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Young Adult (YA) fiction seems to be taking over the writing industry. Consider some of the blockbuster books to be published and turned into movies in the last 10 years: The Harry Potter seriesPerseus Jackson: The Lightning Thief, the Twilight SeriesHunger Games, and this trend will no doubt continue. YA fiction is generally fast paced, has interesting characters and is emotionally charged. This is both fun to read and watch in movie form. If you want to write YA  fiction, you may want to consider these steps in order to be successful.

1. Main Character Must be a Young Adult.
I say young adult, because I think you can have quite young protagonists, younger than teenagers, and a bit older, into their early twenties. This is a magical age in anyone's life. It is also a bit of a trying time for many. Socially, it is difficult for almost everyone. There is a lot of self doubt and fear. Strong emotions hit hard at this age and must be dealt with for the first time. Falling  in love really hard with someone for the first time usually also happens at this  point of life and can be rather mystical, magical, amazing and horrible all at  once. Young adults sort of start narrating their own lives at this point. They  see their lives as an adventure book where wonderful and awful things happen.  And, for most of them, they hold out hope that things will get better if they  hang in there.


2.
Invent Some Screwball/Original Characters.
No need to go through the lengthy list of original, interesting and bizarre characters in the Harry Potter series, other than to point out how successful those books were in great part due to those   extremely identifiable characters. The thing that really makes a book interesting isn't magic, werewolves or love between a human and a vampire; it's the characters. Funny, silly, scary, weird, fanatical, characters. Once you have  some of those your story will take off without you if you're not careful. Young  adults love to read about characters they believe are more off-kilter than  themselves. Quite often they feel like the weirdo; give them someone else to  identify with and laugh at.

3.
Put Your Characters in Danger.
Danger Will Robinson! If your characters aren't in trouble for their lives, find a way to put them in some. I know there are some really great YA books out there where their lives aren't in danger, but perhaps their sanity,  or reputations are. Something must be at risk. But putting their actual lives in  danger, if you do it believably within the confines of the universe you've  created, it makes the book much more exciting. When kids are young, they loved  to be chased. Running away from danger is exciting. Turning and facing it is  even more exciting. I'm just saying, real danger creates the adventure both kids  and young adults crave - (especially if they can safely read about it within the  confines of written book).

4.
Create a Sympathetic Hook. 
If the reader doesn't identify with your character(s) for one reason or another they won't really care about them. You can put them in danger all day long, but  it won't matter if the reader doesn't like them. One great way to do this is to  hurt them somehow. I know, it doesn't sound nice, but if your protagonist isn't  struggling in some way (their parents are dead; their only friend is moving  away; they don't know where their next meal is coming from; they're suffering  from severe acne, you know, the kind that scars) it's hard for teenagers, who  already don't feel like they fit in, to relate.

5. Add a  Fantastical Element.
This isn't always necessary, but it helps. Almost  every adolescent in the world feels powerless.
They are forced to go to school  by parents who don't understand them; they have to relate to heartless, cruel  peers who are out to ruin their lives daily; they have piles of homework to  complete each day from 38 different teachers. It's nice for them to fantasize  about having power. It could be invisibility, it could be magic, it could be  sucking blood from people and staying out of the sun, but something that gives  them a sense of power. It's liberating.


 


Comments

04/29/2013 6:03am

I have seen alot of people make an effort to discus and write about this subject...and i have seen a lot of failures...but you have hit the nail on the HEAD....I agree totally and am looking forwardto your view on other subjects

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