The YA Conundrum

I have a few questions for the Peanut Gallery if you’d all like to chime in.

There is the possibility my first SF novel will be a YA novel. Reworking one of the shorts gave me an idea how to start out with all four of the main characters I’m creating, and YA is the best way to tell their story. The question is, “Do I have to stay in the YA vein?”

Or to put it in terms of a YA series most of us have gotten behind already, could you handle Harry Potter getting all James Bond on dark wizards? Or the characters from The Hunger Games? (I’ll skip Twilight. I sort of want the vampires from True Blood to wait in ambush, ready to truss up Edward and Jacob in yards and yards of silver.) Can they make the leap to more adult-oriented tales, or are they to be geared toward teen and preteen readers, even as those readers get older.

I suppose I could make the leap.  Heinlein did it. Starship Troopers was actually a YA novel, but Stranger in a Strange Land and some of his later works take place in the same universe, all of which are very adult stories. John Scalzi actually went the other route. There’s no mistaking that Old Man’s War, The Ghost Brigades, and The Last Colony are adult novels. Zoe’s Tale, however, a parallel story to The Last Colony, is very much a YA novel, even if it wasn’t intended to be.

So can you go from YA to adult? Or can you only go in the other direction?

Talk to me.


One thought on “The YA Conundrum

  1. Jim, I wouldn’t worry about this. Tell the story the way it needs to be told.

    But to answer your question, I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t be able to go YA -> Adult. My friends who write YA have figured out that most of their readers are adults. And crossover YA is an easier sell. Either way, good luck & have fun! I’m looking forward to reading it. 🙂

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