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Do MCs in YA novels have to be Young? : Conversation question • Page 3 • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Do MCs in YA novels have to be Young?

Every month in Writer's Digest's InkWell section, we pose a question related to the writing life. Tell us your thoughts.
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KurtKilbourne
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Re: Do MCs in YA novels have to be Young?

Postby KurtKilbourne » Fri Jul 17, 2015 8:21 am

You definitely want your readers to feel a connection to MC or MCs...younger folks (those in the actual YA bracket) don't really have the mental capacity to relate to issues faced by adults 25+. Not an insult to any younger folks here, there are exceptions...but generally speaking it's true, they haven't developed enough mentally to grasp many adult concepts fully and won't related to a character who is well outside their own age.

That being said, however, write the book you want. Otherwise you probably aren't going to like it very much. If you want your MC to be a little older, or age out of the YA bracket as time goes on...just do it.
Last edited by KurtKilbourne on Fri Jul 17, 2015 9:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Do MCs in YA novels have to be Young?

Postby mammamaia » Fri Jul 17, 2015 9:17 am

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Re: Do MCs in YA novels have to be Young?

Postby KurtKilbourne » Fri Jul 17, 2015 9:39 am

Mental capacity may have been the wrong word choice, but there is a significant difference between the thought processes and development of a teenager versus an adult.

There are three forms of adolescent cognitive development that occur during the ages of 12-18. They are early, middle and late. As with all biological developments, there are exceptions and can happen earlier or later...but they generally happen within that range and the late adolescent development is rare to occur much before 18, it is often seen in high school seniors and those getting out on their own for the first time in their life.

MG and YA books are targetted to those in early and middle adolescent cognitive development. They focus on things like: What personal appearance is attractive, what groups to associate with and what rules should be challenged are struggles in MG books....what is right and wrong, what are some future goals, how is what I'm doing now going to effect my future, what relationships do I want to form and what is my code of ethics make up the issues in most YA books.

Late adolesnce is the development of political and religious beliefs, career decisions and roles in adult society. To write a character that is 25 and struggling with issues relative to the YA category...would be weird to say the least, though I imagine it could be done.

Hope that conveys what I was trying to say in a more sensical way.

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Re: Do MCs in YA novels have to be Young?

Postby pls » Fri Jul 17, 2015 9:44 am

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Re: Do MCs in YA novels have to be Young?

Postby KurtKilbourne » Fri Jul 17, 2015 9:49 am

The image, a screen grab of Shia Labeouf from the "Just Do it" Video, has been removed. Was not intended to be offensive or tastless, but a las many modern memes are not translated well without proper context.

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Re: Do MCs in YA novels have to be Young?

Postby onceuponwednesday » Fri Jul 17, 2015 11:04 am

The Rule of Three

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Re: Do MCs in YA novels have to be Young?

Postby DrG2 » Sat Jul 18, 2015 1:06 am

The brain matures around age 25.
Everyone thinks they are an exception, but everyone isn't.

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Re: Do MCs in YA novels have to be Young?

Postby updog » Sat Jul 18, 2015 11:45 am

"Is it weird in here, or is it just me?" ~ Steven Wright



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Re: Do MCs in YA novels have to be Young?

Postby pls » Sat Jul 18, 2015 1:12 pm

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Re: Do MCs in YA novels have to be Young?

Postby HawkEliz489 » Mon Jun 13, 2016 5:15 am

Personally, I think most (but not all) underage characters in YA Novels are just an easy excuse. It's easier to settle limits and choices for them, they're easily 'manipulative' figures (which I hate to say), and other 'adult characters' can decide their fates and give their stories the flow that writer struggles to give a reasonable cause. I don't remember seeing YA main character being at least 18 years old, the age when person gets in charge of themselves and no adult can decide their fate just like that.
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