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.

Click here to post comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Questions About Novel Writing.

search this site the web
search engine by freefind

Celebrating our 2nd year as one of the...

 Step-by-Step Novel Planning Workbook

NEW! Make Money Writing Nonfiction Articles

"I've read more than fifty books on writing, writing novels, etc., but your website has the most useful and practical guidance. Now that I understand how a novel is structured, I will rewrite mine, confident that it will be a more interesting novel." - Lloyd Edwards

"Thanks to your "Create a Plot Outline in 8 Easy Steps," I was able to take a story that I simply just fooled around with and went willy nilly all over, into a clearly defined, intriguing battle where two characters fight to keep their relationship intact, and try to find a balance in control of themselves and their lives. Thanks to you, I'm not ashamed of the poor organization of my writing." - Nommanic Ragus

"I am so glad I found your site. It has helped me in so many ways, and has given me more confidence about myself and my work. Thank you for making this valuable resource, for me and my fellow writers. Perhaps you'll hear about me someday...I'll owe it to you." - Ruth, Milton, U.S.A.

"I never knew what to do with all the characters in my head, but since discovering Dramatica I am writing again in my spare time. Thank you for making this available. Yes, it is a bit complex, and it does take time, but I love it because it works." - Colin Shoeman

"I came across your website by chance. It is a plethora of knowledge, written in a simplistic way to help aspiring writers. I truly appreciate all of the information you have provided to help me successfully (relative term) write my novel. Thank you very much!" - Leo T. Rollins

"I can honestly say that this is the first website that is really helpful. You manage to answer complex questions in relatively short articles and with really intelligent answers. Thank you for taking the time to write these articles and sharing them so generously." - Chrystelle Nash

"...had no idea that a simple click would give me such a wealth of valuable information. The site not only offered extremely clear and helpful instructions but was a very enjoyable read as well. The education from your wonderful site has made me a better writer and your words have inspired me to get back to work on my novel. I wish to give you a heartfelt thanks for How to Write a Book Now, sir." -- Mike Chiero