My new genre-of-choice is Young-adult fiction. I read it, I write it, I love it.
Young-adult fiction is hot. Officially aimed at the 14 – 21 age group, it is finding an audience far beyond those narrow boundaries. Vast numbers of people over the age of twenty-one are reading teen fiction. New YA blogs appear every day. But Why?
Some say it’s the style. The books are fast-paced, edgy and exciting. The dialogue moves the plot forward and the narrative is written in a conversational style with no literary pretensions. In other words – it’s easy to read. You don’t have to struggle to extract the author’s meaning from the foggy thicket of their words. NB That doesn’t mean it’s easy to write!
Others say people love YA because we’re all in love with the idea of being young. We can relive those heady days when everything was new through the youthful heroes and heroines of our favourite YA series. And maybe there’s something in that. There’s nothing quite like a FIRST first kiss, is there? But for me, the key to understanding the rising appeal of teen fiction is in the themes it deals with, including:
|Stills from the trailer for American Smile by Cody Young|
dealing with prejudice,
righting wrongs in an unfair world,
swimming against the tide,
finding love and gaining other people’s respect.
And since lots of not-so-young people are dealing with that stuff too – there’s your answer. As many of my readers know, I started out writing historical fiction and only recently switched to writing YA. Why? I realised that even in my historical fiction I was trying to write YA. My protags are nearly always in their teens, they have angsty teenage problems, they have parents – sometimes bad parents – and they have an aching need to make their mark in the world. When I finally made the move to writing YA everything fell into place. Writing full-length novels suddenly became a whole lot easier, becuase this is where I belong. I see my own writing as Young-adult/New Adult – meaning fiction aimed at the older teens, twenties, and beyond. To see if you think I got it right – you’ll need to check out my latest release Johnny Doesn’t Drink Champagne. Available for 99 cents at Amazon and Smashwords. Also available in print at Amazon.com for $8.99.
A site I’ve found interesting lately is the YA Fantasy Guide over at http://www.yafantasyguide.com/fantasy-genres/paranormal.htm
Also, check out YALSA, the Young Adult Library Services Association – lots of good articles on trends in YA fiction I’ve just started following them on twitter.