Sometimes you can get yourself tied in a knot about whether you should or shouldn’t write the story you want to write. When in doubt, my rule is simple. Just write the story.
Melina posted this question on my “Ask A Question For My Blog” page:
I’m new to your blog (it’s great btw!) so forgive me if you have already answered a similar question.
I would like to write YA fiction and I have an idea I really like, but I’m unsure about whether its concepts/themes will appeal to teenagers. The obvious solution would be to write it for adults, and I would be happy to do so, if it weren’t for the fact that my protagonist is a 16-year-old girl.
It will be speculative fiction set in a somewhat dystopian future, with themes strongly addressing beauty and the media. But as much as it will be a story about this world, it will also be a story about a teenager who’s just trying to find out who she really is and where she fits in the greater scheme of things.
As a 21-year-old, both appeal to me, but as I sit in the middle as a reader of both YA and adult fiction, I’m afraid this idea won’t fit in either market.
Should I abandon it, change it, or just write it anyway?
Randy sez: Write it.
Teens are a lot smarter than many people want to think. They don’t mind big issues. If you’ve read THE HUNGER GAMES or the Harry Potter series, then you can’t possibly doubt that. When I was in my teens (feels like about two years ago), I didn’t like it when adults assumed that I wasn’t smart enough or serious enough to get what they were talking about. Teens who read a lot are plenty smart and plenty serious.
Teens do like to be entertained, same as every other age group. So the same rule applies to writing YA as applies to writing every other category — write a good story. Make it entertaining. Make it move the emotions of your reader.
Other than that, there aren’t any rules that can’t be bent, bashed, beaten, or broken.
Just write the story. If it’s any good, then you should be able to sell it or self-publish it and gain a following of loyal fans. If it isn’t any good, then figure out why.
Then go write another story. Over and over again for the rest of your life.
If you’ve got a question you’d like me to answer in public on this blog, hop on over to my “Ask A Question For My Blog” page and submit your question. I’ll answer them in the order they come in.
Blog of the Day: Larry Brooks just posted Part I of a two-part interview that I did with him last weekend. Larry knocked himself out coming up with what I consider the best set of interview questions I’ve ever been asked. I knocked myself coming up with answers that were (I hope) worthy of the questions. I even used the tongue-in-cheek phrase “mentally impoverished scoundrels” but I won’t tell you the context. You have to read the interview, which you can find here: “Interview With a Superstar Writing Mentor — Randy Ingermanson.” I’m still laughing at the title, which Larry came up with, not me. Have fun!