Book Review: Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies by Deborah Halverson (3/5)

16 Mar

After having so much success with Writing Fiction for Dummies, I wanted to see what other knowledge I could flush out of the series and kept this Dummies book on my radar. I’m glad I did because there was some good insight here into how the YA market is different. Halverson also focuses on some other parts of the life of a writer that Ingermanson and Economy didn’t touch upon which I found helpful.

Cover image via Amazon

Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies by Deborah Halverson

Summary from Amazon:

With young adult book sales rising, and bestselling authors like J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer exploding onto the scene, aspiring YA writers are more numerous than ever. Are you interested in writing a young adult novel, but aren’t sure how to fit the style that appeals to young readers?

Writing Young Adult Fiction For Dummies gives you tricks of the trade and proven tips on all the steps to write a YA book, from developing an idea to publication.

  • Unique writing exercises to help you find your own authentic teen voice
  • Tips to avoid when submitting manuscripts
  • How to break into the flourishing young adult market

With the help of this step-by-step guide, you’ll have all the skills to write an inspiring and marketable young adult novel.

Some of this book was great and really helpful while others seemed to be a bit too much of a personal experience to be really helpful. Halverson’s opening chapters about finding motivation and time to write were very generic. I would have appreciated them more if this had been my first book on writing and not my third. I was really looking for YA-specific advice and this wasn’t filling that need. When she started talking about MG and YA differences and how to get past a gatekeeper, I was intrigued. Halverson gives a lot of solid advice about the submission process as well which I don’t remember other books giving as much detail about and I appreciated that.

Deborah Halverson
Image via LinkedIn

Halverson had some good advice about things to add or exclude from a YA novel to help not only appeal to young adults but to be a book that adults will want young adults to read. I don’t remember hearing a lot of advice with this bend before and I liked it. For example, don’t avoid romance but don’t include anything sexually graphic. While teens might be intrigued, no librarian is going to hand a fifteen-year-old a book with that content. She breaks down the YA market into understandable age groups as well and will talk about when different topics are more or less appropriate.

Halverson’s advice on the process of writing seemed very vague and personal at the same time. She had descriptions of what worked for her and how she finished her novels. However, she was also somewhat vague about the process of outlining, how to do revisions and character motivations. I might be making unfair comparisons because Ingermanson and Economy did this so well that anything else was doomed to feel like it fell short.

Halverson is a professional writer and her advice is for those looking to make writing a full-time job. I’m not sure that’s for me, but she does give some good time management and work-life balance advice. I think one of my latent fears of publishing is that I won’t have time to do it justice. But that seems like a fear to realize a long way off, not something to stop me from trying.

Writer’s Takeaway: This book has inspired me to start some revisions for my WIP and I’m excited to share that I have started another round of revisions. Many readers have said that my male protagonist was strong but the female needed a bit better motivation at the beginning. Let’s see what motivation and advice from Halverson can do to get me pushing forward.

A helpful book, but some parts were more helpful than others. Three out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

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Related Posts:
Author Spotlight: Deborah Halverson | Writing on the Sidewalk
Writing Young Adult Fiction by Deborah Halverson | Samantha Clark
Young Love | Joseph’s Reviews


3 Responses to “Book Review: Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies by Deborah Halverson (3/5)”

  1. Stephanie @ Bookfever March 16, 2021 at 1:41 PM #

    I never read any of those “For Dummies” books but they seem really handy!


    • Sam March 16, 2021 at 1:42 PM #

      I’ve been very happy with the series. Excel and Access we’re great and I’m pleasantly surprised by these writing books as well. Happy reading!



  1. Challenge Update, March 2021 | Taking On a World of Words - April 1, 2021

    […] Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies by Deborah Halverson The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett […]


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