Before you read: This idea was inspired by Natalie Berner’s article “How to write a YA dystopia” Thank you Natalie for inspiring and allowing me to build off your idea.
Are you a lonely person who wants romance but can’t find it? Well, if so, I have got the perfect solution for you. Write a YA romance novel. This does not require much work at all. With these few basic ordinary plots, stereotypes and “themes,” you will have a YA romance novel in no time!
The first thing a novel needs is a protagonist. Normally a female. I am not sure why it has to be a female, but in the 50-plus YA romances that I have read, the protagonist has been a female. She has to be an average student with two or three good friends. She has a supportive family, including a sibling and a pet (normally a dog). She normally has little to no depth to her. She is the average girl at school who is just kind of there.
Now that the protagonist is established, build the setting. A public high school is your best bet, but it should be a public high school where the kids don’t go to class. They do every other seemingly possible thing but go to class.
There are three main scenarios that I have come across while reading YA romance novels.
The first is there is a girl with two or three love interests. The first love interest is the “hot jock” who already has a girlfriend who is way cooler than the protagonist. The second is a childhood friend who lives next door. He is normally the one who has a crush on the protagonist. Then there is the third guy: the new boy with a mysterious past who intrigues the narrator. At one point in the book, she ends up with the jock and realizes that he is a horrible person. She later ends up with the new mysterious guy who she doesn’t end up liking. Then there is the boy next door, the one who she ends up dating in the end which leads to a cheesy happily ever after. Blah.
The second one is less common. The plot is as follows. There is a girl and she has to have “the stereotypical gay best friend.” In this one, a new guy comes along and they both end up falling head over heels for this guy. They make it their mission to find out his sexuality and no other aspects of him because they are so caught up in both wanting to date him. This eventually leads to a period of time where the friends don’t talk but they each spend time with the guy, still trying to figure out his sexuality as if it is the only interesting thing about him. After about 250 pages, they find out that he is gay or straight (depending on the book) and the dating starts. The other friend is still furious and stops talking to the friend who got with the new guy. Eventually, the jealous friend finds someone new within 20 pages and they start dating. The two friends make up and they go on double dates with their partners and act like none of the previous 300+ pages happened.
Here is the final scenario. This one is normally the most entertaining. A girl and her best friend (female) fall for the same guy. The guy shows interest in one of the girls and the other one gets mad so she completely stops talking to her friend. The girl and her friend do not talk at all. They both spend time whining and the girl who didn’t get to talk to the guy starts flirting with some random dude. Then, surprise! Out of the blue, the cool guy who they both liked at the beginning dumps the girl and she is heartbroken. The girl and her friend decide that fighting over the same guy was a stupid idea and they go back to being BFFs.
Now that you have the plots, let me tell you how to make your male characters. First, the jocks. The author needs to write them so that the reader loves them at first, but eventually hates them with a burning passion. The character starts off as the cool jock with the hot girlfriend who everybody wants to be with. At the beginning of the book, the jock character is carefree and kind of a jerk. When he starts dating the protagonist, he suddenly turns into a nice dude. However, by the end of the book, we realize he is a total jerk and he cheated on our protagonist. Then there’s the boy next door. He is the guy who has been pining over the narrator since the beginning of the book. They grew up together and it has been awkward since he friendzoned her. And finally, there is the new and mysterious boy. This boy is the new kid who wears dark clothing and is normally involved in illicit activity. The girl thinks he is hot at first, but then she realizes that he is not into her and she has to get over that by dating the jock. It’s all just one big mess.
Now, these books normally don’t require a sequel. The only case where these books do require a sequel is when one would want to write a book following the path of a different character from the previous novel. These plots are normally pretty prosaic and don’t really do much. They are an easy way to make a cheap buck but I don’t recommend writing them because nobody tends to like these. If you want to write a sequel, you really shouldn’t; but if you do, make it about another person (like the friend of the girl) and her romantic endeavors.
Now you have a basic outline for a YA romance novel. Don’t get too excited when you publish your book because it will fade away quicker than a rainbow.
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