She's Come Down with the YA

Hee hee. 

The title of this blog comes from something Husband said to me the other day. -BTW, am I the only one who pronounces it Why Eh in casual conversation?- Husband has been doing a long metamorphosis when it comes to my young adult writing. At first he didn’t take it at all seriously, and there was a lot of Why Eh bashing…but through classical conditioning (and perhaps the long nights alone in the dungeon) he has come to the point where he still doesn’t understand it, but recognizes it as an art form. 😀

So anyway, we were having a conversation about YA books, and he teased me saying the way I said it, it sounded like some kind of STD. So I was in the right humor, got the mental image and thought it was funny. 

And that got me thinking: When did I come down with YA?

I remember almost exactly – I was 15.

The summer between my freshman and sophomore years was a big one. I was leaving some friends behind me (who really needed to go), and being left behind by others (sob). We did not have “the internet” yet, but when we got it that October, my life changed forever. 🙂 My sister was going to college in the fall and I was struggling to identify myself as something other than Charlotte’s Sister. I was terrified of boys, and had been given a 20-year-old’s body for a nice kick of irony. 

During this time I read and read and read. Mostly YA. Christopher Pike and L.J. Smith were my favorites. Books where boring everyday life is suddenly interrupted by the not-quite-possible totally grab me. But there was not enough YA to satisfy me! I sat up from a book one day and said I want to write this stuff! So I sat down at my PowerMac one night and decided to give it a go.

It was bad. High fantasy about a group of redheads who are persecuted for being redheads. (Hmmmmm….) I got about fifty pages in and hit a sex scene. I turned lobster red. All writing ceased. 

Now, there are all kinds of ways I know I could have gotten around this …fade to black, promote abstinence, fake it… But what the hell was I doing writing high fantasy anyway?? 

So I stopped, and then we got “the internet” and my sophomore year began, and I started to become a real person. And that October my life became the plot of a YA novel. Someday I’ll blog about it.

Anyway, it took me years to come back to YA after all that (I know, and years to get to the end of this post!), but I remember that moment when I realized YA is what I want to do!

So…when did you come down with YA?

13 thoughts on “She's Come Down with the YA

  1. I say it as “Why Eh” too. 🙂

    I think writing YA just happened naturally. I wrote my first novels when I was a teen, so unsurprisingly they involved teen characters (I didn’t figure I knew enough about adults to write about them). And as I got older I found that, y’know, I still liked reading teen stuff, and I really liked all the dynamics that come with teenage-hood–trying to figure out who you are and come into your own, that sort of thing. And I write YA length–never had a novel go over 300 pages, 250 is more standard. So, I kept writing YA!

  2. I was a geeky theatre kid who wrote her first book when she was 10 (all 30,000 words of it!). I was naturally drawn to drama and YA and historical romance (which is why I wrote and still do. YA just tends to dominate–I haven’t written a romance novel in awhile) were the most drama filled genres I could find.

    I was also one of those kids that used to get pulled out of class and tested because they couldn’t figure out how I read so fast and comprehended everything. They did the same thing to my sister, actually. When I was a teen (all those short years ago) YA was really fast growing and could keep up with my demand for books. Romance and YA was all I read for a really long time.

    Because I started writing as a teenager, it kind of automatically went that I was writing about teenagers (except for those few romance novels). I was the exact opposite with sex scenes, though! When I was 17 I wrote a romance novel that I let my Mom read and she seemed to believe that I was sexually active because my sex scenes were so steamy!!!!!

    1. Wow, good for you – I can’t imagine writing romance. It wouldn’t seem real to me without all the awkward “ouch, that’s my foot” and “wow, his back is kinda hairy.” 🙂 But um, yeah… all YA romance is pretty awkward, so I guess I’m good!

      1. I agree that most of the time YA romance is awkward–I’ve always had trouble with it. But my last book the romance was incredibly smooth–I think it’s because the characters were already together a year before the book takes place.

        Romances are fun to write and read because they follow a formula and are ALWAYS happy in the end.

  3. I started writing YA for three reasons, basically in order, as I went deeper:

    –My friend who was ahead of me, querying and encouraging me to join her (and have my soul crushed, haha!!) was writing YA.
    –I checked out various online writing communities and Verla Kay’s seemed the most professional and welcoming.
    –The YA market seems to be wide open for cross-genre stuff and some really creative ideas, whereas I’m not sure where I would fit in the adult market.
    –Okay, fourth reason: I also like YA because I can pretty well keep up with it, and the books are usually not overly pretentious, but they’re quality.

  4. I say “Why Eh” too, and also el-oh-el cats instead of “lullcats” so maybe my input on that particular part of your post will not help at all.

    I loved reading this entry! It’s awesome to see where people’s interesting in YA writing/reading starts (those redheads are going to be in persecution limbo!!!). I was always surrounded by YA novels growing up, as my sister was older, so I was a tween when she was a tween… it was by and large what I loved to read. So when I started writing, of course I gravitated to novels targeted at… the general fiction shelves, for the older reader. Makes sense, huh? Heh. It took a couple of books before I realized I should maybe write what I love to read. 😀


    1. lolcats! ROFLMAO (pronounced roffle-mayo)

      Ah yes, the black abyss of general fiction… Doesn’t it make YA seem like da bomb? (*Shun the non-believers…shun) Maybe you were just aspiring to be a “real” writer. Geeze Courtney, and to think you could’ve been the next Danielle Steel…

      *if you don’t get this allusion, look for “Charlie the Unicorn” on YouTube and prepare to roffle-mayo.

  5. hee hee…I’ve had YA for about 4 years now (yikes! has it been that long?) People might ask, “Does it hurt?” I’d have to say, “sometimes…”

    Do you think it’s contagious?!

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