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Writing YA

This section contains articles, advice and tips on writing and publishing fiction for young adult readers.

Advice on Writing a YA Thriller

So you’re interested in writing a YA thriller? Or maybe you just want to know what it involves

Okay, let’s kick off with the YA bit. Obviously that means you’ll have a teenage protagonist, a young adult perspective to your story. This is fertile ground, in thriller terms. I take normal …

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Blood Entwines: An Extract

Blood Entwines

Running alongside Caroline Healy's article, The Writer's Choice: Short Story Versus the Novel, we have an extract from her latest novel, Blood Entwines. 

In the aftermath of a blood transfusion that saved her life, Kara feels different. Her senses are stronger ... she can hear whispered …

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Creating Characters with Mental Health Conditions

Writers & Artists chat with author Sarah Harris about her latest book, The Definition of Us and how she approached her research process when writing about characters with mental health conditions.

1. For those who don’t know, could you tell us a little bit about your upcoming YA novel The …

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Creating Troubled But Likeable Protagonists

Countless is the story of 17-year-old Hedda, who is suffering from a chronic eating disorder and finds herself accidentally pregnant. She is isolated, depressed much of the time and makes some really questionable choices at certain stages of the book. On the surface, this seems like a recipe for …

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Crossing Boundaries

When Mr Dog Bites

We all have boundaries in life that we won’t cross. There are certain viewpoints that our conscious simply won’t allow to be verbalised. You know the ones I mean: those thoughts that swim around in the deep recesses of our mind. There’s no way we will ever say them, there’s no way we will …

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Eight Essential Tips For Getting Your YA Novel Published

As Stephen Colbert said to hit-maker John Green, a Young Adult book is a “regular novel that people actually read.” The popularity of Young Adult literature seems here to stay. I recently attended a writing conference in Los Angeles where any sessions on YA drew standing-room only crowds. Here …

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How To Choose Your Villain

As YA author Laura Powell releases Witch Fire, the highly-anticipated sequel to Burn Mark, she provides valuable insight into one of writing's great selection dilemmas... how to choose your villain. 

Laura Powell

Villains are every bit as important as heroes. And they’re often more memorable, with …

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How to start the next trend

Does anyone really know when it’s time for vampires, wizards, fairies, angels or sci-fi? People talk about zeitgeist, intuition and talent spotting. And maybe some editors really are clever about such things. But the fact is that the publishing world is incredibly slow to produce books, and …

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Plotting: How To Keep Your YA Readers Reading

In this extract from the Children's Writers' & Artists' Yearbook Sarah Mussi spells out the function and importance of plot in driving your story along to a gripping climax...

I think of plot as a journey, and very specific to the story I am setting out to tell. As for any successful journey, …

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Practical Magic: An Interview with Mary Watson

W&A met up with author Mary Watson at the Young Adult Literary Convention [YALC] to discuss the inspirations from which she draws magic, and her relationship with the writing process…

Finding an authentic voice as a writer – especially in YA fiction – is often easier said than done. Like a …

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The Art of Being Normal: Writing Beyond What We Know

I suspect the most important thing writing The Art of Being Normal taught me is that it’s our collective responsibility to tell as wide a range of stories as possible. It’s nothing to do with being brave or ticking boxes, rather a case of looking beyond our own personal experience for ideas …

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The Importance of Finding Your Own Voice in Writing

I Am Thunder is my debut novel. Want to know a secret? It was written by a maths teacher who was trying to find his writing voice, while writing about a teenage protagonist who was trying to find hers. There are definite shades of the blind leading the blind here, but in reality this paradox was …

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Writing A Character with a Mental Health Condition

How I made selectively mute Rosalind authentic and awesome...

The idea for my book came to me in a day dream. I’d wanted to write a book for young teens for a long time, but it was then – gazing out of a window – when inspiration struck. I pictured a dark-haired girl, sitting in a classroom, …

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Writing About Death and Bereavement in YA Fiction

“Grief doesn’t conform to a script, or a set of rules.”

The quote above is from my debut novel, Minty, a ghost story told from the point of view of the ghost. It’s a tale of a fourteen-year-old girl trapped in limbo and compelled to watch the devastation her death wreaks on those she has …

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Writing for teen magazines

Teenage magazines can be a lifeline to adolescent girls but writing for this market is very specialised. Michelle Garnett explains what writers for teenage magazines need to know.

Life for teen girls is tough. Raging hormones, changing body bits, annoying boys and constant peer pressure, …

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Writing the Perfect Villain

The Sin-Eater's Daughter

It is a truth universally acknowledged that we all love a villain. From the eponymous monster in Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula, to the recent film adaptation of Maleficent, we can’t help loving to hate, or sometimes simply loving, the villain. Villains have the best lines, villains wear the …

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Writing YA Fiction

Matt Whyman

I’m going to keep this short, as I believe the advice I have to share about writing teenage fiction is straightforward:  Don’t write for teenagers. Write about them.

It’s been a while since I was one, but we’ve all been there. It’s a time of life that fascinates me.  We’re all …

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Writing Your Contemporary Realistic Badass

I wish I had woken up at seventeen-years-old to find I could fly or read minds. While gifts such as telekinesis come with their own set of challenges (See Stephen King’s Carrie if you don’t believe me), I personally believe that the simple act of being a teenage girl, right now and forever …

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