Deborah Halverson is the author of Writing New Adult Fiction, a fantastic how-to novel for authors seeking advice on how to pen fiction in the category. Over a year ago, Deborah interviewed me, along with my co-members at NA Alley (I was still a contributor at the time), about New Adult fiction. I received a copy of the novel a couple of months ago, and I can honestly tell you that it's worth the read. Deborah did a great job organizing the guidelines and advice for writing New Adult fiction. Be sure to check out the print giveaway of Writing New Adult Fiction at the bottom of this post.
Here is Deborah's guest post for Writing Belle:
Here is Deborah's guest post for Writing Belle:
GUEST POST: WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF NEW ADULT FICTION?
by Deborah Halverson
Five years ago, New Adult fiction wasn’t on anyone’s radar—its writers were creating in a vacuum, almost defiantly writing the stories they wanted but which traditional publishers claimed had no audience and no bookstore shelves. Few of those writers were aware that fellow scribes were also penning stories about this phase of life; no one even had a name for this literature. Two years ago, the category broke onto the publishing scene with books like Beautiful Disaster and Wait for You finding an audience that not only existed but which proved to be substantial. It’s been such a short time, yet already our eyes are looking to NA’s future. The category has been defined and has attracted huge numbers of authors, readers, and publishing professionals, all of whom seem to be feeling a collective itch to take the next step. But what will that next step be?
On the business side, I think the next step is a settling-in step. The sense of free for all that swirled in the year or two after NA’s volcanic emergence in 2012 seems to be settling into a marketplace in which self-publishing and traditional publishing agree to share the space, and readers support both models. The audience puts the stories first, their driving interest being great NA reads rather than casting a vote in a self-publishing vs traditional publishing debate. Perhaps because NA emerged without publisher intervention, the either/or arguments that seethe in other publishing categories don’t roil the NA pot. I believe that moving forward, writers who want a publishing partnership will work with traditional houses—which help curate NA offerings for those readers who do desire curation—but self-publishing will always dominate. The entrepreneurship of the writers who launched the category seems to be a part of its DNA now.
On the writing side, the future of NA lies in its successful expansion of the stories and the storytelling. To stagnate is to get left behind, to fade into irrelevance. That doesn’t jive with the entrepreneurial mindset of the NA fiction culture. NA writers have from the beginning pushed beyond the status quo, so it makes sense that they are talking so loudly about their need and their readers’ requests for expanded fare. NA fans love their contemporary realistic fiction, but they are increasingly vocal about wanting to see new adults struggling in circumstances beyond the contemporary college scene, or seeing stories that come at that college scene from a fresh angle that’ll make the book stand out in the now crowded NA marketplace. And as much as they love their romance, many NA writers and readers fear a narrow vision of new adulthood stories that makes sex and romance the defining element of the category. Romance is a vital aspect of human lives from puberty onward, and the new adult phase is generally our first unfettered opportunity to deeply explore it and define how we each fit into a relationship. It’s vital, but it’s not everything. New adults are also exploring their world views and expanding the identity establishment they began as teens and making and reassessing plans for their futures. As we move into NA’s future, then, I expect we’ll see a wider range of storylines, settings, and genres that explore every aspect of the new adult experience, and we’ll expand the NA audience as a result.
And because the heart of NA lit—the heart of any literary “category”—is storytelling, expansion also means expanding our writer’s toolboxes so that we can give our readers the most satisfying readingexperience possible. It’s easy to lose sight of the nuts and bolts of storytelling as we talk about “the category” and “the marketplace” and “the packaging” and “the players” and “our writing careers.” But before all else we are storytellers, and we can’t neglect sharpening our pencils in our efforts to have packaged and published books to sell in a thriving marketplace. NA draws a lot of debut and newer writers alongside its veterans; all of them increase their likelihood of converting curious readers into loyal fans when they work to hone their craft. In my book Writing New Adult Fiction I offer strategies and techniques for writing stories that reflect the NA mindset and experience, and I give many examples that show those techniques in play, but I’m not the be all, end all. There are many great writing craft books out there for general fiction and other categories. Add some to your NA reading stack (which had better be high, because reading NA helps you know what others are doing and improves your sense of the marketplace). Attend writers conferences or read craft articles online—there are oodles out there. Active expansion of your craft can only make your books better, and who wouldn’t want that?
NA has come a long way in a few short years. Now it’s time to expand and enrich its exploration into the new adult experience. What steps will you take to contribute to NA’s thriving future—and to your own as an NA fiction writer?
Deborah is giving away a PRINT COPY OF WRITING NEW ADULT FICTION. To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below!!! Good luck, and thanks for stopping by!