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Thread: Where is the line between YA and NA?

  1. #1
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    Question .

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    Last edited by Chrissicollins; 10-06-2013 at 10:03 AM.

  2. #2
    Kind of a big deal CharacterInWhite's Avatar
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    They're characterized more by theme.

    YA is often about finding one's identity, or testing one's identity against other identities. It can include a sexual debut, patronizing teachers/authority figures, and clingy or absent parents.

    NA is characterized more by the acquisition of adult responsibilities. People are generally more comfortable with their identity and are instead growing into the skin of adult life. Probably focuses more on sexual experimentation, challenging your previously trusted authority figures, and clingy or absent parents.

    P.S. Clingy or absent parents kinda never goes away for any character under 30 40 50 with parents.

    Edit: NA should bring up voting, as well, since most NA characters will be legal adults and therefore able to vote.
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    You can't sit with us! missesdash's Avatar
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    Agreed it's more issues than age. If your protagonist is 18 and still living at home and in high school, it's probably YA.

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    Last edited by Chrissicollins; 10-06-2013 at 10:04 AM.

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    You can't sit with us! missesdash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrissicollins View Post
    Thanks for the feedback!

    Okay, so what if my protagonist is 18, lives alone in a trailer park, meets a stranger who (sort of) kidnaps her (politely) and introduces her to life in space, takes part in a race across the universe and helps save a planet from chaos.


    YA or NA?
    That would depend on voice, but it sounds YA to me.

    And really interesting!

    Also, a few of things:

    there isn't much NA outside of contemporary right now, so you may end up niche if you aim for that

    assuming you're going to query it, NA isn't wide enough that you can query "NA agents." You'll probably end up searching adult and YA agents who also take NA. I'm thinking the latter would probably be more willing.

    NA is also new enough that there aren't many "genre" (I know, it's not a genre) conventions or hard rules. I've seen a ton of different definitions of it ranging from "YA erotica" to "college students" to "young people with adult issues"

    The good thing is that because of NA growing into a "thing" you can write the story the way you want and then it will fall into one or the other.

    Just some thoughts.
    Last edited by missesdash; 01-14-2013 at 07:30 AM.

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    Last edited by Chrissicollins; 10-06-2013 at 10:04 AM.

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    Takiran Code Scholar breaking_burgundy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharacterInWhite View Post
    Edit: NA should bring up voting, as well, since most NA characters will be legal adults and therefore able to vote.
    Who would want to read a book about voting? You stand in line, click a few buttons on a screen, and then go home and hope that the Electoral College didn't get in the way of your vote actually counting. (And that the machine wasn't rigged--which is why I always opt to vote on paper.)

    Political campaigning might be a little bit more interesting to write about, though. (For people who aren't me, that is.)

  8. #8
    Takiran Code Scholar breaking_burgundy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by missesdash View Post
    That would depend on voice, but it sounds YA to me.

    And really interesting!

    Also, a few of things:

    there isn't much NA outside of contemporary right now, so you may end up niche if you aim for that

    assuming you're going to query it, NA isn't wide enough that you can query "NA agents." You'll probably end up searching adult and YA agents who also take NA. I'm thinking the latter would probably be more willing.

    NA is also new enough that there aren't many "genre" (I know, it's not a genre) conventions or hard rules. I've seen a ton of different definitions of it ranging from "YA erotica" to "college students" to "young people with adult issues"

    The good thing is that because of NA growing into a "thing" you can write the story the way you want and then it will fall into one or the other.

    Just some thoughts.
    I would disagree. The fact that she's living alone makes it skew for NA, in my opinion. And I don't think the "NA" voice is that different from the "YA" voice.

  9. #9
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    Honestly, I feel like NA is such a new thing that everybody is still kind of feeling it out, and it seems like people are applying the label wherever they think the bigger audience lies. At this point, anyway.

    The "hard line," I think, exists it whether the book is about the teenage experience, or the entering adulthood experience. Which are subtle but notable differences.
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  10. #10
    Kind of a big deal CharacterInWhite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by breaking_burgundy View Post
    Who would want to read a book about voting? You stand in line, click a few buttons on a screen, and then go home and hope that the Electoral College didn't get in the way of your vote actually counting. (And that the machine wasn't rigged--which is why I always opt to vote on paper.)

    Political campaigning might be a little bit more interesting to write about, though. (For people who aren't me, that is.)
    From a person who is upset at the staggering quantity of voter apathy in Canada, I would love to read a book about voting.
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  11. #11
    You can't sit with us! missesdash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by breaking_burgundy View Post
    I would disagree. The fact that she's living alone makes it skew for NA, in my opinion. And I don't think the "NA" voice is that different from the "YA" voice.
    I'd agree if it weren't speculative but there are tons of orphans in YA speculative fiction. Since the bulk, I'm assuming, is going to be her on this trip through space, the fact that she lives alone doesn't really matter.

    If she's living alone because she moved out and got a job, that's obviously different. But the way it's described, she sounds like she's just on her own.

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    Last edited by Chrissicollins; 10-06-2013 at 10:04 AM.

  13. #13
    You can't sit with us! missesdash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrissicollins View Post
    She's living alone because she moved out and got a job.
    Is she still in high school? Or did she graduate?

    You might actually have issues querying it as YA if her lifestyle is adult. Tricky.

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    Last edited by Chrissicollins; 10-06-2013 at 10:04 AM.

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    Kind of a big deal CharacterInWhite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrissicollins View Post
    She graduated. That's why I was wondering if I should say New Adult. Except her lifestyle rapidly changes right at the start (when she goes into space.)
    Going into space is arguably an allegory for starting a new life style.

    It's probably NA.
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    Last edited by Chrissicollins; 10-06-2013 at 10:05 AM.

  17. #17
    You can't sit with us! missesdash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrissicollins View Post
    What if I leave of NA or YA all together and just query it as Science Fiction? Not sure if that would be a preferable option.
    I'd do that, query it as adult. If you get responses saying it sounds YA, try querying it as YA. Honestly you can do both if you get beta readers and still don't know. Some agents take both adult and YA but for those who don't, you'll need to pick one or the other. generally they'll tell you if they think you're querying the wrong market.

  18. #18
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin julie_a_w's Avatar
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    Well, because of where the mc is in her life (graduated, new job, on her own) it does sound NA to me. But, since it is such a new genre, and everything I've read in it has been contemporary, I think that I would start out querying it as adult science fiction. It sounds like a very interesting read! I don't read much science fiction, but this sounds like something I would like.

  19. #19
    slugging through AlwaysJuly's Avatar
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    I think it could go either way. I had bad luck querying a NA urban fantasy (well, there is the possibility my book sucked too, of course ) but I think this could very well fit into YA, which helps.

    Can I ask a spin-off question that doesn't seem worth its own post? If a novel begins in high school and because of issues with her parents, the MC ends up beginning college early and living on her own...still YA? I feel like it's still very much coming-of-age, she just ends up coming of age on her own. I'd like this book to NOT be NA (see above) so I'm debating whether I need to have her transfer high schools/houses instead of going off to college.
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