If you’re writing Young Adult fiction, also known as YA, you’ve probably already created an angsty, yet sympathetic, teenage main character (MC). What else do you need? Well, when we’re writing Young Adult fiction, we first need to give our angsty MC a problem to solve. We’ll also want to bestow upon them a skill to develop and an inner need to resolve.
In addition, we’ll want to surround our MC with a cast of characters—teenage and otherwise—who complicate or obstruct the MC’s goals. These might include a love interest (or two, for conflict), a mentor, and a sidekick/best pal. You’re also likely to need an antagonist (who may end up being a friend) and a “precious child” (a character dear to the MC, whose vulnerability puts the MC’s goals in jeopardy).
Be sure these characters have agendas that run counter to your MC’s. These competing objectives will provide a solid field upon which your MC can play to get the win.
YA writer published and awarded!
The above ideas may seem (unbearably?) clichéd to your own inner rebellious teen. But we can always at least explore the conventions of our genre. Then, we can see what of those tried-and-true ideas will serve our own story best.
My Young Adult fiction writer client Melody Maysonet found a balance. In her now award-winning YA novel A WORK OF ART, Maysonet skillfully incorporates YA conventions into her fresh, edgy tale of an art student on the brink.
Melody writes, Jamie, Thank you for the inspiration and knowledge you bestowed on me during the writing of the first draft. Not only that, but you gave me a killer critique for my revision. I revised based on your feedback, so the manuscript that got sold reflects your amazing instincts. Thank you so much.
Writing a YA novel? I’m a young adult fiction fan—and a top writing coach. I can help!
As a lover of YA, myself, and as a professional book coach, I can help you see the path for writing a young adult novel. Schedule a free initial consultation. And check out THE WRITER mag article “Should I Hire a Writing Coach.”