Writing YA: An Introduction

Welcome to a brand spanking new series here at MP! Books! Over the next five weeks we’re going to take you through everything you need to know about writing YA: what is it? what do you avoid? do you plan or pants? And, of course, some essential reading for all budding YA writers.


What is YA?

Though YA is often viewed as a genre, it’s not. YA is an age category. Young adult fiction has a broad range, but is aimed roughly at 12-18 year olds.

Well, that’s what it’s supposed to be.

blows raspberry

YA is a ground-breaking area of publishing. It’s a place of genre-defying works; characters who are so flawed, genuine and alive that you feel like you’ve known them forever; it’s a place for pushing boundaries; for opening up conversations; and a place of great books. Anyone and everyone should be reading great books, regardless of where they’re shelved.

Am I writing YA?

Is your protagonist between 12 and 18? Yes.
Am I writing for readers between 12 and 18? Yes.

But at the risk of sounding silly, you can feel if something is YA. There’s a sparkle, a certain quality in a book that makes it YA in our eyes, so even if your protagonist is a little younger or a little older, it’ll be the plot and the writing and the themes that decide where you book will be shelved.

thumbs up

Just write what you need to write and figure out the pernickety bits later. That’s what editors and agents are for!

Coming up!

Writing YA: What’s my genre?
Writing YA: Cliches and Tropes
Writing YA: Planning and Pantsing
Writing YA: Apps and Tools
Writing YA: Who are your characters?
Writing YA: Essential Reading for Writers
Writing YA: Prepping for Publishing

And more!

Is there anything you’d like us to cover during the series? Let us know @maximumpopbooks!

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Written by Sophie Waters

Sophie is the Head of Commercial at Maximum Pop! Having studied English Lit and Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, she came to MP! to satisfy her passion for books. Sophie is a diehard Hufflepuff and feminist. She's also a huge cat lover, and can often be found rocking her socks off at a gig.

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