The Making of a Young Adult Novel: Teen Issues Survey

In this and subsequent posts I am going to show how my young adult novel, The Halls of Abaddon, came to be. Hopefully in the process, I will be able to share with you the joys (and sometimes frustrations) of working directly with teens in the development of a young adult novel. For Step 1 click here http://susannadathur.com/2017/04/04/the-making-of-a-young-adult-novel/

 

Step 2:

Because The Halls of Abaddon was going to be written around teen issues, I wanted to make sure I was focusing on the issues that were most important to the young people who comprised my initial reading audience. So before I even began to write, I put together a survey and conducted it in several selected classrooms. Here is a short version of the survey I used.

Teen Issues Survey

Your Gender male    female

Your Age 15    16   17    18

 

  1. Which of the following internal issues do you think most concerns teens in your community?

self-image/self-esteem

eating disorders

depression

smoking/drugs/alcohol

diet/fitness/exercise

learning/educational issues

other (please specify)

 

  1. Which of the following external issues do you think most concerns teens in your community?

bullying (cyber of physical)

abusive relationships

sexual activity

teen pregnancy

gangs

school violence

cliques

poverty

other (please specify)

 

  1. Which of the following issues involving adults do you think most concerns teens in your community?

poor communication between adults and teens

teen rebellion against adults

physical abuse

verbal abuse

affects on teens in single parent households

affects on teens of divorce of parents

independence of teens from parents

other (please specify)

 

  1. Which of the following issues regarding media do you think most concerns teens in your community?

online predators

online availability of and exposure to material of mature content

influence of television and movies on youth

influence of video games on youth

influence of music with explicit or suggestive lyrics on youth

other (please specify)

From this survey I concluded that the following five issues were most salient in my target audience:

  • The influence of explicit lyrics (specifically in Reggaetón) on teen sexuality
  • Self-image and Self-esteem
  • Bullying/Cyber Bulling
  • Teen Rebellion and Parental Problems
  • Suicide

These five issues will all be addressed, to varying degrees, in The Halls of Abaddon. The most troubling one, suicide, is the one I am still struggling with as I develop the novel.

At the end of the survey, I asked if the student would be interested in being interviewed by me, and if so, which of the survey issues would that student like to talk to me about. In the next post, we will explore the dynamics of these student interviews

One thought on “The Making of a Young Adult Novel: Teen Issues Survey

  1. Pingback: The Making of a Young Adult Novel | SusanNadathur

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