So instead of list all the reasons or things I love about YA fiction, I'm listing what I don't like. That's a much shorter list. Believe me you'd thank me if you'd seen the other list.
Things I hate to see in my YA fiction:
- Perfect characters – nobody’s perfect, not even your hot guy lead who always knows what to say to make your MC drool all over herself. He’s not perfect and neither is she. Before you submit that story to an agent, you’d better find out more about your character. Make them believable because nobody’s perfect and everybody’ll be able to tell you didn’t flesh out your character(s) enough.
- Unrealistic dialogue. Um, kids don’t always talk in complete sentences. Well, sometimes. But not always. You’ve got to mix it up. Give the reader a taste of intelligent characters, but unless there is a specific reason for them sounding like Harvard Professors (something like an experiment gone wrong- sci-fi story) then stop trying to woo us and let the kids be kids. Oh and keep the slang to a minimum. I have a sixth grader (all his friends are older) and a 10th grader with dozens of friends and nieces and nephews - they don't talk slang 24/7. So your MC shouldn't answer their parents with, "Yo, what up, yo." I'm not even sure I wrote that right. A little goes a long way, but too much just starts to show your age- not your MC's. Plus it's distracting. Maybe give one character the habit of talking slang a lot- not every single one.
- An MC with no choice. Everyone has a choice, if they didn’t where would the tension be. If your MC learns of something he/she has to do don’t make it so that they must do it. Let them decide that they don’t want to do what everyone is expecting of them- it gives the reader something to look forward to - Are they going to change their mind? And of course, this adds tension. This is what the reader wants. It propels the story forward.
Now there are a few other things I don’t like to see in my YA. I have had my mind changed once or twice about what I like and don’t like. Are there any that I missed that you hate? I’m sure there are. Leave a few of your own YA pet peeves in the comments.
Have a great day. Read a book and laugh.