Wikipedia defines YA (young adult fiction) as “fiction written, published, or marketed to adolescents and young adults.”So no wonder our vampires, werewolves, witches and other supernatural creatures, as well as aliens and characters from post-apocalyptic worlds, are all in high school (or look like they belong there).
YA writers often tend to change, or add to, to the lore we’ve been exposed to so far, often to the dismay (and even disgust) to the fans of lore.
They’ve become so popular, both as books and movie/TV adaptations, that there are more and more publishers & agents accepting manuscripts in the YA genre.
And no, I’m not hating it. I’ll admit that I like my vampires pretty as opposed to ugly, werewolves as shapes-shifters instead of hairy man-beasts. Add some action, a fun plot, some intriguing characters and at 27, I do enjoy some YA work.
Of course YA fiction isn’t just marketed to teens. Again, to quote Wikipedia, “Authors and readers of young adult (YA) novels often define the genre as literature as traditionally written for ages ranging from twelve years up to the age of eighteen, while some publishers may market young adult literature to as low as age ten or as high as age twenty-five.”
But as much as YA became a bit “in your face” in the late 90s, it goes back to early 19th century.
The recent ones we have definitely heard of are:
– The Hunger Games series – first book was made into a movie, starring Jennifer Lawrence. Second one is being filmed.
– Twilight series – All books were made into movies, made producers ecstatic. The last movie is still in theaters and smashing box offices.
– Harry Potter series – J.K. Rowling is a very rich and established author, and Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson have movie careers.
– The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones:. It’s made into a film, one of the stars being Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Remember King Henry VIII of The Tudors?
– The Vampire Diaries – made into a series for the CW. It’s in 4th season, very likely to get a 5th. And yes, I’m watching it.
While I’ve been somewhat fascinated by the supernatural and have some ideas on writing a supernatural story, it currently doesn’t look like it’ll be YA. Not because I’m against the genre, but right now it feels a lot more natural to be in the heads of someone who’s in their 20s, 30s and 40s than to be in the head of a teenager. For one thing, it doesn’t feel that long ago that I was one, and it wasn’t such a fun period to begin with.
But it is a market full of great potential, and while you’d still have to worry about writing a captivating and addictive story, you won’t have to worry about finding a market. Tempted? Well, here’s a Writer’s Digest article that gives you the necessary tips to start out:
You might then want to check out the list of free downloads from WD, all about writing for the younger audience: