The Fault in Our Stars

Six Key Ingredients to Make a YA Novel

Over the last decade, there has been a young adult novel book. Every adult, whether young or old, can find a YA book perfectly suited for them because the characters are so relatable, honest, and raw.

If you ever intend on writing a YA novel, be it a fantasy, a murder mystery or a sci-fi, take these six golden tips to stand out from the overflowing crowd of YA authors.


1. Unique voice


Think about it. What do Katniss and Hazel have in common? A strong personality that stands out! In adopting an original voice, you would be reaching out towards your readers. Moreover, this allows the challenges ahead to seem relatable for the young adults struggling amongst a whirlwind of friendship, romantic and familial pressures. Wherever your story is set, whoever is present, the same problems persist. In a nutshell, if you have a developed vision of your main character, then hesitate to go for the 1st person point of view. However, if this character’s image is somewhat blurry in your vision then consider employing the 3rd person limited instead. If that doesn’t work out, you can even alternate between the two!


2. Understandable language


Remember who your audience is and cater to their needs. Avoid using monotonous vocabulary like “good” and “beautiful”, unless you want your readers to stop flipping the pages and to put the book down after page 6. Don’t use vocabulary that is overly complicated. Avoid looking to The Canterbury Tales for inspiration. Unfortunately, the young adult group is one of the most difficult group of readers to reach out to. Each sentence should drive the reader to read the next and the next so they won’t be able to put the book down!


3. Unknown problem to be solved


There is always a crisis of some kind for the hero or heroine on their journey of self-discovery. The external conflict usually derives from an individual or a group of people against an authority or another powerful force. Beneath that, there are smaller scale problems such as a complicated love triangle or pressurizing demands from parents and siblings. If you delve even deeper, the main character has his or her personal battles to fight (the hardest battle of all!).


4. Usable sidekicks – because they’re (somewhat) important too.


After you’ve established a small number of main characters, don’t forget to consider a cast of sidekicks. The auxiliary characters are essential in assisting plot as well as personal growth for your mains. Moreover, make sure you have a diverse group of people with an interesting mix of characteristics to spice up the story.


5. Useful superpower(s) like these


Telepathy, immortality, time travel, brainwashing, shapeshifting, invisibility… anything is possible, you name it! These are only some of the examples, you can always invent an ability and attribute it to your character.


6. Ultimate happy ending – at least happy for now



This doesn’t mean every story should have a happily-ever-after.

The conclusion to your story should settle all the previously raised issues unless you plan on writing a series. In that case, you need to leave as many cliffhangers as possible! Leave unanswered questions and unsolved problems to keep your readers on the edge of their seats. By the last chapter of your last book, your main characters would have undergone some significant transformation and have finally arrived at a comfortable place with positive hopes for the future. Whatever happens, closure is an absolute must.

That’s it! Best of luck, you’ll probably need it.


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