I got a chance to sit in on today's YA panel "Love Looks Different At Thirteen" which was run by YA authors Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Ally Carter, and Rachel Vincent. Each author gave suggestions to aspiring authors and answered questions about their genre from the audience. Here is a peak into today's YA romance action:
"What should aspiring authors know about the genre?"
Ally Carter suggested that you think about the audience of your YA. Depending on if it is a YA for older teens or for pre-teens she says, "The content of your YA will change how the book is marketed and who it is marketed to."
Jennifer Lynn Barnes said, "Some people have natural YA voices like Rachel ... I know I can write a 15 year old girl because I sound like a 15 year old girl."
To which Ally Carter added with a laugh, "and look like a 15 year old girl." (The pair are pictured together below.)
Rachel Vincent focused on honesty with her advice, "Be realistic about your characters swearing."
"How do you build the romance into your YA stories?"
"One of the biggest things that gets me is on some core level deep down you are the same. Someone else is out there who can see that, see who you are. It's always about the emotion ... not the action," responded Jennifer Lynn Barnes.
Ally Carter said, "Adult types of romance are very similar to YA types of romance. Usually it's a very dangerous situation, tense, pressure. The same as in an adult book ... I am a strong independent woman and you are not afraid of me - I like that."
"Even in my paranormals that they do go to school in are full of adventure and adverting a messy, sticky, disaster. Okay we've found a deep romantic connection, but [the challenge is] now can we sustain it?" answered Rachel Vincent.
"What do you love about writing young adults in love?"
Ally Carter responded first, "I like the freefall of a teen falling in love ... teens are the purest version of people."
Jennifer Lynn Barnes answered, "If you're falling in love for the first time, well, I had all of these thoughts about 'what I would be like in love' but then I wasn't - and for the first time you are discovering that" in YA romances.
"When you are in high school and you are falling in love (or think you are) everything stops. The things you go through, even through it's four short years, are so existing," finished Rachel Vincent.
This is just some of how "Love Looks Different At Thirteen"!
-Whitney Sullivan, Assistant Web Editor