Cathy McSporran visited the club this week and she provided an entertaining and inspirational workshop on the background to young adult literature.
Many of the group felt it was a topic they would have difficulty tackling, not knowing anyone between the ages of 13-16 years. However Cathy made it clear that it was the writing that was important. Making the main character the same age as the reader or a little older was the key. This encourages the reader to identify more closely with the story.
Writing for this age group should not be an exercise in protecting the reader from disturbing aspects which can happen in society; see stories like Harry Potter or War Horse. This age group is well aware and would feel patronised if the story were watered down in any way.
Readers of youth literature expect a well formulated and challenging novel, so don’t be afraid to make the story “dark, serious or downright disturbing.”
We were left with a challenge of writing a story on ‘Bullying’ and if we were to complete this Cathy would be interested in reading it.
Contact her online if you wish to send her your stories. Her email address and website are on the hand-out sheet.