Writing for Young Adults        Jeni Mawter
What is a Young Adult?• The Teenage Years (12 + )
What is a Young Adult?The five milestones of transition to adulthood:1) completing school
What is a Young Adult?2) leaving home / gaining independence
What is Young Adult?3) becoming financially independent
What is a Young Adult?4) marrying
What is a Young Adult?5) having children
Young Adults Today…
Young Adults Today…
YA Texts – Some Examples•   Eugenides, Jeffrey. The Virgin Suicides. Warner, 1993•   Rosoff, Meg. How I Live Now. Penguin,...
Features of a Young Adult Text• Young adult protagonist• Often a coming-of-age story• The reader/audience has to care abou...
Young Adult Issues• self-definition and subjectivity
Young Adult Issues• self-definition and subjectivity with doubts
Young Adult Issues• exploring sexuality and writing the body
Young Adult Issuessocial power   social responsibility
Young Adult Issues• representations of self and society
Young Adult Issues• dominant ideologies
Young Adult Issues• multiculturalism and assimilation
Young Adult Issues       Glocal
Young Adult Issues• relationships – social networks, driven by social  media
Young Adult Issues• other relationships
Young Adult Issues• social media
Young Adult Issues• technology
Young Adult Issues• 24/7/365 access
Young Adult Issues• religion and spirituality
Young Adult Issues• risk taking
Young Adult Issues•   drugs and     alcohol
Young Adult Issues• aggression
Young Adult Issues• stress and anxiety
Young Adult Issues• high expectations
Young Adult Issues• high achievers
Young Adult Issues• job prospects
Young Adult Issues• celebrity
Young Adult Issues• Harry Potter generation
Young Adult Issues• reality shows
Young Adult Issues• narcissism
Young Adult Issues
Young Adult Issues• playing it safe
Young Adult Issues• rise in conservatism
Young Adult Issues• Conservatism reflected in YA literature- Rise in Fantasy          - Less Realistic Fiction
Young Adult Issuesmortality   immortality
Young Adult Issues• role reversals and blurred boundaries
Young Adult Issues• the environment• climate change
Publisher’s Wish List   • young adult appeal   • morally acceptable   • innovative   • characters you can’t forget   • ori...
Voice• Who is telling the story and why?• First-person perspective (intimate, limited POV)• Omniscient third-person (less ...
Style Considerations for Voice • word choice          • paragraph size • sentence length      • rhythm of sentences • sent...
Voice Exercise
Challenge: Different Voices
Planning Exercise• Who is the main character?• What does the character desire?• What gets in the way of achieving this?• W...
New Media Literacies• traditional literacy (print culture) + mass and  digital media literacy• the ability to think across...
New Media Literacies• Kress (2003) stresses that modern literacy  requires the ability to express ideas across  a broad ra...
New Media ExerciseToday by The Smashing Pumpkins                                 •                                     Pin...
New Media ExerciseUse these lyrics to write   • Acceptance speech3 different texts.          • Personal narrative         ...
New Media ExerciseExtensionSmashing Pumpkins Live in concerthttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5uZkdv7Hqdw&feature=relatedSmas...
Writing for young adults
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Writing for young adults

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The definition of Young Adult Literature has extended from the 12 +

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Writing for young adults

  1. 1. Writing for Young Adults Jeni Mawter
  2. 2. What is a Young Adult?• The Teenage Years (12 + )
  3. 3. What is a Young Adult?The five milestones of transition to adulthood:1) completing school
  4. 4. What is a Young Adult?2) leaving home / gaining independence
  5. 5. What is Young Adult?3) becoming financially independent
  6. 6. What is a Young Adult?4) marrying
  7. 7. What is a Young Adult?5) having children
  8. 8. Young Adults Today…
  9. 9. Young Adults Today…
  10. 10. YA Texts – Some Examples• Eugenides, Jeffrey. The Virgin Suicides. Warner, 1993• Rosoff, Meg. How I Live Now. Penguin, 2004• Pullman, Philip. Northern Lights. Point Fiction (Ashton Scholastic), 1997• Zusak, Markus. The Book Thief. Picador, 2005• Haddon, Mark. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. David Fickling, 2003• Gwynne, Phillip. Deadly, Unna? 1998• Tan, Shaun. The Arrival. 2006• Gaiman, Neil. The Graveyard Book. Pan Macmillan, 2008
  11. 11. Features of a Young Adult Text• Young adult protagonist• Often a coming-of-age story• The reader/audience has to care about the story and characters• Issues relevant to age group
  12. 12. Young Adult Issues• self-definition and subjectivity
  13. 13. Young Adult Issues• self-definition and subjectivity with doubts
  14. 14. Young Adult Issues• exploring sexuality and writing the body
  15. 15. Young Adult Issuessocial power social responsibility
  16. 16. Young Adult Issues• representations of self and society
  17. 17. Young Adult Issues• dominant ideologies
  18. 18. Young Adult Issues• multiculturalism and assimilation
  19. 19. Young Adult Issues Glocal
  20. 20. Young Adult Issues• relationships – social networks, driven by social media
  21. 21. Young Adult Issues• other relationships
  22. 22. Young Adult Issues• social media
  23. 23. Young Adult Issues• technology
  24. 24. Young Adult Issues• 24/7/365 access
  25. 25. Young Adult Issues• religion and spirituality
  26. 26. Young Adult Issues• risk taking
  27. 27. Young Adult Issues• drugs and alcohol
  28. 28. Young Adult Issues• aggression
  29. 29. Young Adult Issues• stress and anxiety
  30. 30. Young Adult Issues• high expectations
  31. 31. Young Adult Issues• high achievers
  32. 32. Young Adult Issues• job prospects
  33. 33. Young Adult Issues• celebrity
  34. 34. Young Adult Issues• Harry Potter generation
  35. 35. Young Adult Issues• reality shows
  36. 36. Young Adult Issues• narcissism
  37. 37. Young Adult Issues
  38. 38. Young Adult Issues• playing it safe
  39. 39. Young Adult Issues• rise in conservatism
  40. 40. Young Adult Issues• Conservatism reflected in YA literature- Rise in Fantasy - Less Realistic Fiction
  41. 41. Young Adult Issuesmortality immortality
  42. 42. Young Adult Issues• role reversals and blurred boundaries
  43. 43. Young Adult Issues• the environment• climate change
  44. 44. Publisher’s Wish List • young adult appeal • morally acceptable • innovative • characters you can’t forget • original voice • a fresh use of language • a story that moves its reader
  45. 45. Voice• Who is telling the story and why?• First-person perspective (intimate, limited POV)• Omniscient third-person (less personal, multiple POV)• Must be authentic• Avoid clichés, stereotypes and contrivances
  46. 46. Style Considerations for Voice • word choice • paragraph size • sentence length • rhythm of sentences • sentence structure • information given • tense • colloquial language • emotions • metaphor • humour • lyrical language • point of view • formal grammar, • attitudes punctuation, spelling
  47. 47. Voice Exercise
  48. 48. Challenge: Different Voices
  49. 49. Planning Exercise• Who is the main character?• What does the character desire?• What gets in the way of achieving this?• What tactics might the character use?• Does the character succeed or fail?• How is the character’s world changed as a result of the struggle?• How might our world be changed?
  50. 50. New Media Literacies• traditional literacy (print culture) + mass and digital media literacy• the ability to think across platforms• social literacy• community affiliation• interactive• collaborative• Transmedia navigation involves the ability to read and write across all available modes of expression
  51. 51. New Media Literacies• Kress (2003) stresses that modern literacy requires the ability to express ideas across a broad range of different systems of representation and signification including words, spoken or written; image, still and moving; musical; 3D models etcKress, G. (2003). Literacy in the New MediaAge. New York: Routledge.
  52. 52. New Media ExerciseToday by The Smashing Pumpkins • Pink ribbon scars• Today is the greatest That never forget Day I ’ve ever known I’ve tried so hard Can’t live for tomorrow To cleanse these regrets My angel wings Tomorrow’s much too long Were bruised and restrained I burn my eyes out My belly stings Before I get out Today is Today is I wanted more Today is Than life could ever grant The greatest day Bored by the chore That I have ever known Of saving face I want to turn you on I want to turn you round Today is the greatest I want to turn you on Day I have ever known I want to turn you Can’t wait for tomorrow Today is the greatest I might not have that long Today is the greatest day I’ll tear my heart out Today is the greatest day Before I get out That I have ever known
  53. 53. New Media ExerciseUse these lyrics to write • Acceptance speech3 different texts. • Personal narrative • Newspaper/magazine• Blog article • MySpace page• Parable • Dialogue• Diary entry • Comic strip• Speech • Photo essay• Interview • Eulogy• Letter • Glog• Song lyric• Poem How could you make them interactive?• memoir
  54. 54. New Media ExerciseExtensionSmashing Pumpkins Live in concerthttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5uZkdv7Hqdw&feature=relatedSmashing Pumpkins Video Clip YouTubehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6J28OdEKrI

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