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Tuesday 15 January 2019

✉ Why I Write YA Fiction - Janet Schrader-Post

Today author takes over our blog to tell us about why she writes Young Adult fiction; her latest work is The Young Adult Writer's Journey: An Encyclopedia for YA Writers (, Tell-Tale Publishing Group, 199 pages), a Non-Fiction 'How-to' book.

"The trouble with “how to” books on creativity is that they usurp creativity. Not so with this very insightful guide for YA writing. If it doesn’t become a standard or even a classic among reference books, it will be an oversight.

Janet Schrader-Post and Elizabeth Fortin-Hinds have all the marinated smarts and credentialed experience to pull this off, and they do! No dictated wisdom from on high here, no grafted creativity, THE YOUNG ADULT WRITER’S JOURNEY is accessible, motivational and a clear map that leaves plenty of room to discover for anyone wanting to explore their creative side." ~ Thomas Sullivan, Pulitzer-nominated author of THE PHASES OF HARRY MOON

|| Synopsis || Trailer || Teaser: KCR Preview || Author Guest Post || About the Author || Giveaway & Tour Stops ||

Why I Write Young Adult Fiction

by Janet-Schrader-Post

Everyone is reading Young Adult fiction. YA offers a wide variety of genres incorporated inside the bigger category. You can find romance, fantasy, and adventure inside the covers of young adult books. This is why Elizabeth and I decided to write a how-to book for writers interested in writing YA.

Great YA books and New Adult fiction have created an audience of adult readers as well as teens. Fifty-five percent of the readers of YA fiction aren’t teens, they’re adults. Statistics say they’re in the eighteen to thirty-year-old category, but many readers are much older. Some find them relaxing, the characters charming and funny, the situations reminiscent of their own childhood dreams of beating the odds, defying their parents, and overcoming the hardships of growing up. Who doesn’t love seeing kids succeed?

The period in a person’s life between thirteen and twenty is the hardest. Teens grow physically. Their bodies go through crazy changes they must deal with every day while navigating school, athletics, and learning to socialize. They’re under the gun from teachers, parents and most importantly, from their peers. Many of them crash and burn. A kid can totally ruin his or her entire life before age fifteen.

To write successfully about teens you must understand them. They are often a misunderstood group. They are maligned for acting out or being rude and disobedient. The complex nature of a teenager’s life should be taken into consideration when writing for modern teens. Teen suicide rates are high. There are many reasons and many risk factors. Teenagers are prone to depression. Family life is not what it was in the fifties. In most homes, both parents work--if there even are two parents in the home. Divorce and single parent homes affect kids in a multitude of ways too.

The American Society for the Positive Care of Children list substance abuse, physical, mental and sexual abuse in the home as just some of the reasons for teen suicide. A family history of suicide and exposure to the suicidal behavior of peers can also affect teens. Kids in our times do not live in Leave it to Beaver or Happy Days. They struggle, they fight, and many succeed against terrible odds. This could be one of the reasons books with more mature themes, themes that reflect the struggles of teens in today’s world, are popular.

Coming of age books used to be the main offering in the YA market, and it still applies. Kids still come of age, no matter what century it is. They just face different issues and overcome different obstacles. Learning as you go, making mistakes and making better choices, is what coming of age is all about. Teenagers have an exhausting and chaotic number of first times to deal with, all while juggling friends, family, school and . . . wait for it . . . social media. Self-esteem and trying to figure out who they are, who they should be, who they want to be and why are huge issues for them. Trying to be different while deeply concerned with fitting in and finding their niche in their world is huge for kids, and especially tough because they want everyone to believe they could care less. They drive themselves and often their parents to distraction finding just the right outfit, the one that looks as though they’ve thrown it on casually and just happen to look fantastic and trendy. Other kids might struggle to find a shirt that isn’t ripped or missing buttons, or one that wasn’t underneath a urine-soaked garment from one of their siblings.

Coming of age may still be a recurring theme in YA, but most readers don’t think about it like that, probably because they’re living it. No matter how old they are, humans perpetually come of age, from one life stage to the next. All main characters should demonstrate growth and change. You can find literature like that in fantasy, science fiction, urban fantasy, and other genres, but in YA, the protagonist is always a teenager. And following a kid through adventures, watching them develop skills and courage they never knew they had, is what makes YA magical.

To illustrate and enrich our book, Elizabeth and I decided to put drawings of teens at the chapter headers. I’ve included some of these drawings. I did all but one of them. I think they illustrate the different kinds of teen characters you can use in your writing as well as what’s in the upcoming chapter.

  • Drawing for Chapter 4: Creating a Real World With Real Characters
  • Drawing for Chapter 6: Characters
  • Drawing for Chapter 8: Setting and Timeline
  • Drawing for Chapter 9: Point of View
  • Drawing for Chapter 10: Language

The Young Adult Writer's Journey
ONLY 0.99 until 1 Feb 2019!

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