A/N: I'm fully aware that this is not quite fictional and I probably should've posted this elsewhere, but it just so happens that my target audience hangs out here and not elsewhere. I'm also pretty sure this has been done before, but I still want to join the hype and make my own of one of these.
The Idiot's Guide to Writing Stories for Young Adults
So you want to write for your young adults but don't know where to start? Don't panic; this guide will definitely help you out.
Plot in a story is analogous to a thesis in an essay: overrated, useless, and unnecessary. You don't really need a plot to write a story. If you blab about that HOT guy and how much you hate his girlfriend or if you tell of your anger, angst, and suicidal thoughts, someone is bound to give you a review saying they can definitely relate with a thumbs-up attached. Or just take an entry out of your diary. Plot or no plot, what matters is how you can reach out to other teenagers. Right?
However, if you have to have a plot, make sure it revolves around romance, falling-out, or a quest of being misunderstood and trying to fit in. Any stories with those themes are sure to get a lot of reviews.Character
Your protagonist should be a whiny teenager who thinks she has the worst luck in the world. She also should be Different (i.e., Unique), which she uses to excuse her lack of social life or popularity. Apparently her individuality has set her apart so much from the rest of the crowd. Which is funny, cause judging from the number of stories starring a misfit, you'd think all those misfits could try to get together and make their own clique and be misfits together.
Your protagonist will probably have an archenemy: someone she just doesn't like very much. This archenemy will be the typical rich, pretty, blonde, popular, cheerleader type, who your character will judge snobby and superficial and all those bad qualities just because.
And it will always help, of course, if your protagonist uncannily resembles you so much that you feel like what's happening to her is happening to you as well. Or you may have based the story on your everyday life in the first place.Setting
High school is where all the drama is. A mall and a home and a miscellaneous place may pop up occasionally, and a middle school and a college have slipped past the filter once or twice as the predominant setting, but most readers are not going to take you seriously unless your main characters are in high school.Themes
Sometimes the subjects of romance and friendship are judged too trivial. If you agree that they are, then you might want to tackle the more serious and controversial issues. If your story deals with abuse, rape, abortion, homosexuality, racism, cutting, suicide, etc. etc., your readers will automatically deem you aware politically and applaud you for that. And it's unlikely that people are going to criticize the victims of any or all of those horrible stuff because they really deserve some sympathy after what has happened to them.Rating
Always give your story a K rating. That way, you have the widest gamut of audience possible. Sure, you probably don't know a lot of nine-year-olds who'd be interested in dates and proms, and your characters and their relationships with one another may be a tad bit complex and above those nine-year-olds' head, and whoops, apparently you have accidentally slipped the s- or the f- word in some place or other, but hey, if there's anyone to blame for the corruption of modern kids, it's those kids' parents, who fail to prescreen everything their kids are about to read beforehand.
And do note that teenagers nowadays know more than they did, like, eight years ago. You'd be surprised at how comfortable thirteen-year-olds nowadays reading stories involving sex and drugs complete with excessive profanity. They don't even flinch. So don't be afraid: write what you want and what you care about and expose everything and just write for the sake of it. The world needs more contribution to young adults literature anyway.