Why did you write a YA novel and not just a 'proper' one?
The first thing people ask when I say I've written a Young Adult novel is "Why did you write a YA novel and not just a 'proper' one?" So, I thought I'd write a short blog which should hopefully help to answer this question.
What is the difference between YA, NA and Adult Novels?
Most publishers use these categories but they can vary slightly and they can overlap.
Young Adult -12-18 year olds
New Adult -18 - 25 year olds
Adult - 18+
But despite these age ranges 50% of YA novel readers are actually adults - this includes me. (WIKI - HELP ME OUT)
Did you choose to write YA because it's easier?
Firstly, writing books for younger audiences isn't easier or harder than writing for older audiences, YA and NA novels are still 'proper' novels. Writing for any audience is difficult regardless of their age group because you have to capture their imagination.
Secondly, I personally find writing for young children difficult, despite working with them every day, this is because everything has to be perfect. Children are much less forgiving when it comes to bad writing. They would stumble over complicated punctuation or boring word choices and they lose interest very easily. In order to keep their interest every sentence often has be intriguing or funny. Children are brutal and they will tell you that a sentence is too long and boring and they will call you out if they think your writing is rubbish.
Writing for adults can be tricky because you need to know their reading level, everyone assumes because all adults are adult that they can read. But everyone reads in different ways, adults that aren't used to reading long prose will struggle with some punctuation and vocab and therefore won't enjoy the experience if you don't cater to them. On the other hand, adults who do read a lot of long prose won't actually read, they will skim and scam, therefore not stumbling over word choice and punctuation because they can assume that it's there as they read, but these readers will sometimes miss some of the detail. (Frustrating for writers who include a lot of detail)
In the YA category, you still have all of the possibilities of the audiences mentioned above but mixed with an age group who read short snappy sentences on social media for the majority of the day, enjoys wit and sass, but also needs serious characters with substance so they don't lose interest.
When broken down like this you can see that there is more to YA novels than just being easier to read and write than novel aimed specifically at older adults.
Regardless of age, readers want something that they can pick up and get lost in or learn something from, most don’t want to be googling every other word or re-reading sentences to check that they understood what the writer was trying to say so getting it right for your audience is a difficult task that writers of all genres have to nail.
Some of my YA novels that I urge you to try before reading Being Amani #shamelessplug
1. Noughts and Crosses
2. Everything, Everything
3. One of Us Is Lying
4. The Hate You Give
5. Clap When You Land (still on my list - but I've heard great things)
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