***I have a number of writing deadlines coming up over the next couple of months so I have decided instead of stepping away from my blog completely to concentrate solely on my writing, I will bring back an encore performance of my WRITERLY WISDOM series from three years ago. WW is 52 glorious posts by authors, agents, and editors from around the country providing writerly wisdom in categories from why even become a writer all the way to how to publish and market your books.
There will be two posts loaded per week...Mondays & Wednesdays...so be sure to stop by and check out all the encouraging information given by my lovely writerly friends! I hope you enjoy the encore presentation of my WRITERLY WISDOM series and I will return with shiny, new posts in the fall!***
What Exactly Is YA?
by Craig Lew
YA is not shorthand for “Yes” or an abbreviation for “Yet Another.” YA is not “Yahoo Answers” or the Japanese word for “Arrow.” Well, it is but that’s not what I’m talking about today.
Some say, YA or Young Adult Literature is a story of teen angst, coming of age and first love generally written in first person, but to be honest, I was not sure. So I asked a bunch of much smarter than me authors, “What is YA?”
Gloria Skurzynski (Virtual War, Devastation, Afterwar, The Clones)
“...young adult fiction is for 12 to 18-year-olds. Supposedly. But YA fiction has grown increasingly popular with (mainly women) readers from the late teens to mid-30s. Examples: the Twilight Saga, and my daughter Alane Ferguson’s forensic mystery series, perhaps because in both these series the female protagonists have matured from high-school girls into actual adults.”
Amy Allgeyer Cook (Smelvin and Goulash Boy, Iron Bodkin):
“I define YA as a book that is too mature in theme, language or content for the average twelve year-old to process. Disclaimer: kids vary.”
Sarah McGuire (Turbo Monkeys):
“YA is about thresholds- and those events that define the adult a child is going to become.”
Kristin Elizabeth Clark (Freak Boy):
“I would define YA as a genre of fiction intended for an audience between the ages of twelve and eighteen or so (though I think twelve is actually kind of on the young side). It’s marked by protagonists who tend to be between those ages – and regardless of the outward trappings of the story, whether it’s fantasy, paranormal, or contemporary, there tends to be a thread of growth for the main character in terms of human development. I’d say most leave off with the sense of life yet to be lived – and if there’s no clear, happy ending we usually see the protagonist “on the road to O.K.,” as my editor, Joy Peskin, says.”
Suzanne Morgan Williams (Bull Rider)
"YA needs to be honest and irreverant - to challenge the reader to see the world in new ways while reflecting a teen reader's emotional experience.”
Terri Farley (Baby Teeth, Seven Tears into the Sea, Phantom Stallion)
“I think the strongest YA novels focus on that time when kids are separating from parents and peers to learn how they can live within & without the dominant society.”
I think YA is the lumpy stuff in the lava lamp...sort of warm, glowy and ever changing. It mesmerizes you to no end and yet is impossible to define because it seems to never stop changing.
Have I totally confused you? Yes? Then my work is done.
Biography: Craig Lew's storytelling career began even before he had learned to write. As a child, he would steal his father's tape recorder and make different voices for each character recording tales about strange planets or scary creatures. His favorite story openings at that time were, "Once upon a junk yard heap..." or "It was a dark and story night."
An entertainment industry consultant, Craig has worked with Dreamworks, SKG, PBS, KCET, Deluxe Labs, ITC, Nortel Networks and The New Getty Center.
Craig recently produced the Sci Fi comedy movie, "Rock Jocks" about a group of dysfunctional government employees responsible for shooting down asteroids that would destroy Earth.
Founder of Bright Penny Zapp LLC, a transmedia company, Criag wrote and illustrated the graphic novel, "The Goths" which is enhanced with Augmented Reality...available at www.amazon.com.
His latest acquistion is a young Middle Grade book "Smelvin and Goulash Boy." Written by Amy Allgeyer Cook, illustrated by Hazel Mitchell, edited by Lorin Oberrweger with augmented reality animations directed and produced by Craig Lew.