Learn how to appeal to an age group with a massive appetite for well-written books.
Fiction for young adults is a very distinct genre – no longer children’s stories, but not quite adult fiction. There’s a tough line to draw in content and style, but if done well, you can break through to this large market.
Even if you have already been writing for adults or children, the recipe for success is made of different ingredients in this genre. Follow these great pieces of advice and start your journey to teen fiction success!
Ensure your age fits your audience
It can be difficult to judge the age-appropriate content for young adults, as it varies hugely between the younger and older ages on the spectrum. Choose your audience’s age and stick with it to then judge how you should write, what you should cover, and what tone to use. If you’re stuck on whether something’s age appropriate or not, ideally speak directly to someone in the targeted age, or to a parent with a child of that age, to help you make an informed decision.
Use a suitable point of view
The concept of an adult looking back on teenage experiences is never popular with young adults, as it reflects on the power of hindsight, which is rarely prevalent in their minds! Writing in the past tense is fine if done not too far in the future, but present tense is preferred. Try to think and speak as a young adult would to appear as genuine as possible.
Use appropriate language
How do young adults of your targeted age speak? Use this voice in your narration and dialogue and stick to it. There is a balance to be made here between not patronising the reader and not complicating or confusing matters with vocabulary that’s too difficult. To ensure you’ve got the right voice nailed, spend time around those of the correct age and research them through the media and online. Where do they spend time? How do they express themselves? What are their likes and dislikes?
Don’t preach, but keep hope
Whatever the main ‘message’ of your book may be, don’t preach it too hard. Readers will see right through a loosely-stranded story constructed just to make a point. Instead, tell a character’s story, and if it’s an unhappy one, end it on a hopeful note, helping to remind your audience that there’s always a possibility for brighter futures and positivity, even through dark times and difficult situations. If that’s all they take away from the story, that’s still something beneficial.
Young adult fiction may be difficult to get into, but there’s huge room for growth and development within the genre. If written well, readers will flock to your book and look for more. Remember to stay relatable, relevant, and easy-to-read.