How do you write a YA novel now? Narinder Dhami tells us here

15 Mar 2016 / Writing Advice

As a YA writer, where do you draw your inspiration from? And what do you think are the biggest challenges for writers working in your genre?

As a YA writer, I draw my inspiration from real life and the modern world we live in. I don’t ‘do’ fantasy or historical fiction. I enjoy writing about the world today – the hidden, the surprising, the light, the dark, the humour, the dangers, the technology, the fast pace of living.

NarinderDhami-web1When you’re writing a book set in the real world, you want the readers to feel that the characters, situations and language are believable. And that’s the challenge, as a writer for young people when you’re no longer quite so young yourself.

It can be daunting when you realize how much has changed since you were fifteen yourself, even if you’re still only thirty. I don’t think writing fantasy fiction is an easier option, but at least then you’re in charge of your own world. And if you write historical fiction, you don’t have to deal with the twin issues of current slang or technology at all!


And yet, despite the massive changes in society, young people still struggle with the same issues as they did years before.

It’s still traumatic when you’re dumped by your first love or you fall out with your best friend or you get bullied. And that makes the challenge of writing for young adults easier. We’ve all been there.


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