Intriguing Observations ~ Insight on Writing Young Adult
The Intriguing Observations series was created to gather some of the greatest supporters and bloggers to provide their own insight on all things creative both in their ventures and their techniques. This week on the guest series is fellow Astraea Press author, and Young Adult author Lisa Orchard. (@lisaorchard1)
Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you today! My name is Lisa Orchard and I’m here to talk about some of the things I’ve observed in my writing journey. I’m the Young Adult Author of the Super Spies series and this journey has been a fun learning experience.
One of the things I’ve learned is writing for the Young Adult genre is different than writing for any other genre. I feel this way because this age group is at a time in their lives when they’re learning to make decisions for themselves. They are bombarded from all sides with pressure to get good grades, pressure from their peers to be “cool”, and add in the burden of parental expectations and it’s no wonder some of our teens react by making bad decisions. As an author for this age group I get the unique opportunity to create lead characters that act as role models for my readers.
I know what you’re thinking…BORING. No teen really wants to read a story that preaches good behavior and the consequences of bad decisions. There’s where the challenge lies. How do I create a story that’s entertaining but at the same time has a life lesson weaved through it?
One way I do this is by creating quirky characters that seem to leap off the page with their unique personalities. Interesting characters are a must in the young adult genre. Your reader must want to get to know them and want to understand their motivations behind their behavior.
In my story “The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer” my lead character Sarah, chooses to remove evidence from a crime scene. She knows this is wrong, but she’s forced to make the decision because she knows who the real killer is…and she knows no one will believe her without the proper evidence. She also knows the only way to get the evidence is by getting it herself. She can’t rely on the police to do it. So, in this situation she is doing something wrong in the hopes of getting the right result. I feel there are times in life when we all have to make this decision. It’s my hope that by having characters make these decisions it provides insight for our young people. It will make them think about what they would do if they were in a similar situation. In fact, I had one reader read this story along with her daughter and it sparked a family discussion. They sat at the dinner table and talked about the characters’ dilemma and what they would do differently if they were in a similar situation. What a compliment! I loved the fact my book was the catalyst for a family discussion. Isn’t that what every author hopes for? Well…that and making it to the bestsellers list! J
Another way I keep my reader’s attention is by writing a mystery/thriller that is believable and exciting. There has to be enough action in the story to keep the reader turning the pages. How I do this is by placing my character in situations that are scary and dangerous but at the same time believable. The story has to be realistic or the reader loses interest. When my characters are placed in these situations they must make some very grown up decisions. Sometimes they make good ones and sometimes they don’t. I show the consequences of the bad decisions, hoping my reader will learn the lesson right along with my characters. I also hope my readers learn they can survive a bad decision.
In the sequel “The Super Spies and the High School Bomber” I took the same quirky characters and put them in another situation. In this second story they are the first hand observer of what bullying can do to a person. Most stories portray what happens when students bully other students, but what happens when the bully is a coach or an authority figure? How can a victim stand up to those people? It’s my hope this second story ignites family discussions and teens talk with their parents about this topic and maybe even resolve some issues they may be experiencing in their own lives.
So there you have it! Quirky characters and a fast-paced, exciting story are the two main ingredients for a Young Adult novel. Thanks for taking the time to read my post and if you get a chance, check out my books. Let me know if I’ve achieved my goal! I’d love to hear from you!
“The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer”
Astraea Press: http://www.astraeapress.com/#!/~/product/id=10078468
“The Super Spies and the High School Bomber”
Astraea Press: http://www.astraeapress.com/#!/~/product/id=13594238
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