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Author Topic: Writing YA for teenage boys  (Read 1554 times)

Offline NinjaRaptor

Writing YA for teenage boys
« on: December 14, 2016, 03:03:28 AM »
My parents got me "Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies" for my birthday tonight. My mom believes that most of the fiction I write would appeal most of all to teenage boys, so she thinks a book about writing YA would be helpful for my career. As thankful as I am for the present, I'm not so sure I want to specialize in YA fiction at this point.

See, the reason my fiction would probably appeal to teenage boys is because it has elements that aren't supposed to be found in YA, namely violent action and sexy leading ladies. I certainly loved that sort of subject matter when I was a teenage boy, and I imagine most other teenage boys would have similar tastes. On the other hand, since YA fiction is supposed to have teenage protagonists, you can't really involve them in such "adult" situations even if they actually do appeal to teen boys. For example, although many teen boys would be thrilled by the opportunity to "score" with a beautiful woman, having a teen hero do so would creep out a lot of readers since teenagers are supposed to be under the age of consent.

Mind you, I'm sure you could write YA fiction appealing to teenage boys that doesn't involve sex or violence. But since I actually do like that sort of thing, would it be possible to write something as YA if it did feature it?
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Offline Mehman

Re: Writing YA for teenage boys
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2016, 03:15:00 AM »
I've heard of it being done in YA / New Adult Fantasy Romance books aimed at young women so I don't see why not. It's really up to the publishing house as to whether they'd accept anything going in that direction. You could always "fade to black" for sex scenes so the hearts and minds of our youth aren't scarred too badly. That or have a "closed door" scene. We know what they're doing alone but maybe the innocent children won't.

That's all I can think of, really.

Offline Lanko

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Re: Writing YA for teenage boys
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2016, 03:20:11 AM »
Joe Abercrombie wrote a YA trilogy (Shattered Sea) and I considering his reputation I don't think he would hold back on anything.
YA isn't just for teenagers and the characters aren't only teenagers, as far as I'm aware. The audience seems to range from 15 all the way to 25 years old, if not more.

Also, drugs, violence, booze and sex are all part of a lot of teenager's lives. I don't see why they can't be in a YA novel.
I also don't know what to say about this "age of consent problem". Do teenagers really wait until they are 18 or 21 to have sex, drive, drink alcohol, etc?  ::)
Of course, I'm considering two teenagers in the sex situation.

Well, I don't read a lot of YA myself (Think there was only 2 books this year and I didn't went for the genre label), so better to wait a few more opinions.
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Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: Writing YA for teenage boys
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2016, 06:10:42 AM »
I'd review the book they got you, see if there's anything useful in it. Abercrombie spoke about warping to YA (only a little) in a youtube interview, and my recollection is that from his point of view, he turned the Dark-O-meter down like a notch, maybe two.

As far as sex and drugs (god forbid, rock & roll), I'd write your story the best you can, keep it real, and proceed from there. If a publisher or some market has an issue, it's pretty easy to tame much of that down if you decide you want to.
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Offline cupiscent

Re: Writing YA for teenage boys
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2016, 11:59:39 PM »
Hmm. Personally, I would say the key is to focus on writing about teenagers, not for teenagers. Remembering, of course, that the experts/numbers suggest that most teenagers "read up" (i.e. like to read about characters a couple of years older than they are), the focus should be on exploring what matters, what happens, what's important to your characters. If you do it well, you'll connect with your readers because those things will matter, happen and be important to them (or someone they know) as well.

So while hooking up with a hot woman might be a wild dream, it's also sort of a terrifying one in some regards; if you want to write that element, you probably want to really delve into the truth of the event, not just the superficial.

And that, for me, is one of the things that makes (for instance) Joe Abercrombie's YA so great. Sure, there's Viking violence and a brutal world, but there's also young people struggling with figuring out themselves, let alone how the world works and how to get what they want out of it (not to mention trying to figure out what they do actually want).

Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: Writing YA for teenage boys
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2016, 12:17:48 AM »
Hmm. Personally, I would say the key is to focus on writing about teenagers, not for teenagers. Remembering, of course, that the experts/numbers suggest that most teenagers "read up" (i.e. like to read about characters a couple of years older than they are), the focus should be on exploring what matters, what happens, what's important to your characters. If you do it well, you'll connect with your readers because those things will matter, happen and be important to them (or someone they know) as well.

So while hooking up with a hot woman might be a wild dream, it's also sort of a terrifying one in some regards; if you want to write that element, you probably want to really delve into the truth of the event, not just the superficial.

And that, for me, is one of the things that makes (for instance) Joe Abercrombie's YA so great. Sure, there's Viking violence and a brutal world, but there's also young people struggling with figuring out themselves, let alone how the world works and how to get what they want out of it (not to mention trying to figure out what they do actually want).
That was some outstanding advice. I might take a sip of that myself.
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"Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There's always the possibility of a fiasco. But there's also the possibility of bliss." - Joseph Campbell

Offline m3mnoch

Re: Writing YA for teenage boys
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2016, 12:29:22 AM »
hooking up with a hot woman might be a wild dream

best.  cupiscent.  quote.  EVER!

Offline ultamentkiller

Re: Writing YA for teenage boys
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2016, 04:06:37 PM »
Feel free to include sex and violence and drugs, if that's what the teenagers are up to. It happens in the real world, so why not in a YA book?

Offline S. K. Inkslinger

Re: Writing YA for teenage boys
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2016, 12:43:04 PM »
Well, The Mortal Instrument series, which are hugely popular young adult novels, had love scenes and implied sex scenes in it, so I don't se why  not. I guess even young adult novels are devided into age ranges, like books for 11-14 years old are rather different from those for 15-17 years old.

Offline m3mnoch

Re: Writing YA for teenage boys
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2016, 02:29:00 PM »
Feel free to include sex and violence and drugs, if that's what the teenagers are up to. It happens in the real world, so why not in a YA book?

heh.  the picture in my head detailing your last year in high school just TOTALLY changed.

Offline ultamentkiller

Re: Writing YA for teenage boys
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2016, 02:35:41 PM »
Lol. No, I didn't party at all, unless you consider going to Chick Fil-A with a group of friends and singing Christmas songs and making parities of popular songs a wild time. Oh, and pizza nights at someone's house.  That's about it.

Most of the other seniors at my school though... Part of me wishes I was invited to one of those parties, but most of me is glad I wasn't. I think the small part is just curious about the experience, but I couldn't have gone through with it anyway. I've had opportunities while living on my own, and haven't taken them, so I guess it's not my style.

Offline m3mnoch

Re: Writing YA for teenage boys
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2016, 03:34:07 PM »
ha!

we need to talk about that response, man.  you're supposed to just do a little eyebrow-wiggle and let us all live with the suspense!

Offline ultamentkiller

Re: Writing YA for teenage boys
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2016, 02:07:43 AM »
I didn't even know wiggling your eyebrows was possible. Interesting.

Regardless, I try to be as honest as possible, even if it would be cooler to do otherwise.