This month's ISWG question is: What do you love about the genre you write in most often?
I shall attempt to answer...
I write all kinds of stuff. Anyone who has read any of my short stories will understand that. I like to challenge myself and try new things, and short fiction is the ideal place to do that.
But mostly, I write YA.
My novels are almost exclusively YA (let’s just forget that terrible attempt at historical romance for now, shall we?) and YA is what I love.
Trying to articulate why is going to be the tricky part…
I think the teenage years are the most important years of your life. This is the period in which you become the person you spend the rest of your life being. You try on personalities, develop tastes, become engaged with the moral and idealogical tenets that will guide your life. It's a time where you develop relationships outside your own family and maybe even fall in love for the first time.
It's a confusing, messy time and any little event can invoke a massive emotional response. Some people change friends like they would their socks, trying different social groups for size. Cliques form and dissolve, bullying is rampant and acts of utter cruelty can be committed.
As a writer, this is dynamic stuff, and I can't get enough of exploring it.
Teens are such a contradictory mixture of child and adult, it's a compelling voice to play with. There are so many opportunities to write about things that are really important without getting preachy or didactic.
Teens have the luxury of being able to believe in things wholeheartedly. They don’t have to compromise their beliefs to suit others. And they don’t have the experience to understand that not everything is either black or white. Shades of gray aren’t something teens understand or deal with well.
I love writing about the early, clumsy attempts at adult relationships, about the changing dynamic of families as children become their own people. I love it when my characters make the right decision at a crucial moment, but like it even more when, like teenagers do so often, they make the wrong one.
I write YA for the dynamism, excitement and wonder of growing up. For the voice that hasn't yet been ground down by disappointment, boredom and the daily grind, for the hopefulness and idealism of youth, and for the opportunity to rediscover the moments that change you forever.
Why do you write what you choose to write? And do you choose? I often find my stories and characters choose me.