Why YA?

Jun 23, 2010

As of tonight, the first draft of my current WiP, Devolutionaries, is approximately one quarter finished. Can I get a whoop, whoop?

Devs, as I lovingly refer to it, is sci fi, of course-- but it's sort of soft sci fi. It fits more into the "speculative" realm. It's also post-apocalyptic, though not quite dystopian (the world's a little too obviously bad to be pretending to be a utopia). And it's super fun to write. I love my characters. I love the concept and the way the story is unfolding. I love the way my MC is jumping off the page and becoming real to me. Of course, it's my story so I can say that. Once my crit group gets their hands on it, they may well send me home in tears over its horribleness.

Another thing Devs is: young adult fiction. This year's hottest commodity.

I knew YA was big right now. But it wrinkled my brow a bit when I stopped over at the Gatekeeper's blog and found a poll that said 54% of people surveyed were writing YA. Fifty-four percent!

This is not a bad thing. It was just a surprising thing (to me). Was this like the vampire trend? Was I just trying to cash in on the same thing everyone else is because it's popular? Immediately, I examined my own genre choice. Do I really want to write YA if everybody's doing it?

Answer: yes.

I've explored genres. Memoir, adult sci fi, fantasy, lit fic. I always come back to my true love of sci fi/post-apocalyptic. And that sub-genre is doing very well in YA right now.

But the market isn't the main reason I finally decided on YA after all my genre hopping. I realized I loved it. My favorite books? The Giver. Ender's Game (technically not YA, but also not technically not YA). The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. Uglies. Mistborn (again, technically not YA, but the MC is YA age).

And not only do I love reading YA, I love writing for the YA audience. Teens still haven't quite got the cynicism adults have-- most of them, anyway. They've still got one (sometimes reluctant) foot in the realm of childhood and imagination, so they're all about that whole "willing suspension of disbelief" thing that fiction requires. And when they're not giggling insanely, I really enjoy teenagers.

Besides, just because the genre is popular right now doesn't make it bad. In fact, it's a good thing because it means that many more fabulous YA books out there. So I'm sticking with it. With the muse-fish's approval, of course.

So what about you? Why do you write the genre you write?


Lisa Gail Green said...

I've always loved writing. I've always known what I wanted to "be." But it wasn't until I discovered YA as a genre that I found where I belong. I don't write paranormal YA because it's trendy. I write it because it's what I have to write. And since it sounds like you are saying the same thing - welcome aboard!

Shallee said...

@Lisa Yes, exactly! I just write what I love. And I suspect a lot of people feel the same as we do. Thanks for commenting. :)

Angie said...

Congrats on being a quarter done! Glad you are enjoying your WIP. I think I write sci-fi because I just love to imagine strange, different world or wonder about all the what-ifs. Plus it's what I love to read.

Shallee said...

@Angie Thanks! It's been a lot of fun. I'm glad yours is all finished! If you need beta readers, btw, I'll raise my hand to volunteer...

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