The New Adult category is still a new thing. Some still don't think it's a thing at all, but that hasn't kept it from getting some more mainstream attention recently. Despite the growing interest, confusion about what NA is or isn't persists. Just for fun, here's a handy way to tell if you're writing NA fiction.
You might be writing New Adult...
- If your student-by-day-crime-fighter-by-night protagonist has emotional drama on the side, but it isn't about her first kiss/prom/parents divorcing/etc.—it's about deciding who she wants to be in the world now that she's about to head out on her own;
- If you've ever been told your characters need to be younger to fit into YA, or older to appeal to adult readers;
- If the mere mention of this New York Times piece from last December, or ABC's Nightline in late February made you see red with rage. And maybe still does;
- If you have a permanent bruise on your forehead from smacking it against your keyboard every time someone says "Oh, so it has lots of sex, right?"
- If aging your characters up or down would significantly change the emotional dynamic of key elements, or make them impossible altogether—the perceived scandal in a May-December romance becomes less of an issue when the younger character is 30, just plain creepy and illegal if she's 13, but juuust right for awesome drama when she's 19 and struggling to separate from the constraints of her parents;
- If you stalk the #NALitChat hashtag on Twitter;
- If your characters are making important, adult life decisions, often for the first time. They have neither the hindsight based on years of life experience, like the 35- or 45-year-old character of adult fiction, nor the need/desire for guidance from parental figures or mentors, like the 16-year-old YA character;
- If your pulse pounds every time another awesome agent or editor tweets that they are now (finally, FINALLY!) accepting NA submissions.
J. Lea López writes contemporary NA and erotica. Find her on Twitter or her blog. To read some of her mainstream short stories, check out the anthologies The Fall: Tales from the Apocalypse and Spring Fevers. Find some of her erotic short stories on her Facebook page.