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Sunday, April 10, 2011

H is for Historical Fiction and Teens

I love Young Adult Historical Fiction! Done right, I get lost in it. I feel it, can taste it, and know I have been transported back. Over done, and I close the book. You know what I mean. The pages and pages of description, the words you skim.

This happens because the writer seems to thinks the reader needs to be told, over-and-over again, what the important things are. Just because they are teens, doesn’t mean they don’t get it the first time. Actually, I think teens get it faster than many adults. The writer has to learned to trust their reader.

That’s right. There comes a point when you have to trust the reader to get it, the first time. (This is an example. I’ll do it again throughout this post).

Show it well just once, the reader will devour your words. Tell them, and tell them again, they’ll put the book down.

Repetition isn’t a good thing in any novel, but in YA historical fiction, the reader begins to feel patronized by the repeated historical references and facts. Use what you have, but disseminate the information and move along.

Teens are smart. We just need to be smarter. I know how to make them want to read historical fiction, pass a law saying they can’t read it until their twenty-one.

I’ve said it enough.


  1. I used to love historical fiction, but it was a phase that has passed. And yes, as a teen it was one of my favorites.

  2. I also love historical fiction when done right - like yours for example!

  3. I agree and I know a writer who does a good job with this - you!