Any questions about writing for young readers or the Nicki Holland books? They are still in print, mainly because Thomas Nelson put them back into print after a hiatus. The hardcovers are designed especially for school libraries.
The Poet asked: How do you know what level you’re writing at? What differentiates a YA novel from an adult novel?
First, I must freely acknowledge that any great kids’ novel will also appeal to adults–I still love to read Island of the Blue Dolphins. With that said, however, there are things that differentiate adult novels and kids’ novels.
1. The age of the protagonist. The protagonist is usually two years older than the reader you’re aiming for. Kids will read UP, but don’t like to read down. (Incidentally, girls will read about boys, but boys don’t like to read about girls. I know. No one ever said life is fair.)
2. The issues addressed in the story. Novels for younger readers are centered around issues that kids deal with–friends, family, the search for identity (huge), the solving of a problem or a mystery, survival, animals, sports, death, anxiety, peer pressure. Naturally, you won’t find kids’ books that deal with troubled marriages, affairs, worry about financial pressures, etc. YA novels, geared for high schoolers, usually involve the issues that face college students: maturation, sex, love, identity, etc.
3. The mindset. Kids have a particular mindset, and you need to either be naturally childlike, or spend some time with kids to “get it.” The bonus–it’s fun to think like a kid!
4. And remember: “Young adult” usually refers to novels geared for 16-18 year-olds, and that’s a SUPER hard age to write for because those kids are reading adult novels. (It’s hard because the market is so small). The books geared for 10-14 year-olds are usually called “middle grade readers.” The books for 6-8 year-olds are “early readers” (with a controlled vocabulary list) or “chapter books.”
Thanks for coming along on another BOM! I think now that we’ve done nearly all of my titles or series, I’ll be doing BOMs only when there’s a new release out. That way you can get the lowdown on each title as it releases . . . and we can stay current.
Psssst–my Kindle arrived yesterday. This little gadget is too cool! I’m getting newspapers and books, plus I can email myself a copy of my own manuscripts to read on the Kindle, so no more traveling with bulky manuscripts or heavy books! Very nice!