Top tips for YA novels from March LWC Live speaker, Jo Hayes of Bell Lomax Moreton


Our event this month was with agent, Jo Hayes, of the Bell Lomax Moreton Agency and her author, Kate Birchill (author of It Girl, to be published in May by Egmont). Jo gave us the following 10 Top tips for writing YA fiction:


·         Make the premise, the characters and the action believable

·         Keep things simple – this helps the reality factor

·         Don’t worry about sticking completely between the lines or trying out new things

·         Create great characters who readers will fall in love with and care about

·         Don’t be afraid of non-traditional or un-stereotypical protagonists

·         Don’t portray characters negatively just because they don’t fit into those stereotypical hero/ine roles

·         Show characters growing, changing and developing in response to external experiences

·         Avoid clichés e.g. love triangles. Surprise people

·         Keep the plot moving and as fast-paced as possible depending on the storyline

·         Try to appeal to both genders

 Jo read History at the University of Exeter and joined Bell Lomax Moreton in 2010. Since becoming an agent in 2012 she is continuing to grow her list and is always on the look-out for diverse fiction, non-fiction and children’s stories to add to it. She is looking for historical fiction and commercial women’s fiction with engrossing plots and strong characters that you fall in love with and worry about; children’s middle grade adventure, magical or funny fiction, and teen fiction with fresh, engaging voices and believable plots. On the non-fiction side she is looking for memoir, food, history and “well-being” ideas that present new, interesting concepts in a quirky yet accessible way.

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