November 24, 2008

Why Write YA? And Other Stuff.

Lately I've been thinking a bit about the answer I usually give when people ask me why I'm interested in writing for a young adult audience. Until recently, I've had a pat, prepared answer because I haven't really been able to entirely articulate why I'm so into YA. Of course it isn't the only thing I write, but it's one of my major areas of interest.

Usually I tell people a variation on the following, which, while admittedly rather stiff and dull and goody-two-shoes, is no less true: I like writing for a young adult audience because it's a critical age--it's the age at which I remember doing the most reading, but it's also a time when you can really lose readers forever. If a writer can keep kids reading through the distractions of junior high and high school, with truly good-quality, enjoyable literature, then it's truly a worthwhile endeavor.

This is true. I believe it wholeheartedly. But it's only one reason why I write YA. Just this past week, while working on my very first novel-length project that isn't strictly YA, I realized what my current piece still has in common with a lot of teen books--and that this is what really draws me to writing for young adults: I love stories about self-discovery and/or coming-of-age. And books with teen protagonists lend themselves to that theme. These are of course not the only coming-of-age novels out there, and I do love any good book in which the protagonist comes to learn or discover something new about themselves.

I suppose I'm also a sucker for the idea that my writing could really make a difference to somebody looking for just the right story--someone struggling with ideas of ethnicity or feeling different, with the weight of the past or the bonds of family, and figuring out who they are in the midst of all of that, independent of all of that.

A link and a thank-you to conclude with: We were featured in Jon Bard's Best Kidlit Blog Posts of the Day last Wednesday for our interview with D.M. Cornish. Thanks, Jon, for the great plug!

I promise to be back soon with another Toon Thursday--I skipped last week in order to give the WBBT its due, and I'll be swamped with Thanksgiving stuff this week, but I'm already pondering ideas for next week and the start of December! Pinky swear.


Anonymous said...

Just wanted to proffer a big THANKS! I received my autographed copy of THIRSTY yesterday!

Have a peaceful, easy-going week!

Colleen Cook

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

I think I wriet YA because my I think as a teen even though I am in my 30s. Sad but true :)

Vivian Mahoney said...

Love what you have to say on this. Yes, on all counts.

Sarah Stevenson said...

Thinking as a teen even though I'm in my 30s!! I forgot about that one, but I'm right there with you. :)