Purple Prose + YA

Teen Logic Verses Adult Logic

I recently entered my query for Lost in a Heartbeat (YA thriller or romantic suspense—still trying to figure which one it is) in the Adventures of Children’s Publishing query contest. Our queries (which could be only 175 words max) would be assigned a mentor, and we would crit five other entries. We would then have a chance to fix them up for the final round—the judging.

During WriteOnCon, I received some great feedback on my query. I entered this contest to see if there were some things that needed further tweaking. Okay, the prize was pretty cool, too.

To my surprise, it was attacked. Some critters told me that my main character’s behavior wasn’t logical, and that I wasn’t setting a good example for other teenage girls in who are in a similar situation.

Three problems with their comments:

1. Not every survivor of rape reports it. Not every teen age girl who is raped tells her parents and/or the police.

2. If I did what the critters wanted me to do, then there would be no story, no consequence. And there’re definitely consequences. I just can’t tell what they are in the query because it’s a query not a one page synopsis.

3. These critters were using ADULT logic not TEEN logic.

During WriteOnCon, nineteen-year-old author, Kody Keplinger (her book THE DUFF was released yesterday—I can’t wait to read it!!!), talked about writing authentic teen novels. Check out the link for the full article, but here’s the main point:





Scary question for some, I know. But that’s what you have to ask yourself when writing YA fiction. You have to think like a teenager when you write.

Not like a parent – even if you are one.

Not like a teacher – even if you are one.

Not like a big sister or brother or aunt or uncle worrying about the lessons you are teaching today’s youth and what not.

No, you have to think like a teenager. Plain and simple.

According to Inside The Teenage Brain by Sheryl Feinstein (I’ll be discussing this book in a future post), teenagers and adults rely on different parts of the brain. "Teen brains are ruled by emotion and adult brains by logic".

So for you YA writers out there, my question to you is (and you don’t have to answer here): are your teenage characters using adult logic or teen logic?

And my question to everyone, what are your query woes? Do you have any?

(note: since my query is now 217 words--thanks to all the suggested changes--I am no longer eligible for the contest. But that's okay. Hopefully I now have a kick-ass query. *grins*)

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Teen Logic Verses Adult Logic + YA