Q: I want to write for teens, but I’m much older than a teen and don’t really know if it’s something I can tackle without coming across as unauthentic. What’s the best way to learn how to write for the teen audience in particular?
A: The best way to get to know how to write for YA is to read a bunch of YA novels. You don’t even have to read the whole book; opening chapters say a lot about the great range within YA. Then ask yourself, Can I do this? The key is to look at a lot of teen novels though…Don’t think one particular bestselling YA book represents the entire market. It doesn’t. There’s room for lots of different teen voices. I think many people believe that teen books have to be edgy, gritty, sexy, or Like Ohmigod! That’s not true. There’s a huge range out there. Also, it really helps if you can remember what you were like as a teen. If you’ve blocked out that whole period in your life, you might find it hard to think like one. So draw from that.