Three of the hottest YA novelists sat down with Alice Bloom, host of A Town…and Village, for a rousing discussion on the genre and why it’s so important. The panelists included Amalie Howard, author of Bloodspell, Emmy Laybourne of Monument 14 fame, and finally Annabel Monaghan, who wrote Digit.
They begin by saying that the rise of the Young Adult genre all started thanks to J.K. Rowling, the author of the beloved Harry Potter series. If her books hadn’t turned out to be such a literary phenomena that crossed generational lines, it’s unlikely that the YA genre would be the hot selling ticket that it is today. Monaghan also goes on to point out that YA novels are important because they help bridge a gap between adults and their children. Adults could read a YA series and remember what it felt like to fall in love for the first time as well as bond with their kids over rousing discussions about the latest Harry Potter book.
Whether you are a fan of the Young Adult genre or not, all three authors make excellent points as to why it became such a hit so quickly and why it is an important genre as well.
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Thanks to J.K. Rowling’s hit series Harry Potter and Suzanne Collins’ trilogy the Hunger Games, the Young Adult (YA) genre has been launched into the public eye after laying dormant for so many years. However, sometimes fans of the genre and aspiring authors get confused about what exactly constitutes as Young Adult fiction, but literary agent and publishing pro Laure McLean uploaded a video that helpfully explains the YA market and what does and does not fit into that particular category.
First, the target range for readership is usually teenagers from the ages of 13 to 18 years old, but that doesn’t mean twenty-somethings and adults can’t enjoy that genre, either. The word count is flexible, with the word count generally being about 60,000 or so.
Second, she warns aspiring writers that they should not make the mistake of thinking that YA is “dumbed down adult fiction.” This genre is far more experimental than most of the other categories thanks to the authors being willing to discuss topics in their novels that others might not touch—these include teen pregnancies, paranormal topics, and other nitty-gritty subjects.
Third, the books should always have a teen protagonist. While authors usually have a female lead, either way, the novels should touch on how real-life teens are breaking away from their families and are experiencing things for the first time. The books should also be written in an age-appropriate manner as well.
Finally, while some authors may disagree, McLean remarks that another characteristic of YA novels is touching upon teens’ emotional behavior, especially when it comes to not thinking about consequences when they are feeling things “in the heat of the moment.”
Although the video’s short, it’s a helpful snapshot of the YA genre and gives aspiring writers a guide that will help them brainstorm as they write what could be the next Harry Potter series!
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