Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A-Z Challenge: Y is for YA

I started out writing fantasy short stories when I was twelve or so. Eventually, I graduated to fantasy novels, or rather one novel that I never did finish. It was adult fantasy, going to be a trilogy, and completely fantasy-cliched. Prophecy, long journey, normal girl realizing she's someone IMPORTANT. You get the (lame) idea.

Then one day I was listening to this song and suddenly I had a SHINY NEW IDEA:
You Belong With Me by Taylor Swift. My Y song for the day
This idea wouldn't leave me, even though I tried to ignore it. I kept telling myself, I'm TRYING to write a fantasy novel. Why don't I finish that one first instead of starting something new and just failing again.
But this idea wouldn't SHUT UP so I gave in. And I wrote it in five months. Looking back, it was total and utter crap. But I did it. I wrote my first novel. I was on top of the world. Five years later, that novel has been queried, requested, R&R'd and finally shelved, but it still sings to me. One day I will dust that novel off and start fresh.
That manuscript was my first attempt at Young Adult and it taught me a lot. How hard writing is. How much I needed to learn and am still learning. All those stupid newbie writer mistakes that I had to stop making. And most importantly, I learned how much I LOVE YA.
I never even thought about writing YA until that day in the car when You Belong With Me came on the radio. Since then, I've become obsessed. YA is the best. I read it like crazy. There are so many possibilities. So much excitement and fun and newness that comes with reading and writing YA. So many feels. YA sings to me. I feel it in my bones and my fingertips and in the way it pours onto the computer screen.
I heart YA. And that's all there is to it.


  1. I was going to post "YA" for my "Y" too but I changed my mind. (Take a look and see why:) I love upper MG and YA. I'm not too fond of traditional MG aimed at an audience of 8-12 yr olds. I love writing fiction with protagonists that are 13,14 yrs old and up:)

  2. I feel your YA-love, Melanie! I wouldn't call myself a dedicated YA writer, but since I'm currently revising my second YA novel, I think it's fair to say I enjoy writing it. :)

  3. I've recently embarked on some YA and really enjoy it. It's fun to deal with characters who don't have many responsibilities (so can do more) and aren't so cynical (generally!) Like you, it's not something I saw myself doing, but I'm glad I did.

  4. I love YA complete too! Everything I write ends up being YA. My first novel ended up being YA, though I didn't know it at the time. It taught me a lot, like yours did. Now I know I probably won't be writing outside of YA again. I love how versatile it is. You can be a YA writer, but write any genre and it's not strange.