Wednesday, December 7, 2011

YA is...

Many times I've heard it said that you can't have a YA novel without kissing.


Well, all of the YA manuscripts I've written have proven this statement to be true. Now there may be a book out there somewhere that doesn't have kissing, but for the most part YA does equal kissing. Teens have crushes. They have the crazy, all-consuming first loves. So, yes, there's kissing.

Today, I thought it would be fun to come up with some other things that YA novels must have. (Besides kissing.) So I'm asking you to finish this thought:

YA is...

*If you're interested, I have a guest post up on Write Spell about writing outside your comfort zone.

36 comments:

  1. about teens who for some reason can't confide in the adults in their lives.

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  2. Fi, very true. A lot of teens don't want to confide in adults and many do turn to books for the answers.

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  3. I'm kind of torn. Here's why-

    1. I've never had, and still don't have, been on a date, never mind a girlfriend, so I can't really identify the "YA+Romance" thing, and there comes a point when romance novels and romantic comedies alone DON'T fill the void.

    2. In response to what Fi cited above-

    "Teens who for some reason can't confide in the adults in their lives."

    Sometimes teens don't go to their parents because they just seriously don't get how you feel, and are too sedate and detached to care.

    My family don't get me at all, they're not cruel, but they just don't get me, what can you do? I'm not a teen anymore, but that still holds true, and yet in recent years I feel like I'm still a child to them, regardless of what they say otherwise, if I don't meet their particular standards for adulthood, I'm not one.

    3. Despite what screwball comedies and hardhearted paranoid parents wish to believe, there are people in their 20s who don't like being the "freeloaders" in their lives anymore than them.

    If I wasn't so cowardly, I'd pull an Ellen Hopkins and write about it, but I just can't go there, I still have to live it, and it will just read like a bratty rant.

    I better stop here. I don't want to get on my "Barbara Walters Soapbox" again.

    Taurean

    P.S. To me, YA simply means being fearless with the truth, but I wish they were more writers who can do that, without having to depress me, and who aren't named Meg Cabot or Ally Carter. No offense, Meg and Ally, but we need MORE writers who get that.

    Maybe someday I'll be one of them.

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  4. Taurean, I like "YA simply means being fearless with the truth." I think that's a great way to describe it. And I think that's what teens want to get out of reading a lot of the time.

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  5. about trying to figure out who you are and who you will become.

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  6. if your main character is a teen and going through teen issues, then you've written YA, regardless of the content.

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  7. Serious dysfunctions in the family or a family secret and a teen coping with or learning about...

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  8. Very true, Jessie. And there are a lot of teen issues so the possibilities are endless.

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  9. Mirka, I personally love stories where secrets (especially family secrets) turn the teens world upside down. Good answer.

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  10. I always giggle when I have to write a kissing scene; that's probably why I tend to write for tweens instead of teens. One thing I'd say YA has is a character who's trying to figure out his/her identity and place in the world.

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  11. Anna, I agree. Identity is huge in YA. I've been writing a lot of YA lately, so I've gotten used to the kissing scenes. I've actually written more of them than I ever thought I would.

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  12. Gossip and bullying are biggies in the YA world. My daughter is 17 and going through a really rough time with boyfriends and rumors. :)

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  13. Diane, gossip, rumors, bullying--all great answers. I'm sorry your daughter is going through a rough time. Is she a reader? Do books that touch on these topics help her?

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  14. High-stakes adventure! Fresh takes on magic. Topical issues for a new world.

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  15. Discovery, voice, the shimmering light of self confidence. Kids truly struggle with this during those teen years.. It's nice when the story under the story carries the message of being an individual.

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  16. Catherine, I kind of new what your answer would be. The FireSeed One release is just around the corner. ;)

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  17. Brenda, I agree and I love the way you put that about a story under the story.

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  18. Judy Blume writes YA's that have a lot more than kissing between teens. The YA's I write often imply sex between teens. That is because teens are often having sex or are on the verge of having sex. By writing about it, I can insert moral lessons such as responsibility and the fact that the magic of sex is not in the shape of our bodies but in the emotional connections that we feel. Ignoring this is one of the main reasons teens do not feel that they can approach adults in their families.

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  19. morriss003, I prefer books that imply sex, and I think it's great that you can get a lesson about responsibility in there. It's definitely something teens should hear--or in this case read.

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  20. YA is confirmation that you're not crazy. In fact, you're perfectly normal.

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  21. girlparker, I love that! I think you should tweet it. :)

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  22. YA is full of hope in a crazy and cruel world. Great topic, Kelly :)

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  23. Thanks, Courtney. Great answer. :)

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  24. I would say insecurity and then empowerment as the character becomes emotionally stronger with conflict.

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  25. Great answer, Medeia! I like the growth you've described.

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  26. YA is finding the bridge you need to walk from your childhood to your adulthood.

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  27. YA is, well, all the new, wonderful, horrible, lonely, misunderstood, angry, excited, vulnerable, invincible, (and many more) feelings packed into a 'young adult' trying find a way to release all that pressure.

    We've all dealt with them one way or another. Like Marcia said about finding the bridge, there are many bridges to choose from. Many directions those young adults can go, some may stop at kissing, some may not. Some may not have time for the romance if their bridge is falling from beneath them.

    YA is, everything.

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  28. about getting your heart broken in many areas, choosing to mope around or taking the next step to fix it, and of course, fixing it enough to receive a broken-but-still-doing-okay-and-will-go-on-becoming-stronger heart.

    I love the various interpretations here, especially Brenda's!

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  29. rick, YA is everything. I think you're right there. Thanks for your thoughts.

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  30. Claudine, I agree. Everyone's coming up with such great answers. Including you!

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  31. This is such an interesting post and discussion thread. I think YA books tend to have characters that are struggling and worry about what others think of them.

    ~Jess
    http://thesecretdmsfilesoffairdaymorrow.blogspot.com/

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  32. Jess, I agree. And yes, everyone's come up with great answers to this question.

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  33. Kissing Scenes - yup - I had to write one! and my daughter read the scene not long after. Said I traumatized her for life cos moms are not meant to write stuff like that... lol. But more seriously, it's important to keep the scene in context, however mild or steamy it gets.

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  34. tgayer, I agree. The scene needs to be right for the story. LOL about your daughter. I hope she wasn't too traumatized. Does she realize the people who write books for her age are most likely your age or older?

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