Cory Doctorow on writing for YA

Our sister site, Nebula Awards has an interview with Cory Doctorow up right now about his book Little Brother, which was nominated for a Nebula award this year. In the interview he talks about what it’s like to write for Young Adult audiences.

Cory DoctorowWhat were the differences between writing for adults and writing for young adults?

I once asked a young adult writer what she thought the soul of young adult fiction was. She said, “Being an adolescent is the state of perpetually going through these one-way changes, where you’re very brave, and you jump off cliffs. You can’t go back again. Like one day you’re someone who has never told a lie of consequence and then you’re someone who has. You can never go back and be that other person again.”

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the centers of our brain that govern risk don’t fully develop until we’re out of our teens. There was a court case last year or the year before in which a teen had done something very foolish, and part of the defense was that his capacity to understand risk was not physiologically fully developed. He literally couldn’t parse risk the way an adult would. I think if you could parse those risks, you probably wouldn’t take all kinds of momentous steps in your life. From a plotting perspective, I like to keep that in mind.

The only other big difference was that when it was all done, my editor said, you know Scholastic has some interest in distributing this as part of their book club. But they won’t do that if it’s got the F word in it, so do you mind if we just take it out of the two places where it is? And I said, take the F word out. No big deal.

There’s other good stuff in there and it’s worth taking a look at the full interview.