YA Romance – Niche Within a Genre

Guest Post by L.L. Muir

Blog Pic OrlandoRomance is the most popular genre and is growing exponentially in YA audiences.

What must one be aware of when writing YA romance? I know there are a lot of writers who are moving into New Adult (college age) romance so they can have more sexually explicit material. I think if people are looking to appeal to the widest YA audience, they need to be careful. You want your readers to be able to carry your books around like their latest obsession, which will grow your audience, instead of hiding it in a backpack where new readers will never see it. I think that’s where BEAUTIFUL CREATURES got it right. Those books were show-off-gorgeous and a girl could recommend it to anyone and everyone, even her own mother. Now they have a huge adult readership as well. Of course it’s a fantastic read. Stunning, actually. Sometimes the writing’s so lovely I had to pause to absorb it all. That series was the impetus that pushed me to write SOMEWHERE OVER THE FREAKING RAINBOW.

How far do/can you delve into the romance? By definition, it has to be 51% about the FREAKING - Boy Cover Smallrelationship or it’s not technically a romance. Besides, young people’s lives revolve around who they like or what to wear to impress, or who they might be able to cling to so they don’t end up walking into the future alone. Alone is a horrible word. If you want to get a young reader to get emotionally involved with your characters, you have to write about the romance as much as you can without losing the plot.

What makes it work or not work? You know, I often go to the local bookstore and lurk in the YA section. When I see a few young people browsing, I tell them I’m a writer and I’m interested in what they would like to see more of in their YA romances. EVERY girl will tell you she wants to see more kissing. When I was a teenager, my life revolved around the next kiss. What can I say? So I will add kissing whenever it’s believable. My characters never complain.

What should a writer do or avoid? Don’t dumb it down. Give your readers a lot of credit. You don’t have to spell everything out for them. Chances are, they’re just as clever as you are. If you write for you, you’ll be writing for them.

What is it about the character, setting, writing style, tropes, etc that readers expect? Honesty, plain and simple. You have to write straight from your hip, and your characters have to be believable. You really cannot bullshit these people and earn their love. Your paranormal worlds have to be so well constructed that they WANT to believe it’s all true. They want to suspend their disbelief and dive in. If they see wires and last minute miracles to wrap up your plots and save your hero’s ass, they’ll never forgive you. It’s just like adult romance. Let your heroes do something heroic. Let your heroines get themselves out of trouble. Give your readers a character whose skin they’d like to wear, if only for a few hours.


L.L. Muir lives in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains and writes fiction between bowls of cereal.   You can find out more about L.L. Muir here:   http://llmuir.weebly.com/

Somewhere Over the Freaking Rainbow

Jamison is crushing on the new girl next door. Bad news-the neighbors are Somerled cult-members killing off their own. Worse news-she’s next in line for sacrifice. Jamison will have to rise above the coward he thinks he is to get to the bottom of it all.

Something is terribly wrong with Skye. She’s experiencing emotions like the mortal teenager she’s pretending to be. When she finally asks the right questions, she finds answers that will rock the Somerled world…

…and none of her options include the boy who has stolen the heart she was never meant to have.

3 responses on “YA Romance – Niche Within a Genre

  1. clancy

    Thanks, LL. I want more kissing… In my books, in my movies, in my life 🙂
    “Freaking” is a really good book and I’m looking forward to the sequel, hopefully with more kissing.
    I’ll be chatting about adult romance tomorrow where there is lots of kissing and ‘stuff’.
    I think YA Romance is a challenging genre to write because there are so many lines you want to edge near but not cross. Probably why I don’t write it – I have so little restraint 🙂
    But. you do a great job. Thanks for pointing out some key elements of this popular genre.

  2. Ace Jordyn

    I love reading YA whether it be romance, fantasy or other genres like mystery. Why? because the good YA authors are sensitive about their treatment of character. The characters and what concerns them are thought through and to my mind, some of the best character studies can be found in YA writing.

    YA is about longing, desire, changing the world (internal or external), and sometimes it’s just about finding a way to survive emotionally or physically. These are dreams we all continue to have, in one form or another and that’s why I think so many adults read YA. And those first kisses, or that moment when you first realize someone else digs you – who can forget, or wants to forget that?

    Thanks for a great post!

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