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  • Writer's pictureWendiFournier

5 Tips for Writing Powerful YA Fiction

Updated: May 15

From The Hunger Games to The Fault in Our Stars to Anne of Green Gables and every great YA novel in between, there’s no denying powerful YA fiction is one of the most fascinating genres to hit the shelves. They are gritty, raw, and fearless stories and the absolute reason why I love writing them so much (and editing them, too!). You do, too, or you wouldn’t be reading this right now!

If you’re wanting to write powerful YA stories that connect on multiple levels with readers, you’ve pulled up to the right place. Here are five tips for writing YA fiction to help you create a novel that will stay with your readers long after the last page is flipped.

1. Teens, teens, teens. In YA fiction, you’ll find primarily teen protagonists, which makes sense, right? Teens want to read about other teens and how they navigate life, so your protagonists should be between the ages of 14 and 18. Anything beyond that and you’re cruising up on New Adult’s bumper. (Also worth mentioning, YA breeds a huge adult fan base too!)

2. Think themes. Particularly in YA, themes are the kings and queens of a great YA story and your story should be no different. Popular themes among YA readers often revolve around self-discovery that involves first love, coming of age, sexuality, identity, and family conflicts. Be sure to identify the themes in your story that will allow you to connect with your readers on an intimate level.

3. Strike a voice that rings true to you. When you read YA fiction, what is the one thing that stands out above anything else? Most likely a big part of that answer is the protagonist’s voice. When done correctly, a character’s voice is what brings them to life. Lifts them off the page and into our worlds in ways we never saw coming. So, take your time to develop and get to know your MC. Pay close attention to dialogue, sentence structure, and syntax. You won’t go wrong.

4. Leave preaching for the choir. A writer’s job is to not answer questions but to raise them. Leave persuasion and the intention of changing a reader’s mind on the editing floor. Better yet, don’t write it to begin with. Teens are particularly sensitive to a preaching voice and can spot it a mile away. If it sneaks its way into your writing, your voice will feel inauthentic and leave your readers feeling turned off. Which, leads me to the ever-so-important #5.

5. Be authentic. Like a high school flame, trends come and go…quickly! The best piece of advice I can give to an aspiring young adult writer, or any writer for that matter, is to write from the heart. Stories that speak from the heart will stand out time and time again from the rest of the pack. If the story bleeds, its reader bleeds. If it sings, its reader sings. Every. Single. Time. Don’t fall into the trap of writing a story simply because wizards and witches are all the rage. Write your story. The one deep inside you that is dying to get out. No exceptions!

Now strap yourself in that driver’s seat, fire up that engine, and prepare for one heck of a ride! It’s time to #CreateYourEpic!


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