My current WIP is the first attempt I've made at writing YA (Young Adult). I got a little panicky after that first ah-ha moment when I realized my story made much more sense if aimed at young adults, rather than adults. It was a breakthrough that got me over the hump of finding the right way to start the novel, as well as where to take it, so at first I was excited. After that, I had to jump into research, research, research (you'll find that's what I do with most things). It was hard to find much good information on how to write for YA, what needed to be different, that sort of thing, but I attended a panel at a conference last year that gave me the boost of information I needed to jump in with both feet. It was as simple as hearing the following paraphrased information in answer to an attendee's question: "YA is no different than writing for an adult, but the characters are young adults, themselves, and the issues lean more toward issues that affect teens, more than adults. There can be sex, profanity, and serious issues."
"Okay," I thought. "I can do that."
Little questions come up as you go through, though. Is this exciting enough? How long should it be? Do these issues touch enough on what's happening to young adults, or is my age range too young or too old?
When I set myself free to just start writing, though, it was easier to get through the questions and get something on paper. Sort of a free your mind, the rest will follow situation (a little En Vogue for you there).
A conversation with a friend the other day made me think of what age ranges I didn't feel I could write for, though. I am reading a lot of Middle Grade stuff with my son, and I don't know if I could do that. It has to be exciting, there has to be some good pacing, but it also has to be at the right level for MG readers to understand and enjoy it. It needs to be slightly more simplistic, from what I've seen, than a YA or adult novel. I don't have to worry that young adults won't understand what I'm writing about, but with MG I figure you have to be more careful. You also have to monitor yourself more strictly with MG than with YA, because, despite what we parents might like to think, teens have seen, done and said more than MG readers. They've had a few more life experiences. It's okay if they read profanity or even a well-done sex scene (for me, personally, I'm not sure how comfortable I would be writing a sex scene for teen readers, but I imagine it may come up in the future).
Children's books would be fun, but hard. I know what I like to read with my kids, but I wouldn't want to just sit and search out something to write about, as most themes have at least been touched on in some way, shape or form. I'd have to have been inspired to write something, I think, and go from there. In the meantime I'll just continue researching it by reading with my kiddos.
All this to say, being a writer doesn't automatically mean you can or want to write for every age group. It's an interesting thing to play around with and experiment with, and I look forward to it through the coming years.
Is there an age group you couldn't write for? Why do you feel that way?
P.S. I will be back on live this coming Tuesday and will hopefully respond to any comments this weekend.