Tips to Write Powerful Young Adult Stories


Are you an aspiring YA fiction writer? Do you dream of creating stories that leave your readers on the edge of their seats? Look no further, as I will guide you through the process of crafting captivating YA fiction. Whether you’re a novice writer or an expert in the genre, the following tips will help you create stories that resonate with young adult readers.

What is YA Fiction?

YA fiction, short for young adult fiction, is a genre specifically targeted at readers between the ages of approximately 12 and 18. It encompasses a range of themes and genres, with protagonists typically falling within the same age range as the target audience.

Is YA Fiction Right for You?

YA fiction differs from adult fiction in several ways. The plot moves faster, and the word count is generally shorter. Themes revolving around family, friendship, and self-discovery are common in YA fiction. If these aspects don’t resonate with you as a writer, YA fiction may not be the best fit for your creative endeavors.

Understanding the Importance of Categorizing Your Book as YA Fiction:

Categorizing your book correctly is crucial for reaching your intended audience. It plays a vital role in marketing and sales. By identifying your target audience from the outset and positioning your book as YA fiction, you increase your chances of connecting with the readers who will appreciate your story.

Will Only Teenagers Read Your YA Book?

Not necessarily. While the target audience for YA fiction is primarily teenagers, readers of all ages can enjoy YA novels. However, it is essential to know your target audience and write with their preferences and interests in mind. This knowledge will help shape your marketing campaign and guide your writing style.

Understanding Word Count for YA Fiction:

YA novels typically range from 40,000 to 80,000 words. This range allows for a concise and engaging storytelling experience that aligns with teenagers’ shorter attention spans. Keep in mind that exceptions exist, especially for well-established authors or specific genres, but aiming for a shorter word count is generally advisable.

6 Tips for Crafting Compelling YA Fiction:

1. Address Sensitive Topics: Don’t shy away from discussing touchy subjects in YA fiction. Remember, you’re writing for soon-to-be-adults. While certain topics may require an adult point of view, exploring themes such as abuse or sexuality can add depth and relevance to your story.

“Six of Crows” is about a group of six teenagers who are planning a grand theft. Each of them has different characteristics that make them unique, and as the plot advances, we realize that their backstories are sadder than we ever imagined. I like putting “Six of Crows” as a good example of this because even though the book touches on themes like death and abuse, it does so in a way that is appropriate for the readers.

2. Deliver a Satisfying Ending: In YA fiction, good typically triumphs over evil. However, that doesn’t mean your main characters won’t face challenges. Allow your protagonists to experience moments of despair before reaching a satisfying and uplifting resolution. This emotional rollercoaster keeps readers engaged and invested in the story.

It’s hard to give an example without giving away the plot, but rest assured. Most popular YA fiction books have a happy ending.

3. Connect with Your Inner Teenager: To write relatable YA characters, immerse yourself in the mindset of a teenager. Spend time with teenagers, engage in conversations, and understand their experiences and concerns. By doing so, you can create authentic characters that resonate with your young adult audience.

4. Relatability is Key: YA fiction should capture the essence of being a teenager. Incorporate elements that reflect the teenage experience, whether it’s self-discovery, friendship, or the challenges of navigating the world. Even if your story includes fantastical or supernatural elements, ensure that readers can emotionally connect with your characters.

For instance, “The Fault in Our Stars” is about two 16 year old cancer patients who fall in love. At first glance, it might seem difficult for a teenager to relate to such a specific situation. However, the book doesn’t focus on them as cancer patients. Instead, we see them explore friendship, love, and death. It’s a good example of teenagers navigating complex emotions.

5. Entertain Your Readers: Teenagers have diverse entertainment options, so make your book an exciting and enjoyable experience. Maintain tension throughout the plot, incorporate plot twists, and create suspenseful moments that keep readers eagerly turning the pages.

6. Read Widely in the Genre: Familiarize yourself with the wide array of YA fiction by reading books in various genres. This exposure will help you understand common clichés, writing styles, and the way teenagers are portrayed. It will also inspire you to bring fresh perspectives and ideas to your own writing.

If you find it hard to enjoy reading YA fiction, remember it’s not necessarily a genre. You can find books that combine YA fiction with genres like horror, fantasy, or science fiction. Find the genre you usually read and choose a book. Ask yourself: What makes it different from adult fiction? What do I want to include in my story, and what do I not?


Crafting compelling YA fiction requires a unique approach and understanding of the target audience. Remember: address sensitive topics, deliver a satisfying ending, and entertain your readers. By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating engaging stories that captivate young adult readers. Embrace the joys and challenges of writing in this genre, and watch as your YA fiction resonates with readers, leaving a lasting impact.

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