Apr 29 2016

#atozchallenge Y is for #Writing for Young Adults #WriteTip on YA Series Fiction

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26 writing reference books containing 26 lessons leads to a month of #WriteTips and writing samples

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Y is for “Young”
Book: Writing for Young Adults by Sherry Garland
My dice roll: 33
Lesson: Writing Series Fiction

Publishers of YA series try to appeal to the broadest audience possible. Ten tips are given for those braving this task:

1. Hook with an action, problem, or change in the opening.
2. End chapters on cliff-hangers.
3. Have believable dialog. Avoid slang because it gets dated. YA publishers tend to reject profanity.
4. Skip lots of description and dialog. Use verbs instead of adjectives and adverbs as often as possible.
5. Flashbacks should be avoided or kept short.
6. Use the five senses in every scene.
7. Moral lessons need to be subtle, not preachy.
8. Adults shouldn’t solve the story problems for teen protagonists.
9. No explicit sex.
10. Young readers want a protagonist that’s two or three years older than they are– thus narrowing down the age of your core audience.

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Check out the current best-selling book series for young adults on Amazon.


Have you read any of these? If so, did it follow the 10 rules?

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  1. These rules seem right on the mark for the just about all the young adult fiction I’ve read. I remember bad language in Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl, but it fit the character perfectly.
    Tamara Narayan has this post to share Y is for . . .My Profile

  2. Writers of YA have some obligations to their readers to engage and be honest, yet not take the story into X-rated material. I agree with that.
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    • Juneta on April 29, 2016 at 11:28 AM

    That sounds like good advice for all genres IHO, lol. Great post
    Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit
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    • Juneta on April 29, 2016 at 11:29 AM

    PS LOVE YOUR MEME about you know you are a writer when
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  3. I never wrote for a specific section, never thought about the target readers, perhaps because I am only into blogging and that too just to entertain myself. The points you mentioned are all thoughtful. I specifically liked the subtility of moral lesson, that is a very clever and interesting point. Thanks for sharing.
    Best Wishes!
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  4. I think the rules are also a great guide for whether your book is YA or not. I had a problem with a number of people assuming The Perihelix was for YA, when I said it didn’t have any ‘adult’ stuff in it. It’s for grown-ups, though – it doesn’t fit the rules of YA!

    I’ve really loved your writing tips. A great resource, too!

    I hope you’ve enjoyed your AtoZ Ambassadoring this year
    Jemima Pett
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  5. I liked the way you approached the A to Z meme – very clever – and very appealing to a librarian. Thanks for swinging by my blog too by the way. Hope you’re not too exhausted after this challenge although you do seem full of energy from just glancing at this blog.
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  6. I am curious why you suggest skipping a lot of dialogue? I thought kids loved to share pithy quotes from their favorite books. (Or at least my teen daughter does, lol.)
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    1. I don’t personally suggest it. This is what that book said.

    • shina on July 25, 2016 at 4:49 AM

    S LOVE YOUR MEME about you know you are a writer when
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