Saturday, April 28, 2012

Y is for Yearning

A couple of years ago I went to a small local writers conference where Ally Condie was one of the instructors (pre-Matched). I attended a class from her about writing for young adults. She said one of the things that distinguishes YA from other genres is yearning. No, not like that. Get your head out of the gutter. It's that teens feel things so passionately, so intensely. So whatever your MC's goal is, have them long for it. I think that's why books like Twilight do so well...that yearning is evident on every single page.

What else do you think distinguishes YA from other genres?


Kyra Lennon said...

I think yearning actually is the main ingredient of a YA book. Teens really do feel everything so strongly that, without that strength of emotion, the book will likely fall flat.

Cristina said...

So true, that's great advice :)

G.M. said...

YA fiction is special for having a teenager as the main character, and also most other characters as teenagers. The storyline fits with the experience of teens, and hopefully will appeal also to all ages. Not sure about yearning. Y for YA is a simpler choice. One more letter to go.

Andrea Teagan said...

Thank you for sharing this, I think she hit the nail on the head with it. I think it is the yearning that makes me love YA fiction so much.


Ricardo MiƱana said...

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Suzi said...

I think with YA characters we can give them a little slack. They're growing and making mistakes and hopefully learning, as we expect.

But when adults do those same things sometimes, we slap our heads and say, why are you so stupid? You should know this by now. And it sometimes becomes annoying because we expect more from an adult.

ilima said...

Kyra-I remember being a teen...that fight with a friend was all consuming. Or I couldn't stop thinking about a boy I had a crush on. My life will be over if I fail this test. Crazy :)

Cristina-Thanks for coming by.

Giora-Yes, YA should have a teen protag.

Andrea-I agree.


Suzi-Oh, yes. So true. That's why YA is so fun...we can experience their learning (and pitfalls) along with them.

Sara Hill said...

Reminds me of what C.S. Lewis said about the yearning he felt when he looked at certain landscapes (mountains, I think) but not knowing exactly what he was yearning for.

I wouldn't have been able to say that this was an important part of YA, so thank you.

Kelley Lynn said...

You know, I never thought about it this way, but you're so right. YA is about yearning, about being so passionate for something.

I think as we grow older we realize that unfortunately, passion doesn't always get us what we want. No matter how bad we want something, we might not get it.

When we're younger, we're not ready to 'give in' yet. We still have our fight and these things we face are huge and we're going to beat them. Whatever they are.

Kathryn Purdie said...

I completely agree. YA is for yearning! YA books without it are empty. Nothing is more boring than a story that begins with the boy and girl already in love or a family already happy together. We need the journey, the longing, the struggle to that place. At least I do!