That's right, I'm hijacking Thankful Thursday and turning it into *drum roll please* TALKING WITH TEENS THURSDAY.
Oasis for YA is comprised of YA writers, and for the most part our visitors are too. And who are we writing for? Teens. Well, as my last week Wednesday's post says, I mentor a local teen writer, and I've found teen input and commentary to be invaluable while writing Foresight. So, I thought, every now and again, we could take issues of writing for teens to teens and get their feedback. Well worth a hijack, right?
For my first take-over, I posed two basic questions about the YA genre to some of Oasis's teen betas. The consensus on answers may surprise you, might make you rethink a WIP your working on...
1. What would you like to see MORE of in YA?
2. What would you like to see LESS of in YA?
The answers from two guys who chime in:
1. The one thing In would like to see more of is some new ideas. Not really themes, but plotlines and such. I can only read about so many bloodsuckers before I want to shove a stake through my own heart. Same with Werewolves. I haven't read that muny Angel/demon books but I'm sure if I looked I would find a lot. YA also needs more first person books, and those first person books need to be more realistic. Teens these days aren't goodie-goodie-two-shoes. Teens have more of a darker side to them than we'd like to admit. Give them a choice between their own life and somebody else's, and most of them will undoubtedly choose their own. Also, and I can't stess this enough, YA needs more bad-assery. Incorporate sarcasm, humor, and acts of violence. School fights is a good example. You could have a bully go up against the MC, and have the MC kick the shit out of him. That's a daydream that most teens love to share.
1) I would personally love to see more YA/adult crossover genres, just something a teenager can grow up with and each book matures as the reader matures. I'm experimenting with something like this myself. I would really love a book that starts out with a teenage character than grows into their twenties and really discoveries themselves, and the content in the book becomes slightly more adult oriented as well. I'm also looking for a "boy book" with a great, supernatural/paranormal twist.
2. What we need less of is third person. Don't just show teens the roller coaster, put them in it. Trust me, it's a lot more fun than just looking at it. Also, the redundant I-fell-in-love-with-a-vampire thing has got to go. That plotline has been pummeled into the ground with a jackhammer. And speaking of vampires, if you still want to do vampires, DO NOT MENTION DRACULA! Oh my god I feel like I'm getting bashed in the head with dracula! Vampires have been around far longer than Vlad Dracul. A better substitute is to make them an Immortal, and then find your own reasoning as to why they're immortal. One last note, keep the romance. Teens love sexual tension, it on our minds a lot, and you cannot sell a book without romance. Especially not in the YA section.
2) People might expect me to say less paranormal/supernatural YA books, but I'm not, lol. I personally write these types of books myself and, contrary to popular belief, some of these books have more to say than just your typical Twilight-esque books. I would like to see the trend lessen a bit, though. The whole I-love-him-but-he's-a-supernatural-creature thing is getting a little overdone, but it's a trend so people want to follow it. If I read a book like that something has to be original about it, because it's like watching a rerun in my head. Annoying.
And now for a few girls' comments on the same two questions:
1) I would love to see more action and romance.
1) My favorite genre is fantasy, but I often find that the genre forgets about character. There's no character development, and it's more often than not plot- not character-driven
1)I’d like to see more unique topics, perhaps an unusual setting or abnormal characters. Vampires and werewolves are getting old rather quickly.
2) I would definitely want to see less vampires and werewolves.
2) Cliches and perfect characters. cliches are boring and often predictable. perfect characters just grate your nerves. I find it interesting when a character SEEMS perfect, but isn't. Furthermore, it's annoying when near the end of the book, there are tons of twists and you suddenly find out that fifty things you thought throughout the whole book are wrong.
2) I’d like to see less of what I like to call “teeny bopper fluff”. Of course the typical boy meets girl story is cute but unless you introduce it in a very unique situation and have some captivating subplots it will feel as though you’re reading the same story over and over again.
And then some over all commentary from a couple of the girls:
I have a few comments of my own: In YA people want things that they can relate to in life and they can't relate to warewolves and vampires, people and young adults want something new and interesting not something that's already there and boring now.
Overall I’d like to see some new ideas and have someone break from the norm.
So, there you have it, something we as writers CAN be thankful for on this Thursday, the input of our target audience! IN summation, the teens polled say they'd like MORE romance, action, unique topics and characters, and character development. And, they'd like LESS vampires and werewolves, less cliche plotlines and character, less 'fluff'.Thank you to Sheri Larson, for wrangling her betas! Thanks to Austin Robhran, Kat Rought, and Riv Re for giving us an insight into the wants of our teen readers!