View Full Version : a YA novel?????

David Erlewine
01-05-2009, 11:39 PM
Hello all, I've been on this board for years (as "writingfornothing" and now under my, ahem, real name). :) I'm wrapping up the first draft of my novel. It started as a true YA about a stuttering teen with an "abusive" father (not in traditional sense...just trying to cure his son of the stutter). However, I began sprinkling in short chapters from the father's POV (a stutterer himself but fairly covert and controlled).

The novel is now in the format of alternating chapters, from son's pov and father's pov, respectively. The novel is about 60,000 words and I expect to add 20,000 - 25,000 words during edits (I was very worried about not writing the first draft and refused to keep circling back...so I expect to flesh out some aspects in later drafts).

I'm confused though about how to market this down the road to agents. I think the boy's chapters are clearly YA and in line with many I've read (he's jaded but resolute, he deals a lot of garbage that stutterers deal with in high school and also his rough father, etc.). Now, the chapters from father's POV are based on some of my decent publications about fathers who really mean well towards their children but sometimes act like monsters (Pedestal Magazine, elimae, SmokeLong, etc). These chapters feel more like what some would dub "literary" than classic YA.

Is this a problem for agents trying to categorize the book? Should I be writing two books?

Thank you for ANY insight you fine writers can offer. David

01-06-2009, 01:30 AM
Typically, you don't see adult POVs in YA novels, but there are exceptions. The Thief Lord has an adult POV in it. Hoot also does. The Westing Game is mostly adult POVs. It'll probably depend on the book and those father chapters. If they require adult life experience to relate to or understand, then it probably isn't YA. If it's something kids can relate to and understand you should be fine.

David Erlewine
01-06-2009, 03:53 AM
Outstanding...Danthia! I think the father chapters will be accessible enough. Great point and I really appreciate your prescient advice.

CONGRATULATIONS on Book One of the Healing Wars Trilogy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is huge and so exciting!!!!!


The Kidd
01-06-2009, 06:17 AM
It really depends on the context of what the 'father' chapters have. I guess it could still be concidered YA as long as the father is thinking back on his child-hood for the most part. Instead of whole chapters I have perhaps a page and a half where the story switches to the MC's father's point of view because I found it nessasary. If you think switching back and forth is useful, then go for it unless you absolutely had your heart set on your story being YA.

David Erlewine
01-06-2009, 12:18 PM
Thank you! Much appreciate you taking the time to weigh in.

01-06-2009, 07:48 PM
I think I'd make a judgement when its finished and then edit it accordingly. It is common to have adult novels with youthful POVs though they tend to be written differently from YA. Equally adult viewpoints are not uncommon in YA.
You may find yourself drawn to one voice more than the other which is why I'd wait and see what you've got by the time you get to the end. Books do not always go according to plan.

01-06-2009, 10:09 PM
Hi David,
I wrote a YA novel in two POV's-- those of a mother and daughter. The majority was in the teen's POV, with shorter sections from the mother's POV interwoven. People who read my manuscript had different opinions-- some liked it, some (including my editor, unfortunately) felt it didn't quite work-- that it felt like two different stories and that neither was developed fully. I put it aside for awhile to get some perspective but I think my editor, as usual, is right-- so I am rewriting it in the daughter's POV only. I figure the work I've done on the mother will filter through and help me develop her character, even though much of her story will no longer be explicitly included. So... I'm not sure what to suggest. I think it can work, though it didn't for me. Anne Cassidy's YA book, Forget Me Not, is in two POV's (mother and daughter)-- I haven't come across many others though.

Good luck with your book. Like Timewaster said, I think it makes sense to write it how you want to and then edit later...

01-06-2009, 11:41 PM
Julie Bertagna's The Opposite of Chocolate has sections from adult characters' viewpoints, though most of it is from the POV of two teenage characters.

While it's not strictly YA (though was certainly read by teens - myself included at the time - and I'm told is now studied in school), Judith Guest's Ordinary People is in two POVs - father and son.

David Erlewine
01-08-2009, 01:02 AM
Great comments all!!!!!! Thank you so so much.