for the love of fiction

How to Avoid Major YA Errors

I’ve been reading people’s work on wattpad lately. It’s a mixed bag. Mostly I enjoy reading new work, and socializing with fellow writers and readers, but over the last week I’ve been reminded of the things that drive me nuts about a lot of Young Adult fiction from Twilight to Maze Runner and back again. I’ve been inspired to write a small guide – or maybe it’s just a rant. You decide.

Here goes:

How to avoid major YA errors:

  • Stop with the squealing already!

Believe it or not, I was a teenage girl once, and *gasp* I did not squeal. In fact, I have worked in a volunteer capacity with teens for many years and on only one occasion (6th graders in California) did I hear girls squeal. Now maybe that’s because I suck all the happy out of the room. That’s possible. More likely it’s because teenage girls are not as vapid as YA authors make them out to be.

  • Could we try for a little equality?

If I read one more teen romance where the girl is some little nobody whose only good points are an ability to resist the leading man’s charms or the ability to run her mouth like a politician, I’m  going to squeal. Could we try for a little equality? Did you know that love between equals is ok? Actually better, really. Plus, this way your feminist mom who went to all that work burning her bras back in the 60’s won’t have to lie about what you do to her online poker friends.

  • Geez People- Consent. Consent. Consent.

I’m actually not really kidding here. I just read yet another YA romance involving sexual contact without consent between the leading man and lady – actually it was sexual contact after the man said “no” twice. Just FYI people – that’s sexual assault. Please stop promoting it and making it “sexy” in your YA novels. Young people are still learning how to treat each other with respect. Unless you are actually trying to describe something that’s wrong or possibly traumatizing, I’d stay clear from depicting sex without consent. Especially from depicting it as a good thing. Please think with your heads, people. It’s what they’re there for.

  • No society is going to trust teens to do everything – sorry.

I’m 34. Currently I don’t let teens babysit my kids. Fly my starships? Unlikely. Fill every single position of authority? Ummm…did I tell you I don’t trust them to babysit? I mean we all say that government couldn’t get any worse but it could…can you say Government Class? My U.S. Government Class was half full of girls doing their nails and guys trying to hit on the substitute teacher. Not exactly world-running material. I totally get that YA novels are more interesting if some of the characters in high position are teens, but could you involve some adults, too, for at least a hint of realism? You do know that we don’t all die of old age at 25, right?

  • Just because it’s exciting doesn’t mean it’s integral to the plot.

Oh, yeah. This is worth noting. A lot of YA writers substitute action for plot. I’ve done it myself. It’s kind of a shabby stunt to pull. It means you were too lazy to do the rewrites involved to spice up your work so you just added more action.

  • Sterotypes suck – and I’m not talking about vampires (although they count).

There are so many stories about girls and their quirky friends, and the friends always seem to be the dame three people recycled to infinity – they are also often minorities. Have you ever noticed that it really sucks to be a minority in YA Fiction? The best you can hope for is to be a really awesome bad guy or to be the best friend of a cool white hero/heroine. Yikes!

  • Try an online editor to catch the worst of your errors.

Autocrit. Prowritingaid. Try them.

  • Feedback and rewrites are your friends – even if they don’t feel like it.

Listen, I know rewrites are hell. I know. You can produce three new rough drafts in the time it takes to do a thorough re-write and edit of your novel. Please realize this, though – your novel will always read like a rough draft if you don’t do this. I’ve recently read quite a few novels that read like rough drafts. I can see clearly where they should have been cut and polished, but for some reason the author self-published them without bothering to do the work. The comments on Amazon show that readers notice and are not amused. Take warning. Don’t let this be you.

And in that vein – you do realize that anyone who offers you a critique is your friend, right? It’s better to be momentarily embarrassed when someone points out your error than to be embarrassed for all time when it’s left on the page for all to read.

  • Multi-dimensional characters…who needs them?

Or at least, that’s what I envisioned some authors saying as they cranked out “bad” characters who do nothing but “bad” things and “good” characters who are always kind and supportive and “there for you.”

  • Try not to let your YA romance read like a season of The Bachelorette.

Enough said. By the way, have you noticed that love triangles are the bread and butter of the YA world? Who are these lucky girls that inspire soul-sacrificing devotion from not one, but two unbelievably gorgeous and talented men? Are they all basically Taylor Swift? And yet somehow, despite being so amazing that every man within a mile is head over heels for them, they can never seem to solve their own problems. Again, you’re feminist mom is crying into her eco-friendly organic cotton hankie right now because she can’t bear to tell her friends that you are immortalizing a view of women as helpless objects requiring rescue by men. (See, there’s some of that helpful critiquing. You’re welcome!)

And now back to writing my own next novel. I wonder if I can fit a love triangle in there somewhere?


I’m really enjoying the wattpad app and checking out some of the books on there. If you haven’t tried it yet, you should! I’ve been sticking to sci-fi so far (you know, ahem, market research, ahem) and I’ve found a few interesting books in the mix so far. So if you’re into sci-fi it might be worth a try.

wattpad: future of The Ruined Dynasty Trilogy

Hi loyal friends. If you’ve hung in there this far, then you definitely deserve to be called loyal. It’s been a bit of a long haul for me over the past few years, but I have good news! Belly of this Great Land is finally finished and kicked out the door to go look for a home with a friendly Canadian publisher. So… that means I am back to The Ruined Dynasty Trilogy.

I’ll be posting The Ex-Pacifist a chapter at a time on to wattpad. That should take about 14 weeks. After that I’ll begin posting chapters of The Splitting: Book Two of The Ruined Dynasty Trilogy. If you’ve been waiting for the second installment, then it’s time to get excited, because it is on the way.

But how can I be the first to get a hold of it? you may ask. Easy. Follow me on wattpad. My name is sarahklwilson and then you will get notifications of my work and as soon as the chapters of The Splitting start being released you can read along.

Once again, my work will be free (that’s how wattpad works) and eventually I will put the whole book on along with The Ex-Pacifist. So, please, tell your friends. It will cost them nothing to give my writing a try. It will cost you nothing. What do you have to lose?

Rough Draft Complete

Well friends, I have the rough draft of my latest novel complete as of yesterday. I’m now beginning the rounds of editing and cleaning up pacing, characterization, symbolism etc. I think I’ve settled on a title as well: “Belly of the Great Land”
What do you think?

Sometimes a story sure gets away from you! One of my minor antagonists just demanded to be made a major protagonist. 

Comparison Statement

This novel is a cross between The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Heart of Darkness.

Rough Draft continues….

As of today I am 48,000 words into my rough draft. woot. woot.


So here’s where we stand, friends.

The good news: I’m halfway through a rough draft that I plan to be finished by the end of summer.

The bad news: It’s not Book 2 of the “Ruined Dynasty Trilogy”.

In all fairness it should be. I sat down intending to write that book, but this book seized me by the ears and demanded to be written, so here we are.
What is the new book, you may ask. Well, this one is historical fantasy set in 1682 on Hudson’s Bay in Canada. It’s an adventure with a strong friendship theme and I’m enjoying writing it. Let me tell you, as a writer, I always find that the parts of the book I enjoy writing the most are the parts people enjoy reading the most. There are a lot more of those part this time.
I want to apologize to those who were waiting for a Ruined Dynasty book and are disappointed. I promise they will come eventually and that I know how you feel. I’m still waiting for Linda Evans to pull through on some of her book promises, so I hear you.
I plead forgiveness and understanding if you can give it to me. I just couldn’t help it. This book demanded to be written. Everywhere I looked it was standing, waving its arms. It whispered in the night and while I was driving my commute. It called with a siren’s call and here I am. In all fairness, I think it will be good. And it is a stand-alone, so it will be a fully satisfying read on its own. Will that help soften the blow? I hope so, and if it doesn’t I just want to remind you all that tar and feathers have gone out of vogue.

It’s here! The Ex-Pacifist.

November 11th is here with a dusting of snow and red poppies on everyone’s coat. Special honour to our veterans.

Today is also the launch of my debut novel, The Ex-Pacifist, available at the reasonable price of $2.99. Thank you in advance for your support.

Here’s your link: for Kindle: for all other formats:




November 11 is just around the corner

Well, the leaves have fallen, the Tamaracks have turned blaze orange, and November 11th is just around the corner. Less than a week from now is the official launch of my e-book (yes, you can buy it early on Smashwords) and soon it will be available on multiple platforms.

I’d like to thank all of you who have stuck with my blog waiting for this event. I’d also like to ask that if you do choose to purchase the book and read it, that you would leave an honest review at the site you purchase it from. Thank you, and stay tuned.

Create a free website or blog at | The Baskerville Theme.

Up ↑


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.