Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Why YA?

I know I've covered this before here, but I think there's always space for a re-visit.  Whenever people ask me what I write, and I answer "YA novels", they look at me weirdly and ask "Why?".

It's a valid question.  I'm a long way from being a teenager, and I wouldn't want to be a teenager again, not for any amount of money.  But I love to write YA.  Why?

There are many reasons.  Those teen years are huge.  They're the years in which you forge your identity.  Maybe it takes a while and you try on different ideologies to see how they fit.  It's when you develop your tastes and codes of ethics.  It's when you figure out where you fit into the world.  That's exciting stuff, but it can also be painful and maddening and that's what makes this such an exciting time to write about.

It's also a time where you feel things in a really intense way.  Often you're experiencing these feelings for the first time.  It can be confusing, overwhelming, terrifying.  Who can forget the first time you fell in love?  Really in love, not just a little crush.  Yeah, scary.  Overwhelming.  And that first break-up?  Arrggh!  Never want to live through that again.

Those teen years are also years in which you make a lot of mistakes.  Bad decisions.  But it's also the time you learn that not all decisions are final, and you can learn from mistakes.  Even the big ones.  In fact, if you live a life without making mistakes, you're probably missing out on some important life-lessons.

With all these elements to play with inside the framework of a story, is it any wonder I love writing YA?  I love watching my characters make the wrong choices and seeing where that leads them, how it forces them to grow and change as people.  I love watching them deal with emotions they don't know how to handle.  While they may go through some tough times, I'm sure that they all grow up to be better people because of it.

Why do you write YA?


  1. I always come back to YA. It seems the characters always draw me back in :)

  2. I agree. I love how everything is heightened when you're a teen. Emotions are intense. I love that writing YA lets me revisit that time and those emotions.

  3. I love the element of knowing that the future is still so unknown. For a teen, everything is still possible.

  4. I agree, teens are not jaded or burdened by past mistakes like adult characters, so it is much more fun to write about them. trying doing teh same with adults characters and readers would go...what? She's never done that? LOL

  5. I loved hearing about why you write YA. You have excellent reasons and a passion for it. Funny thing - the forging of identity and ethics I did in my twenties - my real love affairs were in my twenties also. Maybe that's why I'm thinking about writing Adult. After all, I'm only writing YA 'cause it's popular. Shameful but true.

  6. I write YA because I love tapping into those feelings and motivations. It was the time of my life when I really started examining who I was and who I wanted to become. It was scary, exhilarating, fun and full of promise.