Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Insecure Writers Group 7-2-18

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.


  1. Here from Alex's blog. Yes, I agree with everything you've said here. My first novel was an adult Urban Fantasy. I never thought I'd cross over to YA, but here I am, 38k into my YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy novel.

    I've read the genre for years, but pulling off the voice is tough. If you use too much slang, it sounds contrived, not enough too adult. It took a while to delve into the mind of a teen, which is weird since I have one at home, LOL. Anyway, FWIW, I enjoyed reading your post. Very insightful.

  2. I've mostly written about young people my entire writing life, since I was young myself when I began writing, and it was only natural to write about people in my age range. I later came to realize most of my books are more adult books which happen to feature younger characters, instead of YA as it's primarily thought of today. The fact that my genre is historical plays a big role in that.

  3. I think you hit the nail on the head for YA. Maybe that's why adults like to read it too. It takes them back to that time where they didn't have to deal with all the responsibilities of being an adult.

  4. I love your take on YA. Absolutly agree with everything you've said. (Incidently, I also have an embarassing historical romance hidden away somewhere too. lol) I write mostly for adults, but my one YA is still my favorite. There is something magical about those turbulent years.

  5. I'm going to bookmark your answer. I also write for teens, but I could not have pulled my thoughts together so well regarding writing for this age group. Well done!

  6. Good answer. I don't think I realized how true all that is. It must be what makes it so compelling both to read and to write.

  7. I love reading YA for those very same reasons - there are just so many directions you can take it.

  8. I enjoy reading YA fiction because of the reasons you listed. I totally believe that the voices of the youth are unspoiled and haven't reached the disappointment of adulating.
    Have a lovely Wednesday!

  9. Hi Kate,
    Great answers. It seems you've really given your genre choice thought. Here's my post with my feelings on the same question from iwsg:

  10. I love your insights into a teen mind. They are interesting creatures, aren't they?


  11. I agree 100% with you. I have a particular love of YA as well, since it's my primary genre. Part of me believes I'll forever be 16 years old, so... I guess that means I'm living life to the extreme? ;)

  12. Writing YA is so important for Youth development.
    All the best in all your book endeavours.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G