How YA Books Have Made Me a Better Writer

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So I’ve already mentioned several times the importance of reading what you write, and why reading is not optional for writers, and why we shouldn’t shame each other for our reading choices.  

But in light of a certain article shaming adults for liking YA, and in honor of the fabulous #PromoteaYAInstead and #NoShameYA, I want to share how YA books have made me a better writer. Because they have.

The Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi taught me that the conventional rules and styles of language can be broken, and broken beautifully. They taught me that poetry, beautiful imagery and action aren’t mutually exclusive. The Shatter Me series also remains an awesome example of how to completely nail character development over the course of a series.

The Across the Universe series by Beth Revis arguably has influenced me the most with my writing. The AtU series taught me Sci-Fi doesn’t have to be robots and super technical science-y things—it can be mixed with romance and mystery and make for some awesome reading. It taught me that dual POV is a thing I actually like, and, as it turns out, love to write. It also taught me some really neat stylistic tricks and reminded me that action, death and things blowing up is fun to read and write about.

Every Day by David Levithan taught me about the power words can have when they connect to a reader and really get them to empathize. It’s a reminder that every person (and character) has their own story. It also serves as a brilliant example of how to get your readers to connect to a character with just a couple pages.

There are so many lessons to be learned from YA, whether it’s for writers or everyday life. And if YA isn’t your thing, that’s totally okay, but know that the rest of us? We’ll continue to proudly read some really awesome books, and learn from them along the way.

These are just a few examples of lessons I’ve learned from YA, but now I want to hear from you. What have you learned from YA novels? 

Twitter-sized bites: 
Writer @Ava_Jae shares lessons she's learned from YA novels. Have you learned anything from YA? Join the discussion! (Click to tweet)  
How YA books have made @Ava_Jae a better writer. #PromoteaYAInstead #NoShameYA (Click to tweet


Briana said...

It is of the utmost importance that we read as much as we can as writers. YA is becoming more and more popular with readers of all ages, and I agree with you that we can learn great deal from reading books in the genre. Every Day was AMAZING. I'm dying to read the Across the Universe books! Excellent post, as always! :)

Ava Jae said...

Thanks, Briana! I completely agree—there's so much to be learned from books of all categories, and YA is no exception. Let me know what you think of the AtU books! :)

Briana said...

Sure thing. :)

RoweMatthew said...

Can it really be called Young Adult if people who aren't young adults read it? Maybe it needs a new name

Ava Jae said...

It absolutely can. Categories are based on a couple things: who they're marketed for (not necessarily who reads them), the age of the characters and the themes present in the books. YA novels are very much marketed to teenagers—and teenagers do read them, but so do adults. That doesn't make it less YA, it just means adults have found plenty of value in kidlit. As for the other two requirements, YA novels tend to fit them pretty well, otherwise they wouldn't be sold as YA.

Shawn Spjut said...

Love YA. They've taught me that emotions can be raw and undefined - creating far more powerful characters than those that are more mature. From Harry Potter to the Inheritance Cycle to Immortal Instruments, to Clockwork Angels to Wolf Realms to Divergents, to Beautiful Creatures - they all have taught me a lot about the diversification of character and writing style. Interesting - as a child I read adult fantasy. Now as an adult, I find myself enjoying the YA.

Ava Jae said...

Funny you should say that—I read a lot of adult novels when I was within the YA age group, too. It wasn't until I was growing out of the YA age group that I started picking up (and adoring) YA novels.

At any rate, I agree YA has a lot to show for as far as variations in character and writing style. I think the breadth of writing style and voice particularly stuck out to me as I first began reading YA, and it's something I continue to love about the category.

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