I did it with poetry.
I'm totally serious.
Sometimes, the best way to find a YA voice is to reconnect with your own teen voice. I was pretty lucky in that regard, because I kept journals religiously throughout my teen years. And not just any old journals, either. Poetry journals.
What I mean is, instead of keeping notebooks of prose, I boiled down my days into snippets of poetry. Many of the entries don't have titles--instead, they're dated.
The best part of it is that I didn't preserve the daily events of my teen years. I didn't preserve my external life. I preserved my internal life. My emotional life.
And that was instrumental in connecting with my teen voice.
One of the best things you can do to find an authentic young voice is find a way to connect with the you that you were back then. Old writings are obviously a gold mine, but maybe you also have videos. Songs you loved. Yearbooks. It's all good stuff.
SPEAKING OF POETRY...
I've continued to write poems since my teen years. A few of my younger poems made their way into my first published YA, A BLUE SO DARK. But recently, I released my very first full poetry collection. These are in no way head-scratchers...these are feel-it-in-the-gut love poems. They're as easy to get into and understand as song lyrics. And they're definitely something that would appeal to YA readers, as well:
Award-winning author Holly Schindler has channeled her love of lyrical writing, metaphors, and wordplay into a unique collection of love poems that range from joyful first encounters to heart-wrenching loss. As a young music teacher, Schindler often dabbled in songwriting, and her poetic turns of phrases have been sprinkled throughout her work from the beginning. Tangles is the first of what she hopes will be many book-length journeys into the expressive, melodic world of poetry.