Quick Update: HA! I thought of something to write about, maybe multi-posts, too. Cue: evil laugh. And since I'm following (and being followed) by some cool new writers on Twitter, why not?
Obviously, as a pre-published author, YA reader and YA myself, I can say that my favorite genre is pretty much exploding on the market right now. See below:
There are not many differences between YA and adult literature, if we get honest. There is still sci-fi and romance, fantasy and mainstream, issues and conflicts. The main contrast is and will always be: the audience.
So, here is the official WHAT TEENAGERS WANT FROM YOUR BOOKS.
1. We want smart, funny dialogue. Not simplistic, short sentences that have triple spaces on page. Sarcasm may be a no-no in a lot of genres, but we can never get enough. If the narration is satirical and can generate a laugh or two, we read on.
2. We want new characters. Yes, we all know cheerleaders are evil demons living inside tanned, bleached blonde teen girls. Move onto a new monster please. (Like, Jennifer's Body...Jennifer was on the flag team, not a cheerleader). How about the chess club captain or the track star being the antagonist for once? Everyone has a motive...you just have to look deeper.
3. We want romance. No, this does not indicate a book chock full of declarations of love between two teenagers. This would never happen, anyways, especially in contemporary YA. "I love you" is thrown around more carelessly than ever these days. How about romance elements? Where the hero/heroine have their issues, and the boyfriend/girlfriend merely acts as a shoulder to cry on, an ally who knows how to kiss? If love is the main story at hand, then do not mirror Nicholas Sparks. Be original with your lovers and their relationship. You're a human*, so hopefully you know how humans express and feel emotion.
*If you are not a human, then you are excused.
4. We want to be shocked. We want twists at the end that make us scream "What the (insert curse word here)" and then force us to keep reading so we look for a resolve (which should also be included. If things are predictable, and I can already tell that Whatshisname will get the girl and defeat EvilVillainGuy, then you fail. However, keep the shockers to a minimum. Bringing in a demented evil twin who has yet to be mentioned at all will not shock us, it will only mean a negative review of your work.
5. We actually kinda want cuss words and "bad" stuff. I can remember reading "Breathing Underwater", one the required books, and the three kids in my group got all giddy because someone said a swear on the first page. I was pretty shocked; I mean, back then, I just finished a Scott Westerfeld book where it was a common, REALISTIC thing. The truth is that teenagers today are just like the shows Family Guy and South Park: perverted and yet a little intelligent when it comes down to it. We watch Shane Dawson videos and listen to Lil Wayne. It's a new generation, I guess. But, the idea of of censoring YA is beginning to thin. Just be natural!
6. We want sad stuff, in the case of the girls. I'm not speaking for myself (I sold my soul for a chocolate chip cookie two years back) but my peers seem to love books that end with people dying. A popular choice is the Outsiders, which remains one of the most beloved required readings ever. You know how many people sobbed over the ending? And dogs dying in fiction is pure tradition yet legend. Old Yeller and Where the Red Fern Grows are classics. Yet, so are I Am Legend and Marley & Me. Tears are the best attraction.
This is all I can think of for the moment, but the post is sorta lengthy anyways. Any questions or suggestions? Perhaps I should make these multi-posts...
Thanks for reading! :)