A Little YA Inspiration

This past summer, just after I virtually met erica through Writeoncon.com, she gave me some great resources to go to while trying to help me out with my teen voice.  I am not a natural when it comes to writing like I'm fifteen, or or even seventeen I found out after starting novel #2.  So, I'll admit it, I'm an adult who writes like an adult trying to sound like a teen.  There.  I said it. (Admitting it is the first step to being cured, right?)

My defense, naturally, was that I wanted my teen to sound older, mature, intelligent, and NOT like a hippety hoppety, overly "Oh. My. Gawd. Like, did you just see that guy?  Like, he was sooooooo hot."  You know?

HOWEVER, I have since seen the light and have come off my horse and am beginning to see the glimmer of overwriting and sounding very somewhat adultish.  It doesn't mean I don't still do it.  But, I am slowly (very snail-like) improving. (erica says - christy is doing much better. she just hates to admit that - you know - she's a GOOD writer) (christy now wishes she hadn't given erica administrative privileges of the blog)

Here is a resource erica gave me waaaaay back in July/August when we first became friends.
Read up on teen voice on Randy Russel's Blog from April and another from May. (erica still has privileges and recommends you follow and read Randy's blog. he's an elevensie and an all-around great guy. and she *claims* she knows some of his guest bloggers and that they're wonderful writers who are now being published)

So, I've been practicing putting on my "teen eyes" so I can look through them instead of my 30-uh, and then some-eyes.  IF you are writing in first person, as many YA authors do, then DON'T tell (or even show) things that your character wouldn't actually notice or see for themselves.  YOU have to walk around your story in his/her body and his/her mind, not yours.  Think like your characters. Use their words.  Their emotions.  READ UP.  There are so many YA novels out there that do this, ahem, well.

And here's someone else who has helped me get into character (I KNOW I'm not an actor, but sometimes I feel like it.  You know, when I'm living in my mind for a bit.  I mean my MC's mind, of course!)

While you listen, read on, please.  I guess I had lots to tell you all today!

WHILE ON THE TOPIC OF YA...It's TEEN READS WEEK sponsored by the American Library AssociationEncourage teens to read books about music and poetry.  Help them find books that show they can read for pleasure just like they can watch TV, listen to music, etc. for fun.  Introduce them to audiobooks.

My first thought of a YA title that does this was Shiver and it's sequel Linger.  While not specifically about poetry or music, Sam, one of the trilogy's main characters (a third book comes out this upcoming summer!), reads and quotes poetry and comes up with song lyrics througout so he can sing them and strum his guitar.  He's passionate about reading and music.  So...I thought that fit the theme perfectly.  AND teens and adults alike LOVE these books.  Everyone should read Maggie Stiefvater.  INCLUDING YOU!


  1. Awww, shucks, erica! *blushes profusely* (oops, adverb altert) Thanks! AND no matter what, I'll NEVER regret giving you administrative access! christy

  2. Love you two cutting in on each other--what a crack up!

    I write in a teen voice ALMOST every book and think I do alright at it (though none of those is polished enough to sell, so someone way think differently when we get there) but I think I managed it by HAVING a teen (and being around her friends). I hear a lot of it. I think the think that adults forget is that--it isn't all stammers and giddiness. Teen years are full of emotion--so there are outbursts--but it is also a time of experimenting with the power of words. They try things on-they swear a lot [I recognize many YA publishers take issue here--I don't happen to write much YA--I write more family suspense]--they use hyperbole (because life is large) they insult, even to people they like (but are alternately phony)--the former is more true directed at boys, the latter at girls.

    I will definitely check out the links though. Definitely want authenticity!

  3. Good tips, Hart. And you know some of Randy's guest bloggers, too, so definitely read them!

    My kids (both boys) are 9 and 4. So maybe that's why I switched to writing MG???

  4. I started writing a school story when I was still in HS & still had a teen voice... 14 years later & it's still a WIP (I love it too much to give it up). But I noticed, too, that I lost my teen voice somewhere around 22. Sigh. Of course, JK has totally dominated the school-story genre, dangit, so I guess this book will only ever be for me, anyway. ;)

  5. Hey Su,

    There's always room for another school story. My novel has some aspects of school life in it. Besides if you writing for young adult, there will always be kids in school wanting to read about it and there will always be parents wanting to read if for insight into the teen psyche.

  6. LOL... parents looking to me for insight into the teen psyche are in Big. Trouble. ;) But I'm not giving up yet. Thanks for the encouragement!

  7. One of the things I love about YA is the voice. And it doesn't have to be kind of the stereotypical high school voice. It can be very adult and I think teens like that too. I notice a lot of fantasies are like this- in many cases the characters "grow" up a lot faster due to situations they are put in. I feel like YA is the only voice I am able to write in, and if I try adult it just sounds stupid to me (and I'm almost 30). That's probably why I pretty much only read YA ;p


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