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Mistakes to Avoid as a YA Author

So, you've decided to be a Young Adult author, like me. That's great! Plenty of room to go around. I'm not one to cautiously eye the competition and hold back information. It's great when other people succeed. Just don't outsell me ... just kidding.

When you read successful young adult novels, it might seem easy. But there are a lot of things to consider, and if you don't, then you run the risk of losing your audience faster than a young wizard casting a sleep spell.

Here are some things to consider as you sit down to write:

Don't Jump Around With Perspective

While it might seem neat or cool to tell a story from the vantage point of different people within the story, this can be confusing for younger readers. There are even times in adult novels that doing this can annoy the reader. It's best to just stick to one viewpoint throughout the entire story. That way, the reader can get a set idea of what is going on and not have the flow of the story be interrupted.

You Need to Show, Not Tell

There is nothing more deadly in a YA novel than scenes that are just really long expositions. You are already competing with a lot of outside distractions, like YouTube and game consoles. Don't give them a reason to put the book down. Show things happening. Engage their imagination. It might feel necessary to explain some things, but you need to figure out how succinctly you can do those without making the story feel like it is dragging on.

Telling also gives off the impression that you are somewhat dumbing down the book and telling it to a younger audience than a YA one. People are smart. They know when they are being treated like that. You will lose them if you do that.

Don't Go Into TOO Much Detail

Yes, you might have fallen in love with fantasy novels when you read J.R.R. Tolkien's books. That does not mean that you have to emulate his habit of going into excessive detail about every little thing. You are competing with your YA's attention span. Seeing pages and pages of text about something is a sure way to have them shut the book. While you have to explain some things, it's better to stay simple.

Don't Try To Be Too Creative When Using Dialogue Tags

People whine, snap, snarl, and growl. Just don't use this as a dialogue tag. It's better to just have "he said," "she said," "he asked," "she asked" when doing that. Otherwise, you risk sounding like an inexperienced writer. That can hurt you both when pitching the book and when people read it.

Writing a YA novel is fun, but it is also a learning process. Hopefully, these tips will help you the next time you sit and start writing. Good luck!


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