adult novels have a sprinkle of a crush, love and attraction. With a majority female audience it’s perceived that love and attraction is a strong part of youth. And lets face it – it is.
WHY PUT SOME IN
Because it appeals to both male and female readers as long as it doesn’t consume the type of book when writing a Young Adult book that isn’t specifically a romance. I get many beta readers for my books, both male and female requesting a bit of a love interest. It adds another dimension to the plot.
A SPRINKLE without SEX is good too
I personally don’t believe sex is necessary in a Young Adult book to such graphic detail unless it moves the plot. Adding a love interest, sex, and a physical aspect can turn off young readers. Writers should focus on the story they are trying to tell and not on how they describe sex in a scene for shock value. Readers can pick it up and may be turned off.
HIGH Emotion can LEAD to ATTRACTION
When writing a Young Adult book with a sprinkle of romance, there is no need to throw it in the readers face. Let it develop, do it with style, and make sure that your readers fall in love – as the characters are falling in love.
DON’T Count ON LOVE TO SAVE YOUR NOVEL
If you are not writing a Young Adult Romance, and you are putting in your sprinkle of love, don’t expect that to make your novel appeal to the young adult crowd. These readers want it all. They crave adventure, drama, mystery, love, and great pacing. So when you mix up your recipe to deliver a masterpiece for your willing and eager YA audience, make sure you don’t sell them short on depth and a great plot.
10 Things I Wish I Knew About
Being an Author I Didn’t Know Before
When I first started on my writing journey, I was extremely naive. If I had it to do over again I would have researched the publishing business inside and out, hired a writing coach if I had the money or taken some classes before I sat down to write the first word. It would have saved me a school full of hardknocks 😀
Here’s my list, read it, breathe it, learn from it.
1. Being a writer means being able to take rejection, critiques, and to grow and thrive in spite of it.
2. Being a writer means I have to sell myself, learn how to, and it all starts with selling your stuff to a beta reader, then to a lit agent, a publisher, a reviewer, and then to your audience.
3. As a writer, I’m a business owner, and my business is my career. My product is my works.
4. Being a writer opens doors that you wouldn’t believe! And you don’t even have to be published to get those doors opened! There are tons of soon-to-be published authors doing amazing things that they only would have pursued if they were writers.
5. I wished I would have researched the publishing business from the author side, the publisher side, the indie publisher side, the promotions side, the marketing side – doggone it – every side!
6. Being a writer means having a platform – yep, friends on twitter, a meaningful blog, involvement in a writers’ organization – as an active member.
7. I can market my book before it’s even published! Create a book trailer, share teasers, promo samples on twitter, do contest, and get myself out there!
8. Conferences, pitch sessions, agent inbox (on www.yalitchat.ning.com) are great places to get face time with agents. I should have hung out there.
9. Use Beta Readers, Critique Partners and Writing Groups to build a better product. As the writer, you want to know what the reader is getting out of your work.
10.Realize that anything I write is marketable (once it’s edited professionally, beta read, critiqued and flushed out) I need to figure out what that market is and not be afraid to go into unknown territory to promote it and myself. (i.e., anthologies, magazines online or print, or even sell it myself.)
I end this list to say, once you learn the business, you’ll know how you fit in, how many ways you can create your own success, and you’ll know that giving up simply isn’t an option when YOU decide your destiny.
Writing stories for and about kids that overcome the impossible…
THE RESPONSIBILITY OF A YA WRITER
I participated in a panel of YA authors to discuss the responsibility of the author in writing for the younger generation. The issue at hand is that YA authors fall into two different camps in reference to what impact their writing has on teens. Issues like bulemia, cutting, sex, and suicidal tendencies to name a few taboo items affect teen thoughts. Therefore, it is believed that authors should write about these topics responsibly.
NO VIOLENCE OR RESPONSIBLE VIOLENCE?
Well, some authors have written books that contain violence that includes hunting and killing other kids, like Hatchet or Lord of the Flies. Was it needed for the story? Well some people believe so.
I believe that in the world we live in (at least the one I grew up in) violence is real and active. Although, some people have never had it invade their personal space, most kids and adults have. Kids, in my opinion, are smart and intuitive to their environment. In most cases have heard news stories that confirm the violent nature of man, and they have become somewhat desensitized to it.
When I wrote my MG book Explorer X – Alpha my 8yr old and 12 yr old beta read it. They told me not to hold back. They wanted the details of the character’s struggles. When parents read Explorer X – Alpha, I got responses like, “All the kids do is fight. How come the kids couldn’t find another way to solve their problems? Why did the kids become so violent when they played the video game simulations?”
My answer to them was…did you ever see a kid play a video game? They have no inhibitions or sympathy for their opponents. Heck, my husband annihilates our kids when playing video games with them, and I feel like a lamb to slaughter when my 6 year old cons me into playing with him.
Alright, in writing my upper YA novel I struggled with how to write intimate scenes for the young main character. I personally don’t see the point in added sex if it doesn’t progress the story. Yet, when I was a kid, I remember reading stuff that wasn’t YA and I skimmed over the sex parts without embarrassment.
Let’s face it. Some kids are sexually active. Heck, their bodies are revved up on hormones that make them think about the opposite sex all the time. These are issues they don’t mind reading about. However, in a YA book my personal thoughts are – keep it tasteful.
NO TOUCHY SUBJECTS?
Some would ban subjects like suicide, cutting, and drugs. These are real issues that our kids deal with on a daily basis. It doesn’t matter if they are in the inner city or in the suburbs. All of these things happen, and just about everyone knows someone that is dealing with these issues.
Should a YA author romanticize these things? My opinion – they should not. But (yes, there is a but) in cases where they want to show the perspective of a youth caught up with these activities in order to move the story forward, then it makes sense.
For instance, a drug addict, is in love with their drug of choice. If you ask any of them, they will talk like that drug is better than sex or anything for that matter. Why do they do that? Well, because they are hooked on it. A writer would want to address this realistically.
I personally believe that YA authors should write about what kids are struggling with or dealing with. I don’t believe they should be responsible for the censor of books. A parent should censor what they want their kids to read. Also, let’s be honest. most parents don’t care what their kid is reading – just that their kid is reading.
Also, when I was a teen reader – I didn’t just read YA. I also read adult books. I would bet that most teens today do this also.
Lastly, the YA author isn’t the only one that reviews books for distribution. The process of writing a book, getting an agent, then a publisher, and lastly an editor vets the novel before it ever gets to the shelves.
LM Preston,YA SciFi Author
Tweet Me: http://twitter.com/LM_Preston
My Books – Explorer X – Alpha, The Pack, BANDITS