Branching Out Beyond YA by Dean Gloster


            For a long time, I wrote only young adult (YA) novels. My debut, Dessert First, was a contemporary realistic YA, and the novel I’m revising now, Just Deal, is a YA contemporary fantasy.

Life is short. Enjoy Dessert First

            But it takes me so long to write and revise those YA novels, especially if I get well into a project in the meantime, before finding out it isn’t working. (As has happened with a couple of  manuscripts between those two novels.) 

In this week’s “Clearest Picture Ever” of Mars, for example, it’s clear:

Mars looks disappointed in me because I don’t write faster. 

            I even went through an entire MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts in “Writing for Children and Young Adults” without ever branching out from the young adult part: Every one of the five semesters, my workshop piece was a new YA novel opening or a YA short story, and every creative manuscript I worked on with my many advisors was YA. 

             Then came this month. I’m working on a science fiction story involving only adults with a friend of mine I used to do standup comedy with. And—four years after graduating with that MFA—I went back for a post-graduate semester. So far, I’m writing picture book manuscripts—my first, ever--and a new, spooky middle grade. (Again, my first ever.)

            I get to work with the incomparable Martha Brockenbrough there, who writes everything and does it brilliantly—including her fierce, feminist, fairy-tale-infused YA fantasy Into the Bloodred Woods out on November 2. 

I’m excited about my latest chapter, too—writing something new. It feels like a stretch for me, but stretching is good. 

    This month we're writing about switching up mediums or genres.

Dean Gloster is a former stand-up comedian and a former law clerk at the U.S. Supreme Court. His debut YA novel DESSERT FIRST is out from Merit Press/Simon Pulse. School Library Journal called it “a sweet, sorrowful, and simply divine debut novel that teens will be sinking their teeth into. This wonderful story…will be a hit with fans of John Green's The Fault in Our Stars and Jesse Andrews's Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.” His current novel, JUST DEAL, is about two funny brothers who have to team up with their friend Claire to save the world. It has the usual Dean Gloster novel ingredients: Death, humor, the question of whether it’s possible to save someone, a love interest to root for, dysfunctional parenting, and an off-kilter sensibility, including a mergers and acquisitions lawyer dad who is missing 54 percent of his soul. 


  1. Sounds challenging, but energizing. Best of luck.

  2. That's so awesome that you're branching out. Writing in multiple genres makes work so much richer.

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