How to Alienate a Teen Reader

1) Insta-love.

You know the one. This is where your MC falls head-over-heels at the first sight of their future boy/girlfriend. Not realistic, and this will put your teen readers off.

2) Cliches.

News flash: girls don’t fall for the “dark and mysterious” type, or the “blue-eyed-blonde-hair” type. They fall for the person that has something in common with them, or with a personality that matches with theirs. These cliches will lose you readers.

3) Love triangles

As you probably know, love triangles are used in many books, Twilight and Hunger Games among the most popular. While they may work in those particular books, you shouldn’t use them as a default because they are not realistic. Love triangles hardly ever happen.

4) Lack of humour

Teens LOVE humour. Even if you’re writing a heart-wrenching story about a girl and a boy with cancer (see THE FAULT IN OUR STARS) you have to incorporate humour into it. Humour is the fastest way to win over your readers. Use it!

5) Unrealistic dialogue

When you use “like” and “dude” three times for each sentence of dialogue, you should know that you’re doing something wrong. If you don’t, you do now. Teens use these words, but not in excess. Teens speak like normal people.

6) Condescension

Believe it or not, teenagers are not stupid. After all, we are the ones reading THE CATCHER IN THE RYE and Jane Austen books for English. We know what metaphors are, and we know when authors are being patronising. Writing for young adults is very similar to writing for adults – many teens read adult books. Don’t be condescending – it’s an easy turn off.

So, those are my tips for how to alienate a teen reader. Un-follow them and hopefully you’ll be alright πŸ™‚ assuming you follow all the other general rules for writing, of course. Like knowing how to spell and whatnot.

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