Something I get asked a lot is: “Why do you write more for teens than adults?” I’ve tried a few times, but I’m not sure I’ve ever given the truly kick-ass answer that the question deserves.
Fortunately, writer and secret agent Gwenda Bond, who runs one of my favorite lit-blogs, has come to the rescue on this one. On top of being recently and stunningly re-coiffeured, she links today to a great essay by Lauren Mechling, about why it’s better to write teen fiction than the other kinds:
Teen fiction is undergoing a remarkable transformation â€” the Wakefield twins of Sweet Valley High have had to step aside for new characters that are both believable and cool. The days of nice-enough, blonde-enough, B-plus-enough heroines are over. The new kids on the block have moxie and magical powers and, dare I say it, soul.
Itâ€™s not just the world of teen fiction thatâ€™s cast a spell on me; itâ€™s also the people Iâ€™m writing for. Teenage-hood fascinates me â€” it makes me giddy and breaks my heart at once. Same goes for teenagers. Teens donâ€™t get their due credit. Theyâ€™re not unformed creatures, wobbling toward sentience; rather, theyâ€™re super-formed, super-sensitive, super-perceptive. They pay attention. They stay on their toes. They get it.
(Click here for the rest.)
All very true. And of course there’s also the other things that make being a YA writer better:
a) More and cooler fan mail (with more “!!!” marks);
b) Staying on the shelves and in print a lot longer;
c) Being hand-sold with great enthusiasm in stores and personally recommended by librarians;
d) And best of all, switching from fantasy to sf to realism without agents predicting career-death (unlike much of the adult world, where readers demand the same book again and again–how sad is that?).
So, has anyone read Mechling’s book: The Rise and Fall of a 10th Grade Social Climber?