Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Why I Write For Young Adults

My son is graduating from high school next week. Yes, this freaks me out/makes me feel old. I have no idea where time has gone. (Kids, every adult you know will say this to you at some point, and today it’s my turn—time goes so, so, way too fast.) This graduation is a turning point for my whole family.

After this, I will have one-fewer child in pre-college schools. It’s entirely possible I’ll have one-fewer person living in my house, going on family trips, doing, well, other family things.

I remember being at this point myself not long ago. (Seriously, it was only like last year!) There was such a sense of excitement/trepidation/terror/happiness/fear/anxiety/expectation involved with growing up and being a real-life adult. I could make my own decisions and do my own thing and go my own way.

For me, turning eighteen was the biggest turning point in life. And now, years and years later, it remains that place where I catapulted into an entirely new existence.

The other day, I realized that the majority of characters in my books are right on this same cusp. They are seventeen/eighteen, standing on the ledge, ready to dive into that place from where they can never, ever come back.

It is the place where one big important thing ends, and something new and exciting and HUGE begins. It’s the day when everything changes, and the day life will never be the same.

This is where our real stories begin. And I think that’s why I write for young adults.

What time of life stands out most in your mind? Do you tend to write about those experiences too?


LM Preston said...

Gosh, my son graduations today :-D and I'm freaking out. But lets see I love writing about my teen years simply because that was the time where it was hardest for me to be the bravest. Also when I discovered the depth of myself.

Carolyn V said...

My son is graduating too. It's a huge change for our little family (a good one, but still...a change). And just like you, most of my main characters are seventeen. Funny. ;)

L.T. Elliot said...

I don't know that I've ever taken this deep of a view to my character ages before. But I'll have to examine that and see why I choose what I do.

Still, I'm totally behind you on this launching into adult being pivotal moments. And the fact that it feels like only YESTERDAY! What...? I saw this article yesterday that made that time jump even worse. It's at

Blow your mind.