How do I love writing teen fiction? Let me count the ways! (Brenda Hiatt)

 I’ve talked before in this space about the burnout I suffered several years back, after traditionally publishing over a dozen historical romance novels - and how pivoting to writing YA brought me back from the creative abyss. For that, I’ll always love and be hugely grateful to young adult fiction. YA fiction is what revived me, first as a reader then, months later, as a writer.  

This month’s topic forced me to really think about why I love teen fiction - especially writing teen fiction - so much. One biggie, I realize, is the intensity of emotion. No one feels emotions, all the emotions, more deeply than a teenager. Do you remember? I do, though when I first started, I had to dig into my memory until it came more naturally. That was absolutely necessary for writing my teen characters believably. Now, I find it hugely fun to write emotion with such abandon, something I really couldn’t do (realistically) when writing adult fiction. As part of that “digging,” I ended up putting more of myself into Marsha/M than any other character I’ve ever written. Is it any wonder I love my Starstruck books—and that character—so much?

Something else I love about teen fiction is the newness of everything. YA characters get to experience things, lots of things, for the Very First Time, which lets us relive those early epiphanies and revelations. And characters, like real people, typically undergo significant personal growth during their teens. It’s during those years that they/we start becoming fully-formed people, with strengths, weaknesses and personality traits that will likely last a lifetime. Exciting stuff! 


Finally, I love the freedom of writing young adult fiction, which seems far freer of genre restrictions than just about any other genre I can think of. Teen fiction encompasses everything from romance to mystery to thriller to paranormal to metaphysical to horror…and everything in between. Genre mashups are common here, which often results in enormously enjoyable stories!


What do YOU love about YA books? Tell me in the comments!

Brenda Hiatt is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the award-winning Starstruck series. With the recent release of 
Unraveling the Stars, there are now ten books in the series - eight full-length novels and two novellas. Plus a couple of short stories that are free to newsletter subscribers! 


  1. That is really so true about YA feeling free of genre restrictions.

  2. If you can remember how much of EVERYTHING was before you and how little was in your experience backpack, you're on the road to good YA fiction.


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