Jackson Pearce on Writing the YA Novel

Jackson Pearce spelled out the Basics of Writing the YA Novel at her recent Writers’ Workshop sponsored by the Friends of the Library, the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators and Southern Breeze.

YA Basics

Word Count -- over 50,000 is typical

Forbidden Topics -- none

Specific Genre -- the gamut

YA qualifier -- ages of main characters



YA Rule # 1 Respect Your Audience  

According to Jackson, being a teenager is not a joke, especially to the teenager. Sure, teens are often dramatic, but that is because many experiences are new and oh, so real, and heart-pounding to them.  However, she cautioned, being inexperienced is not the same as being stupid.  Teenagers might be known for making poor choices, but that is only one aspect of their character

YA Rule # 2 Remember --Writers are Story Tellers

There’s no need to play policeman, mother, father or even Aesop. In YA stories, there is no need to lecture, point out poor choices or reveal a moral. 

YA Rule # 3 Write for the Love of Writing

What Else?

Keep a list of ideas

Know your beginning, middle, and end before you start writing

Outline, so you’ll know where you’re going, even if the plot deviates

Write down ideas that might happen

Fill in plot holes

Know what is important about your characters that matter  to the story

Writing chronologically is not necessary -- if you get stuck, write the exciting parts, write the kissing parts.

First drafts suck, but you can’t edit a blank page

Revise, revise, revise until your story is its absolute best and you would change nothing.

Then go back to that list of ideas and repeat...

stephanie@moodyviews.com       © Stephanie Moody 2011