Turning YA

For two years now, I have been participating in NaNoWriMo. For those of you who do not know, November is National Novel Writing Month, hence the name NaNoWriMo. The goal for the month of November is to write 50,000 words, which is generally accepted to be the length of a novel. However, if you dig a little further, that is just the word count that makes a novella too long to be a novella anymore, so then it becomes a novel. For the purposes of publishing though, 50,000 words is too damn short to be much of anything other than a book for 8th graders, which is great, if that’s what you want to write.

It’s not what I want to write.

After completion of NaNoWriMo 2013, I spent the next 6 months finishing the story, getting it nearly finished at about 75,000 words, which is still about 20,000 words shorter than I’d like. Then I put it away.

Pondering on the successes of authors I’d like to emulate (Roth, Collins, Clare, Rowling), it dawned on me that they all have one thing in common: they were writing for young adults. Then it hit me! I should make my story YA!

I am now in the process of removing all of the adult themes, situations, and words. I’ve changed my main character to a single thirty something mother of one, to a virginal 18 year old fresh out of high school. It’s surprising how well it works! I’ve killed my darlings, as they say, but at least some version of me gets to wear bedazzled jeans with a cell phone in the back pocket.