Six Month Blogoversary Guest Post & Giveaway: Writing Adult vs Young Adult Fiction by Jennifer Lane

Jennifer Lane is the author of Adult fiction novels With Good Behaviour (The Conduct Series #1) & Bad Behaviour ( The Conduct Series #2). Jennifer recently featured her short story, Swim Recruit in Summer Breeze Anthology!

With Good Behaviour (The Conduct Series #1)

Bad Behaviour (The Conduct Series #2)

Writing Adult vs Young Adult Fiction

Happy 6 Month Blogoversary, Megan! To celebrate, we're giving away a romantic suspense e-book from The Conduct Series, my novels about two parolees who fall in love as they battle the Chicago Police and the Mafia. See below to enter. Megan likes YA fiction but reads from many genres, so today I'll discuss the ins and outs of writing for different age groups.

Do you prefer Adult or Young Adult fiction? When I started writing novels, I followed advice to "write what you know". Since I'm a 40 year-old psychologist, I chose more mature characters for the novel With Good Behaviour (The Conduct Series #1). Sophie Taylor's a 29 year-old former psychologist and Grant Madsen's a 30 year-old former lieutenant. Just released from prison, they meet on their parole officer's doorstep. There's an instant spark but neither know about their hidden connection threatening their love and their lives.

Adult themes like career, long- term relationships, and carrying baggage from one's past are fascinating to explore. There's richness and complexity to adult life. There may be regret from the past but there's often hope for the future. It's interesting if adults can learn lessons from life mistakes and apply that knowledge to their present circumstances.

Though the interwoven tapestry of mature adulthood inspired my first novels, the time of life when those threads weave together (Young Adulthood) is also intriguing. I decided to try my hand at a coming-of-age story tentatively titled Against the Tide, that Omnific Publishing has accepted for publication. I'm captivated by all the change that goes on for those transitioning from teenager to young adult. In America, that transition sometimes involves going from high school to college, confronting individuals with heady decisions that could influence the rest of  their lives.

Writing YA stories means toning down the language and intimacy. I previously believed violence should also be less intense in YA fiction, but after reading The Hunger Games and Divergent, I'm not so sure. It appears YA novels can explore very adult themes, and many of my adult friends enjoy theses stories as well.

Regardless of the age group I'm writing for, the most important part is creating a gripping plot and compelling characters. It's fun to keep learning, trying to improve each novel along the way.

Twitter: JenLanebooks
Goodreads: Jennifer Lane


Question: What differences do you see in YA vs. A? What makes you prefer one over the other?

Leave a comment to enter the giveaway! The winner can choose an e book of With Good Behaviour (The Conduct Series #1) or Bad Behaviour (The Conduct Series #2)

-Giveaway sponsored by Jennifer Lane
-Giveaway Ends September 20th


  1. I really enjoyed both of Jennifer's books. I have a daughter who is a book lover, and I definitely try to watch her content to make sure violence, intimacy, and content are appropriate. I wish the junior section at the library was all "safe" and appreciate an author who is sensitive to that. Thanks for having the discussion!

  2. Thanks for hosting me, Megan! Happy blogaversary.

  3. It's a tough question because it absolutely ONLY depends on what mood I'm in. I have no general preference. Sometimes I feel like reading a sweet YA romance...other times - let's just say I want a little more spice. Recently I'm all about the MIX. :-)
    Thanks for the giveaway. Would love to win Good Behaviour (The Conduct Series #1) Has been on my wishlist for a while!
    _yay_ @ BookthatThing

  4. Well YA you have little to no sexual content but just as much romance. It seems to read quicker for me than adult does. I definitely don't prefer one over the other. I only recently the past few years started reading more YA.
    tlabunski **((gmail))**

  5. Amy, thank you! My first two novels are definitely not kid-friendly and it was tough to rein in my naughty side for YA. (Working with college students has given me potty mouth). I'm looking forward to working with my editors to make sure my YA novel is indeed YA even though the story explores adult themes.

    Yay, I was decidedly an adult fiction fan until Twilight and The Hunger Games came along, teaching me how entertaining YA novels can be.

    Pabkins, the romance element seems essential in YA. I think the challenge is avoiding the repetitive young/naive girl falls for bad boy plot. I like the heroine to have chutzpah and the hero to have a lot of integrity.

  6. In my opinion , Adult fiction contains more difficult words and slang which cannot be understood by most teen , especially those from other countries .Also , I found that A fiction contains more sexual content which for I , as a teenager , feel uneasy to read them and therefore just flip through it .
    I always prefer YA fiction as the vocabs are not difficult and most of the stories are related to the life of a teenager , which makes us feel comfortable , being absorbed by the book and truly understand how are the characters in the book feeling .
    However , I have started readng a few Adult fiction recently . Some of the books teach me things about life too and I am able to gain experience and knowledge from the books :)

    Thanks for the giveaway anyway !
    Gwenxkaes AT hotmail DOT com

  7. I enjoy both YA and A. For me it really depends on my mood and the author. I am much more picky with my A book choices than YA.

    hootowl1978 at gmail dot com

  8. Gwen, I hadn't considered how YA would be easier to understand for non-native English speakers, but that makes a lot of sense. It seems like authors writing for adults try to impress us with their massive vocabularies. ;) I do enjoy when a novel teaches me something.

    Hoot, interesting. Any idea why you're pickier with A than YA?

    Good luck in the giveaway to both of you!

  9. I love reading both YA and Adult Lit. I find that I read more YA lately because there is a ton of excellent dystopian society books being written for the YA genre.

    Thanks for the giveaway.

  10. Nayjf, The Hunger Games was my introduction to dystopian novels (besides Brave New World and 1984 I read in school), and I enjoyed Divergent as well. What other dystopians are your favorite?

  11. I think the big difference I see between YA and A is the sexual content. With YA, there is a lot of angst and desire and wanting but usually not a lot of explicit action.

    I love both YA and A genres, and I'm finding more and more YA books that interest me!

    darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com

  12. You know what's odd, I don't actually tend to read much YA at all - I fluctuate between Middle Grade and Adult. With my kids entering young adulthood, I wonder if that'll change. Congratulations on successfully making the jump---the common thread will be your dedication to creating believable characters.

  13. Darlene, I do have a non-explicit sex scene in my YA novel and I'll have to tread carefully on the edit so as to keep it YA. I agree with you that the more YA books I learn about, the more I'm intrigued.

    Hi Nicki, I haven't read much MG but I bet you will be consuming more YA soon to share books with your kids.

  14. In YA I see a lot of stories about the protagonists developing and growing up. They make mistakes and are likely to fall in love for the first time. In adults people also make mistakes but they have more experience. They may have lost a loved one, or are in a stage in life where second chances are offered. Plus adult books are also steamier.

    cambonified (at) yahoo (dot) com

  15. Na, sometimes we're all in the mood for some steam. ;) But it's really interesting to watch characters grow and develop. Good luck in the giveaway!

  16. The biggest difference between YA and adult to me is the language and sex scenes or lack thereof. It depends on my mood which I read. I usuall enjoy the adult books more but there is something nice to be able to read a YA book that your daughter has and talk about it with her.

    mmafsmith at gmail dot com

  17. Aw, that would be sweet to read books with your daughter, Maria. Good luck on the giveaway!

  18. Hi Megan! Have you chosen a winner for this one yet? Jen xx