Category Archives: How to Write a YA Novel
If you are just tuning in to this guide to writing a YA novel, don’t worry, you didn’t miss much. In fact, this step in writing the novel is the most important. So important, in fact, that it’s been through a heavy reviewing process t(o cach the grammer misspeaks_ just so it would give you everything that you must know about The Love Triangle. (As a side note, one should always check for errors in their stories. Do errors break the story, not always, but they are very annoying for literate people).
The love triangle is the driving force behind your story. Your strong, independent teenager- who is dependent on her parent for all of life’s needs- must, at the first sign of a Y chromosome, abandon her ability to think and choose. Why?
Because she sits by that guy in class. We all know him: Adonis-like features, chiseled muscles and facial features that make Greek statues turn green with envy. He’s exceptionally intelligent, exceptionally popular, and exceptionally…..beautiful. His eyes must pierce the protagonist to her soul, make her swoon. His wavy brown hair screams to have her hands run through them. Two-thirds of every scene with this character must be descriptions of his physical features and their LSD-like effects on the protagonist’s mind. The other 1/3 can be her cleaning her drool off her desk and being an utter waste of oxygen.
Yes, this is that guy. The One. The Only. The…prrrrrreescioussssss…… Now that we’re done establishing what he looks like, what is he like? Well, to be original and memorable, let’s make him a vampire (Making him a werewolf would be pushing the boundaries, you rebel writer you).
He must watch her constantly, and not in the way a parent watches their kids on the playground. He must not blink. He must be a serial stalker and be so mysterious and standoffish that doctors everywhere would label him as sociopathic. But beneath that cold, creepy exterior is the man every teenage girl wants: a man to be utterly possessive of her, controlling her every action and thought, keeping her away from her family and friends. If she needs to use the restroom, she must ask his permission, and even then he is likely watching her through the crack of the stall door to ensure she is “safe”.
And that’s it. That’s the love triangle.
Whoa hold on! Triangles need three ends right? Sure, but the second love interest is some dude she met and promptly friend-zoned. Who wouldn’t? He enjoys nerdy things, he likes the outdoors, he’s been watching out for her since forever doing dumb things like helping her with her homework at the expense of his own, standing up for her against bullies in third grade, holding a very powerful crush on her, but keeping his feelings in check because he respects her and gives her space… you know, dumb things. This is to contrast with the main love interest and his lust for flesh, which is the guy every girl wants. If you must have another paranormal character. It can be him, but never allow this character to ever brood or be mysterious.
I hope you enjoyed this series on writing a YA novel. If you have questions about plot and character development and crafting scenes, just leave those by the door and I’ll throw them away on my way out. Aliens may be invading, hell may be freezing, the apocalypse may be happening and the only character that can save the world is our female protagonist. But she must not care about any of this. The only thing that should matter to her, to you and to your story is: Does that guy love me? Or he loves me not? I shall spend all eternity with him or I will kill myself.
Thanks for reading along!
Previously, we’ve been able to flesh out our main character, but now she needs a family! Let’s start with the sibling:
Our MC’s sibling is younger than, or the twin of, our MC. Where our MC is boy shy, the sibling is boy crazy (or girl crazy if the twin happens to be male). Where our MC fails at life, the sibling succeeds! The sibling is popular in school, intelligent, and doesn’t drool at the sight of “that guy” or “that gal”. Such success garners the love and favoritism of the parents.
Now for the parents. Yes, two of them….for now… muahahahaha! The father may express love and favoritism toward our MC, but if he does, the mother must not! The parents must always be at odds with one another. This leads to death or divorce.
The parent that favors the MC MUST DIE (see below for the alternate where the parents divorce instead). This becomes a weighty personal tragedy for our MC. The mother takes her family and moves from the city to start a new life away from the sad memories, thinking that what her kids need is quality family time that will never happen and some fresh air away from supportive friends and neighbors. Our MC must cope with the loss of her father and attempt to catch the eye of her mother, and try to make new friends. This leads her to work hard in school, fight with her sibling, and make friends with a crowd of 100+ year-old teen-girl-hungry vampires.
If the aforementioned parent does not die, then he (yes, the father) will move to the most remote location and the MC will move with him out of pity. This sets up our setting of isolation and a new town. IF you choose to keep both parents alive, make sure the mother lives somewhere nice and dates a really great man. This will make your readers wonder why your MC left the comforts and luxuries and beachfront properties for the woods, outhouses, and >shudder< used-truck breeding grounds of the new high school. This wonder will fuel interest in your story and give all of your readers an instant connection to the MC. No teenager should have a happy home in your stories ever.
Your MC will constantly long for the luxury she left, but remind herself that a new life in a new place is better. And what better way to start that new life than by working hard in school and making friends with 100+ year-old teen-girl-hungry vampires?
In either case, the parent with whom the MC lives will not care for the first half of the book about how the MC spends her extracurricular time. But as the author, you must, and I stress MUST, have the parent at some moment confront our teenage boy-shy MC if she is a virgin.
To this, the MC must, again stressing MUST, declare her virginity to her parent and follow up by saying that the entire conversation just made her feel dirty and she needs to take a shower. THIS. MUST. HAPPEN.
Immediately following this, the parent them ceases to have interest in the MC’s love life and within paragraphs the MC must meet up with one of her love interests and make out passionately with him.
Ok, this is my first post since the beginning of midterms. In light of not having a spring break at my university, I’ve finally set aside this moment to teach everyone how to write the perfect Young Adult novel.
You may be wondering “How do I classify my YA novel?” There are YA novels, YA Romance novels, YA paranormal novels, and YA Paranormal Romance novels. So many choices! Don’t worry, they are one and the same. To say YA Paranormal Romance is similar to setting your novel in the “redundantly redundant genre of redundancies”. This first rule of writing YA books is essential to remember as we craft our novel together.
With our book successfully indexable on Amazon, it’s time to start with the meat of our story. Or in this case, the imitation meat. That’s right, we need a Main Character!! Our MC is, of course, female. She must be between 16 and 18 years old. This age is essential because at this age our MC can make important decisions in life.
“I’m sixteen years old! I’m not a child anymore.” – Ariel (Disney’s The Little Mermaid)
She must be old enough to be independent, yet totally dependent on her parents….excuse me, parent. Yes, our MC comes from a broken family. The father is usually the one who is dead or somewhere else and our MC and younger sibling (yes, it is essential to have a younger sibling) live with their mother. This family trauma has happened recently, just before chapter 1 begins. In fact, this is why the MC’s family has just moved to a new town. Avoid cities. Move your MC to the mountains. If you have to put your MC in the city, isolate her neighborhood immediately (few friends, no real neighborly connections, limited access to public transportation).
Our MC is socially awkward, but not too awkward. She may or may not make friends, she has a crush on “that guy” and she is exceptionally stupid.
Wait. What? That’s right! She is allowed to be intelligent. She is allowed to have a 4.0 GPA, but when “that guy” enters her life, her IQ should plummet faster than the drool can fall out of her mouth. If you are mathematically inclined, this means that if her IQ is roughly 150, “that guy” should make it hit a flat 0 within five sentences. Any slower and critics will tell you that you are a wholly incompetent writer. (Bonus points if your MC literally drools as she stares at “that guy”)
Share with the world who your favorite YA main characters are and how their life was fleshed out on paper!