The first YA I ever wrote, ME & TIMOTHY COOPER, set me on a path I didn’t expect to take in writing. I never thought it’d be so well received or would spawn so many more teenage romance stories. It’s been fun, and I can say, although I write many genres, I always come back to young adult stories. The innocence and simplicity is so refreshing.
Along the way, I’ve picked up a few tips about writing YA, the first of which I think gets overlooked far more than you’d think.
1. YA should be what teen readers will pick up.
A lot of adults read young adult stories, and I’ve personally read some that were written for adults but in the style of a teenage tale. There’s nothing really wrong with that, except in my mind, it really isn’t true YA. Just because the characters are young doesn’t mean that teen readers will grab hold of it and that, ultimately, is the biggest factor toward making the story true YA. It’s important to know the age group you’re targeting and to write the book that way.
2. Christian YA should be trustworthy by parents.
This doesn’t mean it’s preachy or even necessarily has a moral every time, but the characters an author promotes should be trustworthy, with right actions overall. This doesn’t mean they’re perfect. That would be a boring book, but there is a line Christian authors shouldn’t cross. Every word should, when the story ends, promote mercy, forgiveness, and grace in the light of God’s Word.
My latest YA novella, PINK, tells the story of seventeen-year-old Brigitte Pink and her fellow student, Nelson Trader. Nelson has hidden his inability to read from everyone for years, or so he thinks. But when called out by his English teacher in his senior year, he’s forced to spend time tutoring with Brigitte after school or perhaps not graduate from high school.
Desperate, but embarrassed, he agrees to go along with it, but makes Brigitte promise not to tell anyone. They must keep their time together a secret. However, the more time they spend together, the more they find they can be friends and maybe more than friends. Then again, they can’t, unless he swallows the one thing remaining between them – his pride.
Available at Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VU0MCAK
He looked up at the end to find her bowed over the bowl, her arm moving in circles, and didn’t speak. He took in the curve of her lips, her tongue poking out, unintended, on the side, the tousled mound of her hair sprung around her face.
She was attractive in her own way. Why had no one ever noticed? Why had he never noticed? Because he was too busy looking at himself … and girls like Tiffany, who wore their girlishness on the hem of their skirt. But Pink wasn’t any less a girl than they were. He’d found that out first hand. She just doubted she was.
She looked up and paused in her stirring, the same disbelief surfacing on her face. “What? I’ve grown horns?”
He shook his head. Curves. She’d grown curves and soft skin and a rosy tint to her cheeks. “You have …” He stretched out one arm and wiped a drop of batter from her chin. He turned his soiled finger up in her view. “I hope you’re going to let me stay and sample those,” he continued.
She wiggled her nose. “It’s going to cost you.”
“Oh yeah?” he asked.
She nodded sharp. She released the bowl and disappeared from the kitchen, returning with a paper in her hand. Slapping it in front of him, she patted the page. “Vocabulary for the SATs. Got those off a webpage. For every ten words you can read, I’ll give you a cupcake.”
He scanned the list. “And if I read the whole thing?”
“Then you’ll be one happy man tonight.”
He laughed. “You should bake more often.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Best-selling author, Suzanne D. Williams, is a native Floridian, wife, mother, and photographer. She is the author of both nonfiction and fiction books. She writes a monthly column for Steves-Digicams.com on the subject of digital photography, as well as devotionals and instructional articles for various blogs. She also does graphic design for self-publishing authors. She is co-founder of THE EDGE.
To learn more about what she’s doing and check out her extensive catalog of stories, visit http://suzanne-williams-photography.blogspot.com/ or link with her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/suzannedwilliamsauthor or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/scw1217.