Friday, April 1, 2011

Writing for an MG/YA Audience

Happy Weekend! Before I get to my next installment of useful stuff I learned at the writing conference, I have some awards to share. Two I got quite some time ago and so am remiss in acknowledging. Two I just got in the last couple days. I love you guys!

Thanks, Heather and Abby!

Thanks, Colene and Abby!

Thanks, Abby!                 

Thanks, Margo!                

These four ladies have lovely blogs, which I encourage you to visit:

Heather Hellmann at Pen, Paper, Lots of Coffee
Colene Murphy at The Journey
Abby Minard at Above Water
Margo Kelly

I think I'm probably supposed to share 7 things about myself for at least one of these awards. So, here are the last 7 books I've read: Dead Witch Walking, Matched, The Hunger Games, Need, Alice in Wonderland, Glimmer Glass and I'm currently reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Also, if you click 'awards' over in the post label cloud, you'll get a lot more about me.

I so love to receive awards, and I love to pass them on, too. Sharing the love is fun, so I'd like to pass this on to all of my followers. Thanks for stopping by and validating my bloggy existence!

Now, on to fiction tips! I got the pleasure of meeting and listening to author Adrian Fogelin, a local Floridian who has won a lot of awards for her numerous books. She was really fun to listen to. Unfortunately I had to leave halfway through her presentation to go to my agent appointments, but I learned a lot in those 30 minutes I did have.

- Kids/teens live in the moment, there is no nostalgia for them
- Every little thing is critical to them (a zit might really seem like the end of the world)
- They have a constant conflict between wanting to individuate and wanting to belong to a group
- Fairness is very important to them
- Even if they are popular, there's always an underlying uncertainty
- They come up with unrealistic plans (that whole live in the moment, not looking ahead thing)
- First person is the main choice of MG/YA writers, with limited third person being the second most prevalent
- Lots of rich dialogue is an important ingredient
- Writing in the present tense is popular, going back to point one

I am planning on tackling my first book aimed for a younger audience later this year. I decided I wanted to write something my son and stepdaughter can read. I've always wanted to write something fun and whimsical like Harry Potter. It will be a light dystopian, and I haven't quite settled on MG or YA yet. It'll probably cross over, because I'll have characters ranging between 11 and 16. I'm excited!

How many of you have written or are planning to write MG or YA? Why did you choose that age? Any tips you'd like to share?

Have a great weekend, writer friends!


  1. Yay for MG and YA! I write YA, and I love pretending that I'm 17 again. All that high school drama!

  2. The new project sounds great :) I write for MG because that time of my life was the most exciting time for me as far as reading (and those books are still the ones I love best).

  3. Those are great tips, Alexia. Thanks :)

    My characters tend to fall either right above or right below 18, so I straddle the YA/New Adult markets. Not that I'm actually IN a market, since I haven't even started querying yet. But someday... :)

    East for Green Eyes

  4. Congrats on the awards!
    I write MG and YA.

    I'd say if you're writing your story as MG, it's probably best to have limit the story to a single viewpoint main character for the reader to identify with (there might be exceptions in MG, but not many).

  5. Thanks for the tips, Alexia, especially about tense.

  6. I've decided to tackle a YA novel for many reasons. I teach, so I'm around the age all the time; seemingly anything written in that genre will sell (hey, I'm honest); Catcher in the Rye has settled into my subconscious; I started to love reading and writing when I read novels at that age--though I wasn't reading YA at that age (mostly Stephen King and Mickey Spillane, which perhaps explains a lot); and because it's a natural fit for 1st person limited, which I like to write in.

  7. Congratulations on all your awards! Looks like you've read some really great books lately, too.

    Great tips for writing MG/YA! I've been a YA writer for awhile (in part so that my daughter could read my books!), but not sure I could do MG. Maybe I'll try out a short story some time, but I'm not sure I could quite capture the voice well enough. You've got some great pointers there, though. Hope your agent appointments went well!

  8. To-the-point tips. I like all of your points!

    Congratulations on so many awards.

  9. CONGRATS on your awards!!

  10. Congrats on all your awards, Alexia! Great stuff.

    I've never written for YA but I like the idea of encouraging them to read and learn and explore the world.


  11. Congrats on the awards. I write for the MG group. I hope my stories and books encourage them to read more.


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