I wanted to take a moment, or a blog post, to talk about the different types of YA writing that can be done. There are a multitude of different types of YA writing out there beyond the novel and traditional short story.
Comic books, TPB, and Graphic Novels – Words and art come together to create a story for the reader. There are two ways this can be approached. You write the story and find someone to illustrate the story or if you are talented enough you can illustrate the story yourself. I wish I was talented enough to draw, but sadly I can’t. I am a huge supporter of Comic Books because they helped me overcome and deal with my learning disabilities. Comic Books were the foundation for my love of reading. From the librarian stand point; they are a great way to help reluctant readers to read.
Now traditional Comics, TPB, and Graphic Novels are print materials, but the great thing is you don’t have to rely on a publisher like Marvel and DC to get your workout there to the masses or the YA audience. There are a number of small presses and self-pressed comics out there and they are getting recognition they deserve. They go out there and promote their work and it can get notice. Just look at the Eisner Nominations, a lot of them are not Marvel and DC comics but small and independent press books.
And now with the advent of color tablets and e-readers it is going to be interesting to see where the world of comics are going to go; along with their interactivity.
Web Comics – Again these are very much like Comics, TPB, and Graphic Novels but they are usually printed in strip form on the internet. They can come out daily to weekly to monthly, but most of the time they come out on a weekly or daily format. Again you can write and draw this. You can find someone else to draw it for you. Or you can take clip art, stick figures, photos, etc. and just have fun in new and unique ways to tell your stories in these digital formats.
And typically these web comics are free for people to read and enjoy.
I have seen a number of web comics that will, after a period of time, and if they have become popular enough will create a TPB of their comics and sell them in a print format.
You also need to be tech savvy with Web Comics because you will need a website and a place to host the comic. As well as being able to make the comic in a digital medium; i.e. from scanning that was hand drawn or creating content digitally.
Gaming Books – And I am not talking computer or video game books. I am talking about Pen and Paper RPGs here. I think the key of all writing no matter the format is to get the reader to read and experience what you are writing. And what better place than a sandbox pen and paper rpg?
I have started seeing pen and paper games coming out with all ages in mind. They are no longer the domain of teens and men gathering around a table slaying dragons with their wizards, warriors and elves. The pen and paper market has really opened up to all realms of players. I was at a local gaming con and I saw pen and paper games designed with kids in mind and they were having a blast playing the game.
Flash Fiction – So you aren’t ready to tackle that book or even that novella or maybe even that short story; well I have a format of fiction for you, Flash Fiction. Flash Fiction is very, very short fiction anywhere between 300 – 1000 words. The only catch here is every word is very important in telling the story you are trying to convey. But some people are really skilled at this sort of fiction. It isn’t a skill I have and I am totally in awe for those who can write with so few words. I usually see these stories published in anthologies, blogs and e-zines.
Plays – A play is a play is a play. Some people love to write and tell stories through the use of dialogue and there are a good number of teen oriented plays out there. One doesn’t have to rely on Shakespeare alone. I have seen a number of teen books of plays and monologues out there for the stage. So if your strength is dialogue this might be something you would like to try your hand at.
Audio Dramas – These are so much fun to do; at least for me. I have had a great time producing and writing audio dramas for podcasts. Because not only are you using words to convey your story; you also get to use sound. And sound is very important in these sorts of things. Sounds can take on a life of its own and become a character in its own right; while each of your characters will gain a voice all of their own as well. When I do the audio dramas I release them via a podcast feed. This is something I give away for free; while there are number of places who sell audio dramas.
Audio Dramas aren’t audio books. They normally have full casts and sound effects and not relying on just a single reader. They are plays for the mind’s eye.
Again this can be a tech heavy option if you will be doing all the work yourself. There is the recording and mixing of sounds and voices. There is the getting the content out there (again if you are doing it yourself) with pressing a CD, releasing it in a podcast format, or hosting it online on a website. It can be a time intensive process.
Works of NonFiction
NonFiction – I know that NonFiction isn’t always considered literature, but everyone has their own strengths and weakness in writing. And I think the primary goal of any writer, beyond having their work published, is having what they have written read. And Teens/YA can love reading works of Nonfiction especially if it is a topic they enjoy doing in their real lives from sports to crafts to comic books to video games there are always new NonFiction books coming out all the time. So if you enjoy writing and can’t get over that hump of creative writing; you might want to try some NonFiction writing.
These are just a few different avenues, not all, in which you can go when writing for teens. You always need to find the right avenue for you when writing. Because the more you enjoy and have fun with the writing, the more your readers will enjoy what they are reading.
If you have any questions about any of this stuff here please feel free to contact me. I love talking shop at firstname.lastname@example.org