Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Writing Tips- Young Adult Developmental Characteristics

Young Adult books are more popular than ever. If you are a YA writer it's good to get to know what's going on in teenage land.

1. Teenagers are very focused on self, their identities are growing and they are coming into their own.

2. Friends are more important than family, also family dynamics are huge plot lines. YA books often feature parental conflict and peer group situations.
3. Dating time! You have to allow for romantic feelings and sexual attraction.
4. Hormones are raging, kids this age are very emotional and focus a lot on relationships.
5. Unfortunately, kids 12+ are often prone to depression, loneliness and the feeling that their problems are unique. It is a good idea to allow them to experience these problems vicariously. It's why a lot of YA books are often thought of as "dark". Truth is, kids need to know they aren't the only ones who feel a certain way. They also need these types of books to show them how to overcome their problems. Like #2 mentions, parental help is often not there.

Take a look at several YA books, do you see these developmental stages represented as plots?

Inspiration taken from You Can Write Children's Books Workbook by Trace y E. Dils.
Image from


  1. Lol, I think what makes writing young adult fiction fun is the fact that you don't really know your character and the character doesn't really know themselves. So it's like an exploration adventure that keeps you on your toes. Not that adult fiction doesn't have a few twists of its own, but young adult is just an exciting time to write in.

    Good tips though! It reminds me why I switched over from historical romance to young adult in the first place.

  2. You're right. This is a great time for YA. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Great insight! It does sound very true! It has to be done in a way that is believable, but is good once you get more of a feel for your character and as Larissa wrote, it is definitely a time of exploration.