I was running through my head about what I should post today and I realized I haven’t done an article in a while. I popped over to Writer’s Digest and instantly found a great article.
The manuscript I’m in the process of editing is for a Young Adult audience. I started the book when I was a young adult (14) and now that I’m no longer in this age group (23), it’s sometimes hard to think like one. This article, titled Writing for the Young Adult Audience, had some really good advice for how to jump back into my 14-year-old head.
- Everything is big and important when you’re a teenager. That boyfriend who just dumped you? First break-up. That fight you had with a friend you’ve known since Kindergarten? First real loss of a friend. First test you failed? Your chance at college is ruined forever. Chose to play the cello over the piano? It’s a stigma you will carry the rest of your life. I remember what this felt like and looking back it seems silly. But in that moment, it was a life or death situation.
- Romantic Relationships are huge. They define some people socially and can make and break friendships. Do you remember how mad you were when that girl you were friends with liked the same boy you did and he picked her? I do. It’s something that’s on the mind of a lot of teen readers (especially the girls I’m writing for) so including it is a must for popular fiction (check!).
- They’ve realized the dark side of life. It’s about freshman year of high school that someone in school will start using drugs or start cutting or have a bad sexual experience. Around this time, teens stop seeing the world through rose-colored glasses and the darkness of reality will start to set in. The article’s author implies that the popularity of dystopian future books is due to teens wanting to relate to a world as packed with war and economic crisis as our own.
- Bring theme to the forefront. Give the readers a theme the interact with and let them see the characters play with it, too. Bring it forward in dialogue and the resolution of the story.
The article’s really great and helped me think about what a reader will want from my book. I recommend it.
Reader, let me know what you think. How do you get into the head of your target audience? What are some things you incorporate to engage your reader?
Until next time, write on.