Young adult fiction is a relatively new category in book publishing, but it is growing fast. YA books are written for readers ages 12 to 18, but their popularity often extends well beyond the intended age range; Harry Potter and The Hunger Games being the best-known examples. YA spans a number of subgenres, including paranormal romance, dystopian sci-fi, and coming-of-age realism. The best YA novels feature fully realized characters and a level of emotional complexity that appeal to teens. But YA books often include frightful displays of violence and are unabashed about sex. They also feature swiftly moving plots combined with a young person's unique world view—pairings that are unlike anything found in traditional literary fiction.
In this workshop, we will embark on writing our own YA novels. With our work always at the center of discussion, we will explore the essence of what makes it YA in terms of narrative point of view and subject matter, while also challenging the conventions of genre fiction. By way of example, we will look at books including The Fault in Our Stars (John Green), A Wrinkle In Time (Madeline L'Engle), Go Ask Alice (Beatrice Sparks), Uglies (Scott Westerfeld), and excerpts from blockbuster series like Harry Potter, Twilight, and The Hunger Games.
For examples of "new adult" or "crossover" fiction we will read excerpts from books like The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger), and Prep (Curtis Sittenfeld). Course work will include selected readings, but the emphasis of the workshop will be on writing and critiquing our own work. Students will write up to three chapters of an original YA or crossover novel along with a partial chapter outline for their book in progress. The class will also include visits from published YA authors who will speak about craft, audience, and getting published.
Tuition & Fees
Materials Fee: $20
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