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Advice for writers

Writing Young Adult Fantasy Novels

a young woman crouching down with a bow and arrow in the woods and the text "writing young adult fantasy"

The Young Adult Fantasy Landscape

In the depths of a mystical forest, where shadows dance beneath the moon’s gentle caress and whispers of ancient magic echo through the trees, lies the gateway to worlds unseen. Here, among the pages of young adult fantasy novels, adventure intertwines with wonder, and heroes rise to confront the darkness that threatens to engulf their realms. Crafting such tales is an art, a dance of imagination and storytelling prowess that captivates readers young and old alike.

In the realm of young adult fantasy novels, writers hold the power to transport readers to fantastical realms where anything is possible. From the towering spires of enchanted castles to the depths of uncharted oceans teeming with mythical creatures, the canvas upon which these tales are painted knows no bounds. But crafting a compelling young adult fantasy novel requires more than just a vivid imagination; it demands careful planning, skillful world-building, and an understanding of the unique elements that resonate with readers in this genre.

Understanding the Young Adult Audience

Before embarking on the journey of writing a young adult fantasy novel, it’s crucial to understand the audience for whom you’re crafting your tale. Young adult readers are at a pivotal stage in their lives, navigating the complexities of adolescence while hungering for stories that reflect their experiences and aspirations. They seek protagonists who face challenges with courage and resilience, who grapple with identity and belonging, and who ultimately discover their own strength and purpose in the face of adversity.

Embrace the Magic of World-Building

At the heart of every captivating young adult fantasy novel lies a richly imagined world brimming with magic, myth, and wonder. Whether your story unfolds in a bustling metropolis populated by mystical creatures or a sprawling wilderness where ancient secrets lie dormant, the key to immersive world-building lies in the details. Consider the intricate tapestry of history, culture, and geography that shapes your fictional realm, weaving together elements of fantasy and reality to create a vivid and believable backdrop for your narrative.

Check out this post for more world-building tips!

Craft Complex and Relatable Characters

Central to the success of young adult fantasy novels are their characters—flawed, complex individuals who leap off the page and into the hearts of readers. From reluctant heroes burdened with destiny to plucky heroines defying expectations, the characters who populate your story must be both relatable and aspirational, navigating the trials and tribulations of adolescence with authenticity and depth. Give your protagonists dreams to chase, fears to conquer, and relationships to nurture, allowing readers to see themselves reflected in their struggles and triumphs.

Harness the Power of Themes and Symbols

In the enchanted tapestry of young adult fantasy, themes and symbols serve as guiding stars, illuminating the deeper truths and universal struggles that lie at the heart of the human experience. Whether exploring themes of friendship, love, sacrifice, or the eternal battle between light and darkness, infuse your narrative with layers of meaning and symbolism that resonate with readers on a profound level. Through allegory and metaphor, you can invite readers to ponder life’s big questions while embarking on an epic adventure of their own.

Master the Art of Plot and Pacing

Like the winding paths of a labyrinthine forest, the plot of a young adult fantasy novel should twist and turn, keeping readers on the edge of their seats with each unexpected twist and turn. As you craft your narrative, pay careful attention to pacing, balancing moments of tension and release to maintain a sense of momentum and urgency. Whether unraveling the mysteries of an ancient prophecy or facing down a formidable adversary, each plot point should propel your characters forward on their journey of self-discovery and transformation.

Hone Your Voice and Style

As you embark on your quest to write a young adult fantasy novel, don’t forget to cultivate your own unique voice and style as an author. Whether lyrical and poetic or brisk and action-packed, the way you wield language and craft your prose can elevate your story from mere escapism to enduring literary art. Experiment with different narrative techniques, hone your dialogue skills, and above all, stay true to the vision and spirit of your story, allowing your voice to shine through with every word you write.

Seek Feedback and Revision

No masterpiece is forged in isolation, and the same holds true for young adult fantasy novels. Once you’ve set pen to paper and brought your story to life, seek out feedback from trusted peers, beta readers, and writing communities to help you refine and polish your manuscript. Embrace the process of revision as an opportunity to strengthen your narrative, deepen your characters, and unearth hidden layers of meaning within your story. Remember, the journey from rough draft to published novel is fraught with challenges, but with perseverance and dedication, you can bring your vision to fruition.

How Atmosphere Press Can Help

In the enchanted realm of publishing, Atmosphere Press stands as a beacon of opportunity for aspiring authors and seasoned storytellers alike. With a commitment to fostering creativity and empowering authors to share their stories with the world, Atmosphere Press offers a range of publishing services tailored to meet the unique needs of each writer. From editorial guidance and cover design to distribution and marketing support, Atmosphere Press provides the tools and resources you need to bring your young adult fantasy novel to life in all its magical glory.

Check out the services Atmosphere Press offers here!

Crafting a young adult fantasy novel is a journey of discovery, a quest to unlock the boundless realms of imagination and share them with readers hungry for adventure. As you embark on this epic odyssey, remember to embrace the magic of storytelling, to wield your words with purpose and passion, and to never lose sight of the power and potential of your own creativity. For in the world of young adult fantasy, the possibilities are limitless, and the greatest adventure of all awaits those brave enough to seize it. So, fellow writers, as you embark on your own quest to craft the next great young adult fantasy novel, I leave you with this question: What magical realms will you explore, and what wonders will you discover along the way?

Chandler Kidd

Chandler Kidd, Social Media Manager at Atmosphere Press (submit your manuscript here!), lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her three cats. She is a yogi and an avid horror and dark fantasy reader. During the day, she loves creating social posts for Atmosphere Press and connecting authors online. By night she can be found learning music production, DJing, or at a concert. 

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