4 Tips for Boosting Your YA Novel's Appeal

If you want to write books for teens—or any type of book with younger characters—channel your subjects’ world to focus your fiction by employing these helpful tips.
Author:
Publish date:

LOOK FOR TIMELY TOPICS: Trends can lead the way to a plot. What are statistics telling us about youth culture? Is there a story in the news headlines? Don’t get stuck thinking the only timely topics that can offer up story ideas have to focus on young people. Flip news articles around and think of them from an adolescent’s perspective. Let’s say you’re reading about home-owners losing their houses during a national real estate crisis. Consider the shame that’s involved, which might lead you to a story about a teen whose parents’ house goes into foreclosure. After the rug is pulled out from beneath her, she begins living a lie about her family’s circumstances.

LISTEN TO CONVERSATIONS: Think of yourself as having roving ears, always on the hunt for snippets of conversations. Spend time in a coffee shop located near a high school and keep your ears open. You might overhear someone saying, for instance, that she has a crush on the father of the child she baby-sits. Can you do anything with that?

GO ON FACEBOOK: Young people can’t seem to get enough of baring their souls online. Read what they’re saying on social networks to craft realistic dialogue and garner story ideas.

SPEND TIME WITH YOUR SUBJECTS: If you don’t have any young people in your life, volunteer to work for a youth program.

Excerpted from Writing Great Books for Young Adults by Regina Brooks.

Become a Writer's Digest VIP:
Get a 1-year pass to WritersMarket.com, a 1-year subscription to Writer's Digest magazine and 10% off all WritersDigestShop.com orders!Click here to join.

Image placeholder title

Ruth Hogan: On Infusing Personal Interests in Fiction

Ruth Hogan: On Infusing Personal Interests in Fiction

Author Ruth Hogan discusses the process of learning a new skill in writing her new novel, The Moon, The Stars and Madame Burova.

Do You Find an Editor or Agent First?

Do You Find an Editor or Agent First?

It's a common question asked by writers looking to get their first book published: Do you find an editor or agent first? The answer depends on each writer's situation.

writer's digest wd presents

WDU Presents: 7 New WDU Courses, a Chance at Publication, and More!

This week, we’re excited to announce seven new WDU courses, a chance at publication, and more!

What Is a Professional Editor and Why Should Writers Use One?

What Is a Professional Editor and Why Should Writers Use One?

Editor is a very broad term in the publishing industry that can mean a variety of things. Tiffany Yates Martin reveals what a professional editor is and why writers should consider using one.

From Script

How to Find the Right Reader for Feedback, Writing Female Characters and Tapping into Emotionally Authentic Characters (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by Script Magazine, read film reviews from Tom Stemple, part three of writing female characters, interviews with Free Guy scribes Zak Penn and Matt Lieberman, The Eyes of Tammy Faye screenwriter Abe Sylvia, and more!

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Chasing Trends

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Chasing Trends

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so this series helps identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is chasing trends in writing and publishing.

Lessons Learned From Self-Publishing My Picture Book

Lessons Learned From Self-Publishing My Picture Book

Author Dawn Secord shares her journey toward self-publishing a picture book featuring her Irish Setter named Bling.

Poetic Forms

Crown of Sonnets: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the crown of sonnets, a form that brings together seven sonnets in a special way.

25 Ways Reflective Writing Can Help You Grow as a Writer (and as a Person)

25 Ways Reflective Writing Can Help You Grow as a Writer (And as a Person)

Reflective writing—or journaling—is a helpful practice in helping understand ourselves, and by extensions, the stories we intend to write. Author Jeanne Baker Guy offers 25 ways reflective writing can help you grow as a writer (and as a person).