Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Insecure Writers Support Group 5-6-19

It's the first Wednesday of the month, so it's time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group.

This month's question is a goodie:  Of all the genres you read and write, which is your favorite to write in and why?

For me, I love to write YA contemporary.  Even when I try to write for adults, I almost always end up focusing on something from the characters' pasts, from their teenage years, that made them the people they are today.  And the story ends up being YA, not adult.  It's happened more than once...

I think the teenage years are the most important years of your life. This is the period in which you become the person you end up 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.  Friendships that may once have felt like they would last forever dissolve or change as people discover new things about themselves and others around them.

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. 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.

So, while I love adult literature, and read it, I write YA for the dynamism, excitement and wonder of growing up. For the voice that hasn't yet been ground down by the daily grind, for the hopefulness and idealism of youth, and for the opportunity to discover the moments that change you forever.

The story I'm working on now is so fascinating to me because the 17-year-old MC is utterly convinced he's right and so single-minded about what he is doing, he can't see that there are other options available to him.  By the end of the book everything has changed for him, and everything he thought he knew has been proven untrue, everything he has been working for has been taken away from him.  It's an interesting challenge to find a way for him to move on with his life with all this stripped away.

What is your favorite genre to write? And why?


  1. You put that really well for the allure of YA!

  2. That's a fantastic description of the YA genre, and the main reason why I love to read it. :)

  3. It is a confusing, messy time. That must be why it's so interesting to write about. I think the changes in your MC are exactly why I find YA so compelling.

  4. I had to laugh at your description of no matter how you begin, you always end up with YA. I think I have a similar bent toward women's fiction... no matter what I read and enjoy, my stories are always in that arena.

  5. I've begun to suspect that teenage life isn't really any different from adult life. Except adults are even more prone to believing that they know what they're doing, and they really don't. The only way to escape that mentality is to recognize how much you really have to learn to even begin to know anything. Then of course you realize you still don't know much at all...

    Basically, being a teenager is exactly what they always said it was, a time for believing you know everything, well before you really know anything, and being too stubborn to admit it. You have too much to prove. But adult life ends up becoming a constant trick of finding out how to avoid proving anything. Yeah.

  6. I too feel our genre chooses us. Friends become enemies, enemies become friends and we're just along for the ride. Happy IWSG!

  7. Wow, you are tough on characters!
    Teens are emotional messes so yeah, lots of fodder there.

  8. I love writing and reading MG and YA too. I think it's there sense of innocence that I adore!