Monday, August 31, 2009

Why YA?

I have accepted the idea that I am a young adult writer. I am currently working on a memoir, which wouldn’t be classified as YA, but my completed novel is YA all the crap that I wrote in the past that could never be considered publishable was YA and all the ideas for future books I have are YA. So I’m accepting reality, I write for teenagers.

In some ways I think that this is because I’m really imature. Talking like a teenager is easy for me. I can write in a young adult voice without difficulty, but me trying to sound soffisticated is a bad idea. But there is more to my attraction to YA than just my maturity level. I think my biggest attraction to teenagers is the endless opportunity associated with youth.

I’m not one of those people who thinks high school was the greatest time in my life. A lot of adolescence was down right horrible, and I don’t want to go back. But that doesn’t mean being a grown-up is perfect either. Kids are encouraged to be well rounded. They are required by law to study both math and English, science and history. And playing sports and getting an after school job are considered good too. Teenagers are regularely told they can do and be anything. When was the last time an adult heard that?

Adults are pigion holed and catigorized. I have always had a hard time fitting into narrowly defined boxes, and as a result find adulthood repressive. I’m an engineer, I’m good at math and science and I enjoy figuring out how things work. But I’m also creative and I love imagining unseen worlds. I read six books last week, and wrote a book last year. This wellroundedness tends to confuse most of my peers. When engineers hear that I’m a writer they say things like, “I read a book once.” And when writers hear that I’m an engineer are often struck speachless – which is quite a feet among professional storytellers.

So I write about teenagers. People who still have the chance to do and be anything. People who are encouraged to be well rounded. People who are allowed to dream about futures that may never come. I’m not dreaming of a past that I somehow passed by, but a world that still has the possibility of a new and brighter future. Technically I might be a grown-up. But I think in my mind I will always be a kid, always eager and willing to look beyond the unknown horrizon, but never willing to limit myself to the boxes society tries to cram civilized adults into.

1 comment:

Stephanie Faris said...

Maybe that's why I do it. I don't know. I write YA plus romance plus women's fiction, so I tend to bounce around wherever the next idea takes me. But it seems like I have more fun writing YA, so not sure what that's about!