I am fixing this. My roommates in college were and are very good sources for great YA lit recommendations, and I've found some new loves. The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, anything by John Green. Such good stuff.
So when the next character in my head was a fourteen year old girl, I was pretty excited. I had a blast writing from her perspective. And not just that I had fun, but I've been doing some thinking, and there are three major reasons why I think I will keep writing YA.
1. Length. This is probably the most superficial of my reasons, but its still a reason. I am naturally a short writer. Quite short. I look with envy on my friends who write too much and have to pare down. I, on the other hand, have to add and add to get to the length and level of story I want. So the shorter length acceptable for YA is a good thing for me.
2. First Person Voice. Not all YA is written in first person, obviously, and not all adult lit has to be written in third. However, often the tone of YA fits with a voice-driven, personable first person. That means that once I had my character in my head, the tone felt smooth and natural. It felt much easier to just listen to her tell the story rather than try and be some omniscient observer without sounding clunky. It's been said that first person is a lazier choice, but I don't care, and I disagree anyway. It was dang fun.
3. The Next Generation. If you really want to impact this world--if you want to influence the people who will be the movers and shakers--you write for teens and kids. Think about what books shaped you as a person, or changed you. I'll bet the first books you thought of were books you read as a kid. Judy Blume, anyone? She was one of mine. Also Sharon Creech, C. S. Lewis, and Beverly Cleary. I think we would all love to be somebody's Judy Blume.
Who knows, the next book I write may not be YA. In fact, the idea cloud in my head is shaping into more adult than YA. However, I think I will always be contemporary (magical realistic a bit?), and will always come back to YA.
Do you write YA? If yes, do you agree? If no, what do you love about your specific genre?