The Most Overused Things in YA Fiction

As promised, a look at the most overused things in 9+ and YA fiction - with thanks to Joelle Anthony (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Bulletin) In the latest SCBWI magazine Joelle Anthony talks about the most common things in fiction for children and teens. She reads about 100 YA books a year (impressive!) and has created a list of overused things. Here are some of them:

Do feel free to add to this list in the comments box below.

1/ Boys with long, lush eyelashes 2/ Main character who can’t sing 3/ Fingernail biting 4/ Dead mothers

Here are some others:

1/ Main characters who hate maths (or math in the US) 2/ Guys with green eyes – green is the new blue 3/ Clumsy characters 4/ Main characters who are the only people in the world without a mobile 5/ Gorgeous, popular younger sisters 6/ Poor girls who are scholarship students 7/ A main character with only one best friend 8/ Female characters who are obsessed with Jane Austen 9/ Hot, young looking mums 10/ Characters who like retro music – generally of the era when the author was in school 11/ Irresponsible parents 12/ A red haired best friend

Joelle wrote this list because she wanted to encourage authors to stretch themselves and to point out areas where they may think they are being original, but they really are not!

So, am I guilty of any of the above?

Yes – green eyed boys; a main character with only one best friend; and irresponsible parents. But I love green eyes; Amy Green has only one best friend, Mills, but she also has an aunt and a boyfriend; and irresponsible parents are so much more fun t write than sensible ones! Boys with long eyelashes – Guilty! Fingernail biting – Guilty!

What about YOU? How do you fare?

Yours in writing,

Sarah XXX