03 May 2007

Why do Young Adult authors write for children?

Came across this article today:

http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/books/2007/04/younger_readers.html

The following comment set me thinking, ‘If you ask most dedicated Young Adult (YA) authors why they write for teenagers, they're likely to tell you it's because they continue to think like adolescents.’ Is this why I write for the children? To some extent is it, but it’s not the whole story.

I write to entertain, myself and others, and teenage characters have a much greater capacity for fun than their adult counterparts. With all the responsibilities that come with adult-hood fun just seems to fall off the radar. Adult books, even if they are have child protagonists, are meant to look at the struggles of life, love, relationships, looking back on the effects of growing up. etc. They are expected to be serious, weighty or follow pre-set formula of a genre. By writing about teenage characters, for a teenage audience, I can escape from all those constraints and just write cross-genre entertaining novels that are fun.

There is another aspect to this, of course, do I have the maturity and ability to write about adult issues? The answer is yes. But why should I? I don’t, at the moment, have the desire to write adult material. I prefer to write about the adventures and heroes that fill my mind, and they are best expressed in the form of teenage protagonists.

J.K.Rowling, of course, has changed the rules with Harry Potter – now the teenagers grow up and face all the angst and issues that Enid Blyton avoided. Can anyone write a series about child characters without them growing up – I suspect not.

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