My Experience on Writing Young Adult

First of. I’m not a young adult writer.

I’ve been, writing for years and I started with thriller, a couple of romances before deciding to a full pack high fantasy novels.

I’m high fantasy writer and an overwriter.


But this June I jumped into writing young adult for no reason.

Why? I was searching for a local writing competition in the net.

I will like to join international competitions. Writer’s Digest. But when I went on and searched it they asked for many things. First of all. Credit card.

So, I move into local writing.

I saw young adult. There’s nothing else. I’ve seen Palanca. But I’m far from the deadline. I’m left with Young adult.

This is not my first to submit in a competition. I think, I have two before. One for a short story and another for a speculative fiction. Both I did not receive any email whether I win. So, I didn’t qualified. I personally think, writers should be joining a lot of writing competitions and two is small if you’re writing every day.

Deadline is somewhere around July. I have an experience writing a novel of 100k words in one month, so this young adult thing is a small thing. They’re only asking 40-50k words. I can do two. And I did two.

Why did i join? I want the money. The money I will be using for it is very necessary. I’m going to use it to spend for an editor for my higher ambition in my writing. I want to win it. I’m putting intense full immersion as of the moment.

I’m trying to get into dating and I’m emailing someone else for three weeks now. I have to drop her to focus on this thing. I want the price money. Passion is more important than women rightn now.  Yeah, I know I have needs. But I’m practicing celibacy.

Anyway. My take and the difference so far?

I spend little amount in world building. When I write in high fantasy there’re a lot that goes into it. I invented the world’s currency. I do math. The ecology. The land. Their beliefs and their tradition.

Young adult? I dropped every world building related.

The publisher who announced this competition is requiring lessons. I think, it’s more about religious stuff. They’re specific in moral lessons so I chunk my novels with that.

Some downfalls?

When I write high fantasy novels or anything that’s only me and no requirements. I’m in a freezone. I write and write without limitations.

When I write this young adults novels, I have to be aware a little bit. My high fantasy is murder and sex. I fell several times from it, beat myself bad for writing the scene, deleted it then move on.

I have to litterally put a warning in my computer for the age range they were looking for.



You can just imagine the efforts of toning down the novel. I also change my approach in words. There’s a lot of show versus tell debate I’ve done.

For instance, in a high fantasy I will describe frustration with the characters pounding the floor with the sole of her foot, scratching her clavicle, she pursed her lips and glares.

I reminded myself of the language and the audience. I’ve never stop myself and thought of what I’m writing, especially in a first draft but I did here.

Watch the words. So instead of describing frustration in two sentences, I wrote frustration. One word. Simple yet effective. If you’re a seasoned writer you know it’s telly. And I don’t have a problem with that. I only need 40k words to tell the story!

I finished it already and I think I’m short in the second one while overwrite in the first one.

I haven’t count it. MS Word malfunction again. Really. It’s starting to annoy me.


It’s really frustrating and I almost cry out of it. I just want to put in the work. I’m attending, persisting and working hard and this freaking Word will not function.

I stop writing and complain that day. Yeah. I complain too.

But I get into writing and used WordPad instead. It will not inform me of word count but that’s okay and I think my resolve is being challenge. Really and seriously. Writing is telling me if I’m serious with him.

And I tackle him to the ground. Pin him there. I’m writing.

I’m not really aware of it until I’m writing this article. Obstacles are supposed to come. Think about this as the main character of your novel. He has to be stop by villains or nature and nature has to give up because main character will not melt.

And that’s what I did here. It only takes several minutes to adjsut but after some time I get into it.

I’ll probably use MS Word online. Haven’t tried it but will go there if I don’t find a fast solution for this.

Major take away for me?

High fantasy: Heroes journey, world building, complicated powers, threading multiple POVs.


Young adult: Love triangle, fan club, female’s mood swing and tampons. Female saying to other female she’s a whore and a slut. Okay. I’m joking. Hey, I’m analyzing what they produced. But I read two young adult novels to write a young adult. I asked my sister her recommendation and have to survive Falling into Place, and Eleanor and Park. They’re not that bad. It’s a refresher. I’m heavy with R.Scott Bakker, Mark Lawrence and Patrick Rothfuss for the past months. So again, let me do it right and tell you my observations.

Young Adult: Peer pressure, family problems. Family problems is top of the list. I don’t know what else but it apepared in both novels.

Young adult: Peer pressure and family problems. If you’re a teenager, I don’t think you will have a problem. Go and write your autobiography right away. It’s what the modern day young adult faces. That’s the central theme and I base my story on that. I almost write circumcision because that’s the culture here in my country, Philippines. Boys getting circumcised but I realized I wrote something about circumcision with adults as main characters. So, I’m done with that. Again, peer pressure and family problems, hormonal changes complain. You can never go wrong with that.

Another major take away. Regardless of the genre the universal law remained the same. Develop the chacter. Transfer the character. Progress the story. The change doesn’t have to be too dramatic. A realization that someone cheated is enough. She might make another mistake but the realization is enough. It’s the same with other novels.

So will I write another Y.A? I will say now that I might not. I’m used to high fantasy and as I mentioned before I adjust my approach in Y.A. It’s the same thing with writing other genre. The elements are the same. The adjustment is just small. If you’ve been writing a lot, you will know how to produce. My focus is really the high fantasy series. My magnum opus. After this and the other novel. (Working three novels this month actually.) I’ll go back to my high fantasy series.


Writing Journeys. <You don’t have to continue reading. This section is personally mine. You know, because I’m sentimental…or…>

Since this will be writen in the Writing Journeys or Coffee Journeys depending on my mood to change the title category in my website, I better write what went on today’s writing journey.

First of, congratulations to me. I’ve been writing consistent for five hours the past days. I set myself for that time length of writing since I jumped writing Y.A.

Today is Sunday. And I got an ample of sleeps compared to my usual intense writing session. I got eight! I woke up twelve in the afternoon already. My usual wake time.

I went to Dunkin Donuts. But the Dunkin Donuts I’ve been with is different from my usual one.

This Dunkin Donuts is when I still can’t afford a laptop. When I write my novels in notebooks and as I sat there, I was reminded of my journey in writing novels. I’ve grown in this passion. I’ve evolved.

After Dunkin, I went to Wendy’s.

Then now at Bo’s Coffee. The moment I went in here hours ago I knew something was wrong. The playlist is different.

I want to complain as one of their abusive customer. I was expecting to hear the music when I got in here. It has a good vibe and uplifts me. But they replaced it! Grrr.

Another thing that’s different today? I ordered a sandwich. It’s freaking expensive and I don’t know why I ordered. I’m okay with being hungry and just coffee for more than ten hours. But I ordered today.

Now, my order arrives. There’s ham, egg and cheese.

I think there’s something to do with the people around here. The guy beside me order a pasta. On another side of me they ordered a sandwich. The can smell it. So, I ordered. At least now, I can say I’m not an abusive customer. Besides, I’m not using their wife.

Already passed the eleven hours mark.

It’s 3:20 am.

It’s Sunday. And I like that there’s people around. There are other people hustling. I’ll not be force to leave with other people’s presence.

I’ll probably be stuck for a couple more hours writing.


Victorianne Castle


Date: 06/12/17