Friday, 7 May 2010

Guest Post: Karen Strong - Why I Write YA?

The written word has always been sacred to me. My books are valued gems and I hold other writers in great esteem. But when it comes to my own writing, I’m compelled to write Young Adult (YA).

Why do I write for this audience? First, let me tell you three reasons I don’t write YA:

1. I Want to Teach a Lesson. 
Teens don’t want to hear my beliefs. They want to live through a character and see what type of decisions (right or wrong) she makes. It’s about the storytelling not the morals.

2. I Want to Be in a Hot Market. 
By the time I finish what’s hot now that trend may be ice cold. I write what I love and what I would like to read. Novels created with a writer’s passion always find a place.

3. I Want to Write Something Easy. 
YA isn’t all fluff and rainbows. Endless parties and kissing scenes. It can be savvy, gripping and even – gasp – literary. Writers know that the craft is hard regardless of the audience. Period.

Some other people may write YA for those reasons. But not me. These are three reasons I write YA:

1. I Love the Characters. 
This period of life is full of emotional landscape with many decisions and revelations. It’s the start of life detached from your family and your origin. It’s the start of unveiling the world beyond what you currently know and finding your place in it. I love writing about characters on the brink.

2. I Love the Diversity. 
You can write on any subject for YA. Romance, Horror, Science Fiction, Historical, Contemporary, or a unique mix. Just browsing the bookshelves can reveal an eclectic mix of novels in one place. I love as a writer that I can explore different genres if I wish.

3. I Love the Audience. 
Most of all, young adults are a passionate group of readers. I love the connection that they feel with the novels and hearing their own stories. For me as a writer, it doesn’t get any better than this.

So that’s why I write for YA. I enjoy other types of books, but YA is where my writer heart lives.

Thanks so much Dolly for inviting me to be a part of your series.

You can visit me at my blog, Musings of a Novelista and on Twitter. I love meeting other kindred writing spirits!


  1. Great post! Those are a lot of the reasons why I write YA too ;o) Well said!

    Have a great weekend both of you!

  2. Thanks Dolly for letting be a guest blogger today.

    I've really enjoyed this series!

  3. "It’s about the storytelling not the morals."

    I love this! Sometimes people get so caught up in how teen characters should act and what choices they should make. But it's not about judging the characters, it's about telling their stories.

  4. I am working on my first MG novel. Its sort of a mystery. It has been fun creating the characters and allowing the story to unfold. I love writing for children and agree with your reasons whole heartedly. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Teens are such a tough audience. They either completely love something or totally hate it, there is very rarely any middle ground. Thanks for sharing your view point.

  6. This was thoroughly enjoyable!

    I loved your reasons why (and why not) you write for Y/A.

  7. Karen,

    You are welcome, and thanks for doing it. I loved your reasons :-) And it is so true - to remember that our ultimate aim is to write a story that people would love to read.

  8. Hi Karen

    Wonderful and insightful! Thank you for sharing and reminding what writing and storytelling is all about! ;)