How do I write an action/sci-fi novel aimed for young teenagers.?

by Peter Hill


I'm currently writing a novel about mythical characters set in a modern world with the main character being a fifteen year old kid.
I was hoping to aim this at a teenage (13-18) age range so is there anything I should take into account whilst writing?


You might take a look at this article on The Hero's Journey, a model of story structure that works quite well with your genre, because it mirrors the experience of young adults...

This model can be found at work in Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Star Wars, and many other popular young adult stories.

Of course, I'm not suggesting you be formulaic. Story structure shows you how to create an emotionally compelling plot. But you have to make it come to life with characters and a voice that your audience can relate to. You have to illustrate the structure with new symbols that touch the experience of teenagers today. You have to give them a hero or heroine of their generation that they can relate to and admire.

A few other tips...

Don't let your teen hero be rescued by a parent. He/she must solve his own problem. (This is why so many teen heroes are orphans or semi-orphans, or have parents who are missing, in hospital, or otherwise out of the picture.)

Don't go to lengths to imitate teenage slang in dialogue. Even if you are really up-to-date on it, it will get dated quickly.

Make sure you are looking at the world through the eyes of a teen and not as an adult looking back on what adolescence was like. There's a difference. Teens are not older and wiser and don't relate to that perspective.

Pay attention to any teens in your family--how they look at issues, how they think and feel about things in their lives.

Never talk down, dumb it down, or whitewash stories for teens. Teens hunger to be taken seriously and treated maturely, even if they do like happy endings.

Plot counts in this genre. Keep things moving and surprising. Avoid long exposition. Develop characters and theme as the action unfolds.

Keep it real.

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