Friday, August 10, 2012

To YA or Not to YA?

That is a great question.

One of the very first things I wrote was not YA.  It was a semi-creative-narrative thing where I took too-personal elements from my life and tried to write about them.  Didn't work out well and ended up in a recycle bin in a galaxy far, far away :-)

The next thing I wrote was an erotica that involved characters age 18 an above.  There was no NA - New Adult - distinction at the time so it was what I called a suspense romantica.  Pen name Rayven Godchild so I could actually "debut" at a later time with my own name tied to a later work.

When Lord of the Rings hit the scene with a splash, I got the courage to finally act on a story idea that had been brewing in my mind for a while.  I created a new world with magic, governmental hierarchy, sound-based ancient language based on our 26 letter system, legends...the works.  Even involved a bit of necromancy.  But my Searchers of the Unicorn Horns series hasn't had a chance to see much light.  It was definitely YA.

My works, since this idea, have all been YA.  And all have involved fantasy/sci-fi.  Around the blogosphere, there are lots and lots of writers, many of them YA writers/authors.  I can't help wondering if there was some one thing that has so many of us out here as YA writers?  Was there a particular catalyst that changed the dynamic or has it always been this way and I didn't notice it until I joined the YA writer ranks?

What are your thoughts

45 comments:

  1. Not sure if there's one thing, but YA is definitely popular. Maybe it's because of the level of independence and all the issues teens go through. I really thing YA is easier (but not easy) than MG to break into as a debut author. That's one of the reasons my second book is YA.

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  2. Young adult is really popular now. it's what half the writers I know write.

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    1. I know. There are so many that it just seems like I couldn't keep up with all us if I tried :-)

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  3. I never moved onto adult fiction, except in fantasy. Maybe that's why?

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  4. I like to think I will write in various genres, because I read in various genres, but my focus on my current stories happen to be YA. I think nowadays, it's the norm to write across genres. At least, I see it all the time now.

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    1. There are a number of authors out there that do publish across genres.

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  5. YA makes money. So it's understandable that authors, even authors who wouldn't normally write YA also follow the money. I think this explains the unusual glut of YA authors.

    YA is extremely hard to write well if it's not your natural genre. There's a subtle but intrinsic world view that good YA authors can bring to the surface. They understand the teenage psyche.

    Something I'm sure I would fail completely. :)

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    1. When I started my first YA novel, it's funny because instead of wanting to do something exactly like LOTR, which was the inspiration, the story flowed from a young person's perspective, a certain sort of naivete about the world. Definitely different from the more grown up perspective.

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  6. Like you, my first book was not YA either - it was adult fiction involving a very creative serial killer. (And that used to be all I read with a little paranormal thrown in here and there). But for years now, I write (and read) YA full time and I completely love it.

    You're right - great question!

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    1. It would be interesting to see where various writers got their inspiration to write that first YA novel.

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  7. My first books weren't YA at all, but you know, they did feature teenage protagonists (though that could have been because I was teen-age at the time). I don't know how I became a 'YA writer'. I think it was an accident; those are the books I love reading most now, and the ones I tend to write.

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    1. I wonder if, for those not drawn by the prospect of money, there is an internal draw for those of us that write YA. Young adults see things a bit differently than adults, and yet, so many adults love to write and read YA.

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  8. Angela, your YA fantasy series sounds BOSS. Please go back to writing it because it sounds like something I'd totally love to read! I always knew I wanted to write for teens and children, although one of my first attempts featured characters about my age (in their 20s... that "new adult" category I've heard so much about).

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    1. Thanks, Julie. That fantasy series is one that I don't think I could ever get rid of. Not sure if I'll ever get to publish it - though I really hope I get to :-) - but it was a lot of fun getting all the elements together and maybe...just maybe...one day :-)

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  9. I've written historical romance, fantasy, and YA in the same categories. I'm currently writing something that could be either YA or NA, altho supposedly that's not a distinct genre, yet. I think YA is easy to write because the way we were at 17 isn't all that different from the way we are now. I mean sure, I'm older, more responsible, more confident, etc, but I still remember vividly when I wasn't.

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    1. This may put the corporate world on blast, but I sometimes wonder if all we did was graduate high school then college only to end up in a new high school called "Corporate High" because it seems not much changed at all lol!!

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  10. No idea, really. I just tagged YA to my genre after I started blogging and realized the term existed. :-P

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    1. Well, there's much we learn from blogging :-)

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  11. I've noticed a surge in teen reading among my son's friends - especially the girls. I think it is a direct result of their being so many titles to choose from. Plus, I think teens will often pick up a current work that deals with things they can relate to as opposed to the classics, which are more involved reads. With their busy schedules - sports, school, social lives that are much more active than when I was a teen - they want to relax with a book to unwind...and newer YA titles offer that escape into a story without being 'heavy' reads.

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    1. That is an excellent supply and demand angle to consider.

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  12. You know it's interesting because I've never tagged my writing as anything, but some of it probably falls under YA just because of the age of my characters and thematically. I started writing a lot in my teens, so most of my MCs were teens.

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    1. For some reason, YA is very popular. I wonder if others, like yourself, simply started writing at a young age and the age group of the characters just grew to become the comfortable age range for sharing stories?

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  13. I've noticed a LOT of YA authors. I don't write YA - my characters are older generally. Still I had to wonder if there was something others know that I don't because YA seems to have a Majority. Maybe it is because teens still have time to read - where adults are often wrapped up in work & worries.

    *~MAJK~*

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    1. There are a lot of YA authors and others like me, authors-in-training. I suppose with younger folks having more time, being a YA author is a good thing...I think. Gives us plenty of audience to write to.

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  14. I've read a little YA and am still confused on when that label is applied. Some books that are called YA have young adult characters but very adult themes (like, the "kids" in the story aren't considered children in their society.)And I've seen other called YA that have slightly older characters but very young themes. I think that mostly, it's a marketing ploy.

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    1. For my writing, it has applied more to the age of the characters. Some themes may be questionable, but are written about because more teens than we realize experience so much.

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  15. My first novel was actually MG. But half-way through I realized that MG is not what I want to write. YA and New Adult genres are definitely my forte.

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    1. Cool. You tried a different age group but found the YA/NA voice worked better for you :-)

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  16. I thought I wanted to write children's books - still do. My current work started out to be MG but wanted to be YA. I think YA has that suspension of disbelief thing going on for the reader. We want something fantastic and over the top and we want to believe it. There's a lot of empowerment going on in YA, too, with young adults coming into their own. It's past the sort of limited boundaries from MG, but not yet held to the responsibilities of adults. I think that's why I like it.

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    1. So well put. I can certainly see the attraction for both readers and writers with this point.

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  17. It is very popular. So far, I've been aiming at adults.

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    1. I kind of wonder if I'll return to writing adult novels :-)

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  18. Young Adult is a fairly new genre, and I think there's a special appeal for YA authors to get online. I'm not YA, and it's not easy for me to find writers who write in my genre, since most of them avoid blogging/twitter/tumblr/facebook. :)

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    1. Oh no. Well, I hope you're able to locate as many as possible in your genre...though I'm curious of what that genre is.

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  19. The boom in YA literature is an interesting one. I'm not sure what caused it--but there do seem to be a lot of YA writers on the internet.

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    1. True, we YA writers seem to be all over the place :-)

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  20. I believe the Twilight series has had something to with the YA increase in popularity and interest. It has inspired more teenagers to read. I will also say the Harry Potter may have sparked the interest before this as well.
    As I work every day with teenagers, I have noticed an increase in their reading interests now,than say 10years ago!

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  21. i'm thinking my maturity level in writing, slang, sarcasm, simple, is geered for mg. thats my current camp nano book. we'll see how it goes...

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  22. I believe my first book, a historical novel based on two real teenage spirit mediums, could have gone either way. I wavered when writing it -- trying to decide who the audience was. (I may even have gone the wrong way on that one ...) But once I fell into writing about teenage protagonists, I just couldn't stop. :)

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  23. I'm not very into YA when it comes to writing, though I certainly read quite a bit of it.

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  24. That's a great question. I went from romance to YA and back to romance. I love reading YA, but I'm not sure I have the right voice for it...

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  25. I think YA is hot because it appeals to such a broad audience - not just YA, but some advanced middle-graders and lots of adults as well. Being a teenager is a time that lots of writers can tap into well in their own experience - it is so dramatic and vivid a time of life when people feel things so much and everything seems so important - so I think that makes it more accessible to writers. I love reading YA, and am hacking away at a number of YA novels... just haven't gotten them right yet :)

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  26. I love YA because it's such an emotionally charged time in life when possibility is king. I think even as adults it's easy to snap right back there.

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