Whenever I think of young adult fiction, Hyouka is the first thing that comes to my mind. While it may have something to do with me currently reading Hyouka manga (not sure if it’s available in English, though), but it’s more like it embodies what young adult fiction is in general – the main character who is a teen (male or female) who behaves or thinks like an adult.
Is it a bad thing? Well, I don’t see anything bad about that, though.
Another thing that will springs to my mind whenever I think of young adult fiction is the high school life. Some anime and manga like World Trigger start off with a middle schooler as the main character. But in a nutshell, young adult fiction will always involve a character who is still in school, whether the main character is a middle schooler or a high schooler.
In fact, there was someone who had brought this up on ANN why most anime and manga take place in high schools. Justin’s answer to the question is a valid one, but I also have another perspective about this.
And of course, the perspective has a lot to do with me as an author.
What people don’t realize about the young adult fiction
Some of you may think that young adult refers to someone who is already in the legal age. But in the literary sense, it’s referring to the teens. I also tend to get mixed up with the terms too, but this is what they’re referring to whenever they throw the term young adult in the conversation.
Heck, I only discover the term Young Adult when I was publishing The Diary of Modern Cinderella. I’m lucky that The Diary of Modern Cinderella matches the characteristic of young adult fiction. So, I don’t have any problem to describe the novel. It’s just that it’s difficult to pinpoint what genre this novel will fall. It seems like Amazon understands my novel more than I do, so I just let Amazon decides what category is best for my novel.
Anyway, let’s get back to my favorite part of the discussion, which is do I agree with Justin’s answer to the question or not.
Justin honestly admits that he doesn’t know the exact answer to the question. So, he can only assume that the reason why the anime and manga usually focusing on the life in high school has a lot to do with Japanese reminiscing the good old days of their school life.
With the gruesome life the Japanese have to face, it’s no wonder here that they want to relieve the memories that they had when they were in high school. Who knows that back in the old days, they were the ace for their high school baseball team. Or maybe they were popular among girls back then. Whatever it is, the good old memories from the high school bring a smile on their face.
Well, Justin is right about that part. But there’s more to it than just reminiscing the old days, even from the consumers’ perspective.
And from the creator’s point of view, that’s not the reason why I write young adult fiction. I don’t care about my school life and I don’t obsess with what happened in the past, whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing.
When it comes to young adult fiction, these are the things that fuel my inspiration to write for teens.
Why I write young adult fiction
I admit that I’ve been reading the manga and watching anime since I was a kid. And I still do even until now. While I do read any manga and watch any anime under the blue sky, most anime and manga that I’ve come across falls into the shounen category. I also love reading shoujo, seinen, and even josei manga, but there aren’t many anime and manga that I like from those categories.
Since I love reading and watching a lot of shounen manga and anime, it makes sense for me to write young adult fiction.
Compared to the other categories, shounen anime and manga tend to have the most interesting storyline. Maybe it’s because they always have the tendency to have the main character who is just an average joe and jane but has the power to impact the whole thing.
But from what I see, the complexity of the storyline is what driving me to love shounen anime and manga. And not to mention, it’s also the basis of my writing.
Maybe this is just me, but I’m not too keen on a simple storyline. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the anime and manga that I come across or even in my writing, I prefer a little bit of complexity in the storyline. That is also the reason why my books will have a little bit of complexity in it.
For me, it looks simple. But I’m not sure how my readers will perceive my books. Maybe it’s dead simple for them. Or maybe they find it hard to believe that I can bring a complex subject into the story.
The storyline complexity is what I usually found in the shounen anime and manga. And I don’t see that much in shoujo, josei and even seinen manga and anime. Even if they do have such element, it’s only more on the surface level and it never goes too deep.
As for shounen anime and manga, the complexity will arise as the story progresses. How much can I ask for that?
I also find it true for the adult fiction as well. They may have a compelling storyline, but if you’re used to shounen style storyline and in this case, the young adult fiction style, you will find the adult fiction boring.
You see the combination of facts and fictions a lot in the shounen anime and manga. But for other categories, you don’t see they play around with facts that much, especially when we talk about the hardcore facts.
Speaking about facts and fictions, I think young adult fiction is the only kind of fiction that dares to touch upon the sensitive and the disturbing topics. Somehow, it’s a lot easier to confront such topics in the young adult fiction because you’re seeing it from a different angle.
Whenever I think about disturbing topics, Zankyou no Terror and Ranpo Kitan come to my mind. In Zankyou no Terror, the anime is talking about terrorism (September 11 comes to my mind when I started watching this anime). And Ranpo Kitan is about the Japanese law which prevents the prosecution of the minors for the crimes they have committed. And they can’t prosecute them just like how they prosecute the adults for the similar crimes.
Have you seen any adult fiction talks about something like this? Maybe they do, but they’re less likely to talk about it.
So, if you’re the kind of author or want to be an author who has a different perspective about life, then young adult fiction is the best for you.
Will I continue to write young adult fiction
For the time being, I have no reason to stop writing young adult fiction. But who knows that I will shift my focus to a different thing. And the best way to tell the story is to write it as an adult fiction.
Who knows what lies ahead. But for now, the answer is yes.