Please welcome Young Adult author Jeanne Bannon to Lizzyland! Jeanne’s just released her latest book, “Invisible” and has been kind enough to provide us with her top ten pieces of advice for writing YA. Here’s Jeanne!
Top Ten Tips for Writing YA
1. Don’t worry about guidelines for word count. The rule of thumb for YA novels is to write at least 50,000 words, but my advice is to write until the story is done. Don’t get too stuck on word count. You’ll know instinctively when your story is complete.
2. Be authentic. Teens will recognize a phoney narrative or character right away. Don’t hold back on language either. If a character is the kind who swears, then write them that way.
3. Don’t be preachy. If there is a message in your novel, sprinkle it in and don’t be too in-your-face. Watch for author intrusion. You don’t want your teenage audience knowing a 40-year-old is writing the story, lol
4. Try to remember what it was like to be a teen. Put yourself in their shoes. If you have teens in your life, talk to them and listen to them. It will help with authenticity.
5. Let someone in your target audience read your novel and take their advice to heart.
6. Read, read, read. Read other YA novels.
7. Join a writing critique group for input. I find this to be extremely helpful. Having other sets of eyes on your work will help you find things you’ve missed.
8. Don’t make too many of your characters sulky and complaining. Be sure to make your main character likeable. He or she can, and should, still have their flaws, but on the whole you want your readers to like and identify with him or her.
9. Leave your chapters off on a cliff hanger when possible. Make your readers want to turn the page.
10. Enjoy the process. Have fun. And leave your readers wanting a sequel.
Lola’s not pretty. Lola’s not popular. Lola wishes she could disappear … and then one day she does just that… For seventeen-year-old Lola Savullo, life is a struggle. Born to funky parents who are more in than she could ever be, Lola’s dream of becoming a writer makes her an outsider even in her own home. Bullied and despised, Lola still has the support of her best pal Charlie and Grandma Rose. Not only is she freakishly tall, Lola’s a big girl and when forced to wear a bathing suit at her summer job as a camp counsellor, Lola’s only escape from deep embarrassment seems to be to literally vanish. Soon after, she discovers the roots of her new “ability”. Slowly, with Charlie’s help, Lola learns to control the new super power. The possibilities are endless. Yet power can be abused, too… Then, when tragedy strikes, Lola must summon her inner strength, both at home and at school. She has to stand up for herself, despite the temptations and possibilities of her newfound super power. A coming-of-age story that will warm the heart.
I’ve worked in the publishing industry for over twenty years. I started my career as a freelance journalist, then worked as an in-house editor for LexisNexis Canada and currently work as a freelance editor and writer.
I’ve had several short stories published and won first place in the Writes of Caledon Short Story Contest. My novels, The Barely Boy and Dark Angel were finalists in the 2010 and 2011 Strongest Start Contests. One of my short stories “Thom’s Journey” is part of an Anthology entitled A Visitor to Sandahl and is available at Amazon.com.
Invisible, my debut novel, is about a teenage girl who isn’t happy with herself and wishes she could disappear. And one day she does. Invisible is available on Amazon, Smashwords, and the Solstice Publishing website.
When not reading or writing, I enjoy being with my daughters, Nina and Sara and my husband, David. I’m also the proud mother of two fur babies, a sweet Miniature Schnauzer named Emily and Spencer, a rambunctious tabby, who can be a very bad boy.