- Volunteer at a high school.
- People-watch at the mall.
- Ask questions.
- Build relationships.
- Some of my favorite authors: Ellen Hopkins, Sarah Dessen, Laurie Stolarz, Joan Bauer, Mike Lupica, Ann Brashares, Libba Bray, Randy Powell, John Green, Carl Hiaasen, Ann Rinaldi, Sonya Sones, Markus Zusak
- Many teens will be happy to help you.
- Ask them to be honest above all else!
- Nothing turns off a teen reader more quickly than a condescending tone.
- Inhabit your characters. Learn their details and quirks.
- What do your characters love? Hate? Fear? Yearn for? Dream about?
6. If you use slang, use it correctly.
- Same goes for technology references.
- Be sure to consider: what is new and popular today is tomorrow’s “old news.” Do you want to date your material?
7. Grab ’em from the first sentence.
- Have teens read the first page of your manuscript, and then ask them if they would keep reading.
8. Don’t be afraid to be dark!
- You don’t have to hold back. Teens can take what you want to throw at them.
- Many of our adult “classics” such as Catcher in the Rye and To Kill a Mockingbird would be considered YA if published today.
- Teens want to read about characters who are doing things, rather than just having things done to them.
- Reconnect with your teen self.
- Some of my most well-received YA lit has been based off my own persona experiences!