New genres in writing appear on the horizon every once in a while, shining and blazing like a car on that same horizon does if made completely out of magnesium and set afire by a carelessly dropped cigar, a lit oxyacetylene torch, or several tons of spontaneously combusting fireflies. They light up the sky. They warm us. They provide an excellent venue for roasting marshmallows (if one is fond of smores).
One of the latest genres to storm the bastille of the Amazon is New Adult. Don’t let the title confuse you if you are fond of the Old Adult genre. Or even the Middle-Aged Adult genre. Or the Recycled Adult genre (a favorite among the thrift-store aficionados of Portland, Oregon, as well as those deriving income from the waste-hauling segment of our economy [ie., the mafia]).
New Adult, according to those who know, is defined by several parameters. First, the main character is generally between the age of 18 and 26, which means they’ve acquired the ability to vote, move out of the house, become self-sufficient, and continue to be insured under their parents health insurance plan. Also, New Adult typically deals with such heart-warming themes as sexuality, race, alcohol abuse, sex, drug abuse, more sex, bullying, sex, empowerment (of bullies?), familial struggles, taut abdominal muscles, sex, loss of innocence, fear of failure, Alec Baldwin, and… wait for it, wait for it…sex.
Doubtlessly, you, the budding, panting writer, desperate to break into the top 100 hundred on Amazon, are befuddled and bemused by the complexity of this new genre. Your heart quails within you, sort of like a quail (the bird, not the verb) as it scuttles across the ground in search of delicious bugs, or in frantic flight from the fox of failure.
Fear not. I shall carefully outline how you can write a best-selling New Adult blockbuster. All it takes is five easy steps and you’re home free to massive royalties and lolling about in the Ibizan sun, slathered in sunscreen (please note that excessive tanning without proper sunscreen [ie., living in a dark cave one mile down] can cause skin cancer).
FIVE STEPS TO NEW ADULT AWESOMENESS
1. The Female Between the Age of 18 and 26
All New Adult bestsellers must have an amazingly beautiful female protagonist. She must coyly think she is not that good-looking, even though, in reality, a blind octogenarian mole on the planet Neptune would be able to recognize her stunning beauty from several hundred thousand miles away. Most importantly, though, is that she must have an awesome name like Callie or Sydney or Bailey or Lacey or Lexi.
2. The Male Between the Age of 18 and 26
New Adult Bestsellers must also have an incredibly handsome male protagonist. Now, this next point about the protagonist is a bit difficult for some writers to understand, but I’ll type slowly in order to facilitate comprehension: he must be between the ages of 18 and 26! A lot of new New Adult writers have difficulty with this aspect, but, take it from me: it’s true. In my writing workshops, I notice a lot of writers will make their male protagonist 74 years old or 62 or even 81. I know it’s hard to believe, but these ages won’t work. Trust me. Also, he must possess a smoldering glance, a casually elegant way of wearing clothing (faded, ripped jeans, suitably unbuttoned shirts, alligator boots, etc), and a crooked smile that reveals excellent dental hygiene and evidence of straight teeth (either from braces or good genes). You get extra literary points if he owns a motorcycle that he drives with reckless abandon. Again, most importantly, he must have an incredibly cool name such as Callum or Drake or Brennan or Devon or even Reid. His name must be so cool that readers will be astounded and think, “Why didn’t my lame parents name me that? My life would’ve been so awesome if my name was Drake. People would say to me, while walking down the street, hey Drake! And I would say, hey.”
3. Her Taut Abs
It is imperative that she have perfectly sculpted taut abs! I cannot stress this point enough. It breaks my heart, but I see many young New Adult writers, venturing timidly into the field for the first time, who neglect to work into their plots her taut abs. Their immaturity as writers blinded them to this important component of plot structure. New Adult plot development simply does not work without her taut abs. When I speak at writing workshops, I frequently give a lecture titled Taut Abs and You: Why Abdominal Muscles are Key to a Professional Writing Career. These lectures, always packed, have proven the salvation of many a writing career. My main point in this lecture is abdominal muscles and Jillian Michaels: you must model her abdominals on Jillian Michaels’ abdominals or your writing career is over.
4. His Taut Abs
Equally important are the taut abs of your male protagonist. They must be sculpted with more care than Michelangelo’s work on David. In fact, you must mentally sneer at the inferior abdominals of M’s David. You must scoff and then determine to do him better with your Drake or Drew or whatever amazingly cool name he has.
5. Hot Sex Sans Complications
I can’t tell you how many times immature New Adult writers have called me up (I’m available to do phone consultation at $200 per half hour, payable in advance), weeping hysterically on the phone, unable to spit out even a single, intelligible word. When I calm them down (usually after half an hour, billable), they confess that they wrote sex scenes that ended up with unwanted pregnancies, various STDs, etc. This sort of thing is what you cannot have, despite the fact that sexually transmitted diseases float around in the cesspool of our culture like water lilies on the surface of the Florida Everglades (except that water lilies aren’t all that harmful, though, there are alligators lurking underneath, which might work well for our metaphor). Sex in the New Adult genre must be without complications of any kind. Take a page from the rabbits of the fields (minus their propensity to breed like, well, like rabbits, as well as their odd habit of occasionally eating their young). Do NOT give your protagonists the HPV virus!
And there you have it. With those five hot tips, you are ready to write your New Adult blockbuster without fear of failure. Get ready to pay the IRS huge quarterlies, because you are about to become rich. There is no need to thank me, though, because I would happily supply this information, free of charge, to anyone.
11 thoughts on “Guide To Writing New Adult Bestseller”
Hey Christopher, (this is where you respond: hey.)
I’m terribly sorry to have to disagree with you on point #3. You’re obviously not a reader of new adult novels. The heroine should have taut buns (no. Pun not intended, though unfortunately unavoidable), not abs. Six-packs are for guys. The hero/heroine pair must be complementary, not identical.
You’re welcome. First consultation is free.
Seriously? I thought taut abs were an imperative for both genders. Sort of a democratization of the sexes. However, I will bow to your superior knowledge. This is valuable stuff you’re handing out for free.
I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to reveal these golden nuggets. I’ve been a struggling writer for so long, it’s nice to know precisely where I’ve gone wrong all these years.
Personally, I might add one more parameter, but it’s just as likely as sub-step to one or more the above.
6. Protagonist must be shy, awkward or otherwise maladjusted towards others, especially of the opposite sex. It is imperative. I’ve been in writing groups where myself and others gently guided a story line that (horrors!) had the characters speaking openly, expressing themselves to their counterparts. That simply won’t do. They must be tough, suspicious and otherwise incapable of admitting a connection. It’s the hallmark of a superior story line.
That’s a great addition. I’ll try to stir my lazy bones and incorporate (and I’ll be sure to split with you the vast income I get from lecturing on this vital topic). I’m very glad and gratified that I could be of assistance with your own career.
I don’t think she has to be shy and awkward, but she has to THINK she’s shy and awkward. It’s an echo of the oh-lord-I’m-ugly syndrome mentioned in the list.
It’s all purely in the head. Hmm…I think that might apply to a lot of things these days.
Mwah hahahahahaaaargh! I’m pretty sure that the heroine should have perky breasts too. Phnark.
Yes, incredibly and indomitably perky.
Dang it. I’m out of luck. All I’ve got working for me are a set of self-taught abs…
Yes, but now that you’ve read this amazing post, you have the mad skills to make millions by writing some ab-centric books. Heck, billions, probably.
(sweet Jehoshaphat dynamite – I learned all of my worst puns from Abbot and Costello…)