Wednesday, March 2, 2011

For the First Time

I write Young Adult Fantasy.

In the past, I've dabbled with general YA, Paranormal YA, Romantic Suspense YA...

...you get the picture, right?

From as far back as I can remember, it's always been some form of YA (unless you count my baby chicken story in first grade).

I love it. I love the ideas, the emotions, the angst, the glances of longing, but above all, I love that it's mostly about the proverbial "firsts".

First date, first boyfriend/girlfriend, first kiss, first love, first heartbreak (and in many cases, all the while battling the bad guys--or becoming one of them, having adventures, learning, experiencing and discovering). Teenagers are on the brink of figuring out who they are, and while they may not know for years to come--I know adults still searching--they're at that stage where they're willing to take the risk.

Everything is so new and wonderful and scary and exciting... we lose a lot of that wonder as we grow older. We forget that ability to view things like we're seeing them for the first time. Like we're feeling them for the first time. And teens feel everything about a hundred times stronger than adults.

It's that time when you're still young enough to believe in the impossible, but old enough to discern the unfathomable. It's when you question everything, but you're still able to "think" with your heart, even though you know how to use your mind to guide you.

Teens really do see the world differently, and I'm not sure if I ever moved past that phase. I still see the world quite differently from most people, although I'm sure many writers/dreamers do.

There are days when I'm so tired, it all just seems to blend together, and sometimes I don't know whether I'm coming or going... but when I get home and finally make it to my computer and open up that MS... none of it matters anymore. Somehow it all disappears as I lose myself in the story.

Because just like that, it's all new again. Like the first time.

This is why I write YA.

What genre do you write? Why does it appeal to you?

73 comments:

Dawn Simon said...

Great post! I write and love YA and MG, though I've been focusing on YA the last couple years. I hope to eventually be able to write and get published in both. I think I never fully grew up. My kids tell me I'm immature. ;)

Lynda R Young said...

yes, yes and yes! I write YA fantasy as well so I can so relate to this.

Becca C. said...

I write YA, too. Contemporary, real-world stuff. I write it for a lot of the same reasons you do, but I also feel like you can be a lot more gritty, experimental, and honest in YA. Adult literature seems to often be about showing off how fancy your writing skills are and how well you can wrap things in metaphor until it's barely recognizable. In YA, you have to cut the B.S. and tell the straight-up truth.

Ryan Sullivan said...

I'm writing fantasy, and while the characters are teenagers, I wouldn't say my work is YA. I think it's closest to the Epic scale of things, or even just High Fantasy.

But there are some things that happen in the second part (which I'm nowhere near writing) that brings the book up to a pretty grand scale. I think it's Epic Fantasy at its most basic.

I write Epic Fantasy because it's the genre I most enjoy reading. I'm partial medieval settings and epic stories.

Stephanie Thornton said...

I write historical fiction because I have to tell the stories of amazing women who have been forgotten. It's my crusade!

Jolene Perry said...

I started in women's fic, but I'm in YA now, and I can't imagine writing anything else. There's something so beautiful and so awkward... LOVE it.

Melissa said...

It's always been YA for me too. You know, I think you summed it up. When I get to write YA, and I'm in my characters heads.... they are so emotionally alive. SO will to make the jump, take the risk that it empowers me. I feel empowered in my everyday life because of what I'm writing. And that's awesome.

Misha said...

I don't write in only one genre.

I'm mostly busy with a YA fantasy, but only because I love my characters.

I think most writers see the world differently. It takes a special type of thinking pattern to turn thoughts into stories.

:-)

Will Burke said...

That's a pretty solid reason to write YA. I guess we all read to rediscover discovery & wonder.

Lindsay N. Currie said...

I love your post today - it's so true and reminds us all of why we write the genre we've chosen. Something about it calls to us. I love YA for the same reasons you do. Have a great week:)

Terri Tiffany said...

I love your description! Perfect:)
I guess I am drawn to women's fiction because I relate to that most, as a woman I see the issues we deal with on a daily basis.

Joanne said...

Women's fiction here, mostly because I like to read, and write, about experiences I can connect with in some way. It's interesting, too to explore situations I'd only imagine.

Aubrie said...

What a great post about writing YA! I write YA as well. :)

Janet Johnson said...

I love getting lost like that. I started with YA, but I'm discovering I really like middle grade. And I can't resist a picture book or two from time to time. :)

Great post!

Colene Murphy said...

What a perfect way to describe why writing YA is awesome!! I love it!

Diana said...

I'm a genre hopper, still trying to find my home. I started with women's fiction and now suspense. I want to try sci-fi/fantasy but I have friends who are convinced I belong in suspense. I think it's great you know your writing home.

New follower from crusade.

Holly Ruggiero said...

It just sounds wrong to say I write adult books. I write for grownups. That sounds funny too, but I do.

Bekah said...

Yes, that's the fun in writing Ya or even MG. They just don't know a ton and there is so much more discovery in life at that age. EVERYTHING is exciting and crazy LOL

jbchicoine said...

I never gave genre any thought until I had to write a query letter. I've now pinned it down to Literary/Commercial/Mainstream/General Fiction. That and a fair bit of YA! :)

Christina Lee said...

YES!!! IS it okay if I just say, "DITTO!" ???

Carol Riggs said...

Excellent points about why to write YA! I stick to YA only myself. :) I bounce around and have experimented with diff genres though (ha, my post today is called "YA is not a genre" by the way).

The Words Crafter said...

Wow, you totally capture the whole sense and concept of wonder. Teens are so special in that they teeter on the edge of so many things....adult/child, wisdom/folly, experience/wonder.....

Have you published anything? I'd love to read it if you have!

I tinker with mystery and, thanks to Carol Riggs' breakdown of genres, I also write sci-fi/paranormal. I love anything that takes me out of my head and transports me someplace else....

Lovely, lovely post!

Aisha said...

Great explanation of YA and why we love writing it! I write multicultural YA and this is a big reason- the outlook- it keeps me motivated to keep on going on! :)

Catherine Denton said...

I never thought of it in that light, but you're right. My genre? Picture books and middle grade novels.
My Blog

Tamara Narayan said...

My first book is a paranormal thriller written for adults. It was fun and reflected my reading habits through my teenage years and young adulthood. But I'm getting up there so I spent a fair amount of time cruising the 20-something blogosphere to help get the voices of my younger characters more in sync with the times.

My second book is historical and more focused on character--very challenging. But I still intend to give it a page-turning plot with a 'thriller' flair.

Solvang Sherrie said...

I write MG adventure stories with a touch of magic. I was one of those kids who wanted to jump on a train just to see where it went and I expected to find magical things around every corner. So those are the kind of stories I still enjoy writing.

Talli Roland said...

That's a fantastic explanation of why you write in that genre. I write chick lit (although I think that demeans the genre) because I really enjoy writing about women's struggle to find their place in the world, and to accept who they are.

nutschell said...

Hey there fellow writingnut!
You and I really are kindred spirits. I was one of the worst runners out there last Saturday, but hey I survived and that’s all that matters. You would probably win a 5K walk if you joined one!

Anyway, I've currently finished my MG fantasy book, but I'm pretty sure I'll try out YA at some point. I love those two genres. For some reason they are just way too fun to write. :P

Hart Johnson said...

I love teen characters, too. I think my favorite aspect is that youth is a good excuse for doing something STUPID. An adult who makes a really poor decision needs to either be an idiot, a jerk, or have a lot of development behind why they'd do such a thing. A young person can just be impulsive... they haven't learned yet. So there is more to work with without character defamation.

That said, most of my plots are fairly adult--not sure how that will fly in the long run. I do a lot of family based stuff... suspense, conspiracy stuff, and they aren't really teen PLOTS for the most part.

tangynt said...

I write YA as well, but I also write adult fiction. It's strange, I don't identify with one area over the other, it's just... my character comes out and he or she is who they are and I don't mold them to fit what I "want" to write. What I DO mold them to is the world I want to write about, which is usually something with science fiction or fantasy twist to it. I live in the norm, I don't enjoy writing about it, but that's just me.

Lydia K said...

I love writing YA. I don't think I could said why better than you did!

Demitria said...

YA all the way! I still thinks it's strange that I'm an adult :)

demitrialunetta.blogspot.com

Kenda said...

Love playing around with picture books, but my heart is really in MG historical fiction. I enjoyed reading the genre as a child and have come to immerse myself in it as an adult!

L'Aussie said...

I really liked your post. It was so fresh and full of positive zing about the genre you write. I like to write contemporary romance/suspense with a very sassy female MC as I feel women need to be elevated and shown that they can indeed 'do anything.' Maybe it's autobiographical, all the things I'd like to do if I had the chance!

Denise<3

Talei said...

I love YA, I love Paranormal. I write Womens Fiction, love stories, because I'm a total hopeless romantic...really, thats what it boils down to. ;-)

Alleged Author said...

I tend more towards MG because I am surrounded by middle schoolers all day. I love watching them become aware of the world around them--moving from the micro to the macro. They finally are realizing their impact on those around them.

Shannon said...

That is soooo beautiful! Looks like you have a real passion for your genre.

Krispy said...

Love this post. It's full of feeling. Haha. I think I like reading YA for these very reasons.

Susan Fields said...

I love YA, too. I sound a lot like you actually: paranormal, fantasy, romance, etc. I rarely read a grown up book anymore, and when I do I don't think I grow as attached to the characters.

Rachna Chhabria said...

I write MG fiction, writing for the age group of 8 to 13 appeals to me. But for many days I have been feeling the pull of YA, maybe I will try it sometime in future.

Elena Solodow said...

I write YA for the same reason. Everything is so intesified and new. Very exciting.

Sari Webb said...

Wow great post. I too write YA (fantasy & paranormal mostly). I'm not sure why. I guess because it's what I like to read so it ends up being what I like to write.

Julie Musil said...

This is wonderful! I'll bet your passion for the genre shines through in your stories. I write contemporary YA. I love going back...remembering those times, some good, others not so good. Hopefully I bring that to my stories.

Rachel Morgan said...

"...above all, I love that it's mostly about the proverbial "firsts""

and

"...teens *feel* everything about a hundred times stronger than adults"

This is exactly why I write YA too! It just seems to make it more *exciting* for me than writing adult fiction :-)

Jai Joshi said...

I write in lots of different genres. It's exciting to always be doing someting different.

Jai

Theresa Milstein said...

I agree with all your reasons you write YA. That's why I write YA too. I remember the feeling of wanting to be independent and free of parental control with the whole idea of the future making me petrified too.

I've also written middle grade. The one thread throughout is there's always a fantasy element. Can't seem to write without one. I guess pushing the imagination a step further is appealing to me.

Shannon O'Donnell had the perfect quote on her blog:

"I like nonsense - it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living. It's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope... and that enables you to laugh at all of life's realities."
~ Dr. Seuss

Medeia Sharif said...

I write YA, because young people have this huge world open before them, with so many options they can explore. They also have rich inner worlds as they figure things out. And it's fun writing about that.

Heather Hellmann said...

You've just won an award! Stop by my blog to see it :)

http://heatherhellmann.blogspot.com/2011/03/thank-you.html

Saumya said...

This is so well said!! I write women's fiction for many of the same reasons, although I do agree with you that age lessens our ability to view things with novelty and excitement. This is also why I admire people who write YA! It is such a challenge to convey all of those sentiments. Major props to you!!

Áine Tierney said...

My present project in for adults, but I have flirted with the YA genre in the past. It seems very popular with bloggers on here. I wonder is that partly because the hold books had over us as children and teenagers? I can still get lost in a book, but it seemed to happen more regularly when I was a child and teenager. The Child that Books Built by Francis Spufford talks about the power of books in children's lives in a way that I can definately relate to.

Michael Di Gesu said...

SO TRUE...


I CAN RELATE .... I flip from y/a contemporary to y/a fantasy.... and even m/g fantasy... I love it all!


Michael

Margo Berendsen said...

I write YA too for the same reasons - also because almost all my favorite books are all YA. You expressed it so well here!

Lori said...

I write for a select audience - those who know me. Dreams of being a published writer/illustrator of children's books continue to drift in and out of my life, but mostly I am a storyteller of the everyday memories and experiences of life.

I have enjoyed your blog. It is the first time I have visited and your 'blurbs' are all very thought provoking and entertaining.

Shannon said...

While I'm not trying to write YA, I have to admit that I love my adolescent protagonists. I guess because it's a time when people are so impacted by everything that happens. It's just interesting to watch them grow and develop.

Donea Lee said...

A perfect description! I write YA and Adult...YA, because I love nostalgia, firsts, re-experiencing "the good ol' days". And Adult when I need to b*tch (in an entertaining way, of course) about my current reality. It's a lovely creative escape for all moods. :)

Claudia Del Balso said...

I write literary fiction. It comes easily. I don't have to worry about diction (not writing a credible dialogue among teenagers or young children). I prefer to write for adults. Plus I get to swear from time to time ;)

Sara B. Larson said...

LOVE this post. I write YA for pretty much all the same reasons. Plus it's just so much fun! ;)

Michelle Teacress said...

I've enjoyed testing all sorts of waters...picture books, YA dystopian, adult paranormal, contemporary horror. It's been fun. Practice, practice! :)

Tamara Narayan said...

I've written a paranormal thriller and now I'm trying to get a historical piece of fiction off the ground. I find I'm drawn more and more to literary fiction in my reading, so who knows where I'll end up. The journey is the reward, right?

Since my main character always seems to be older teen, young twenty, I should check out the YA scene. I know there's a lot of great stuff beyond Harry Potter and Twilight.

I also have a blog award for you at my sight if you'd like to stop by sometime.

Happy Writing.

Jolene Perry said...

Yep - I write almost all YA - a little paranormal and a little romance... but not always together ;)

CherylAnne Ham said...

Yea for YA. :) I write & read YA (fantasy mostly) and you summed up its greatness quite nicely.

Talei said...

Hi Writing Nut,

I have an award for you on my blog today, please do pop over to collect when you have time. ;-)

Happy Friday!!

Jolene said...

Woohoo YA! Teenagers have the most power to change the world :) (...You know, now you have to post the baby chicken story!)

Louise said...

I'm a chicklit writer, but recently I've been reading a few YA (mainly to review) but I'm fast becoming hooked!

Anyway, crusader dropping in to say hi. I'm opening my blog for author spotlights etc, pop over?
http://louisewise.blogspot.com

Áine Tierney said...

hey writing nut, missing your posts! hope to hear more from you soon,

Gina Blechman said...

I write YA. Though I'm currently working a lost with Dystopian YA, I do love a lot of it. Honestly, YA or not, I love reading and writing the books that really delve deep into emotions and actions and, well, people. YA tends to be more raw and personal and full of firsts, but it doesn't have to be. There are non YA books that do the same.

<3 Gina Blechman

The Red Angel said...

Hi! Hope you are doing well. :) I know you have probably been extremely busy, we miss you so much!

If you're interested at all, come sign up for my 100-Followers Blogfest, titled "Inanimation," it's going to be great! It also won't be taking place until May 14 so there is plenty of time should you wish to participate!

http://xtheredangelx.blogspot.com/2011/04/100-followers-blogfest-inanimation.html

Come back soon to us! <3

~TRA

notesfromnadir said...

I appreciate your explanation about why you write YA. I'm seeing so many YA books lately that it really had me wondering about this genre's vast popularity.

I write fiction and non-fiction. That covers a lotta ground! :)

kelworthfiles said...

I write science fiction and fantasy, partly because I love it, and because I like to write stories that go beyond the ordinary world into things that we can only imagine. I do like blending those genres with YA, partly because of the reasons you have for writing it, and also because it's more acceptable to blend genres and defy conventions when you're writing for young people.

I'm starting up a 'Critiquing and Supportive Crusaders' program, where participants in the Second Crusade can find other writers to exchange critiques with or form supportive critiquing circles. If you're interested, come by The Kelworth Files to check it out!

Stephen Tremp said...

I like action thrillers with technology and greed as the drivers. Throw in a wormhole or two and I'm in heaven.

Lynda R Young said...

I write for the YA market as well.
I love your line: It's that time when you're still young enough to believe in the impossible, but old enough to discern the unfathomable. Says it perfectly.

Lynda R Young said...

oh my gosh, I'm losing my mind... I already commented on this way back in march...I thought it was familiar, but figured someone else must have written on the same topic. Sigh... I think I need some chocolate.

Nicolas Dutch said...

Dissertation writing has become an essential part of completing graduation day. Students have to deal with this part of his academic life to obtain for the purpose of higher education. Make a good dissertation is essential to survive the quality and achieve professional.
Cheap Dissertation Writing Service