Like a lot of writers, I remember thinking “I should write a young adult novel. They’re easier to sell.” It didn’t hurt that I had one started, a good portion of it sitting squarely in my pocket. That good portion had been sitting on the shelf for years. For NaNoWriMo a few years ago I dusted it off and wrote 50,000 new words for the story, and I liked it well enough to go ahead and start writing the sequel.
I’ve run into a few roadblocks along the way. First of all, the opening chapters were okay when I wrote them eight years ago. Unfortunately, they don’t really match the cadence and style of the later chapters. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; I like to think my writing’s improved over the past eight years. It’s problematical when I try to retrofit the original words with the newer ones, though.
Second, I’ve written better books since then. Books for adults. In fact, all my other stories have been written for adults.
Third, my enthusiasm for the YA novel is dropping meteorically. I’m much more excited about my latest work in progress (I should be) and exploring the adult emotions for the main characters.
What does this tell me? Right now, trying to brand myself as an author of works for young adults is the wrong thing to do. I have mixed feelings about this: I met so many of my favorite writer friends in the YA community. It’s a lovely and wonderful place to hang out. On Twitter, YA is a friendly and welcoming place, but if my heart’s not in those characters, then I suspect it’s not really where I belong.
I’m still a member of SCBWI. I’m not going to throw away my YA novel, because parts of it are pretty good. But for now, it’s on the shelf. Adult characters, you’ve got my focus.
Has this happened to any of you? Knowing myself, my writing areas of interest, my passions–it’s a good thing. I regret nothing.