Story Writing Ideas
Ideas for Writing a Book
for Mature Teenagers
Here are our top story writing ideas garnered from studies of what mature teens (18 to 19 years) are reading, together with examples from best selling books, to help you write popular teen books:
Story Writing Ideas: Best Books for Teens
Good books, books that enrich the mind and nourish the spirit, are always in demand. Look out for excellent writing from a diverse range of authors: Chaim Potok's The Chosen; The Promise; My Name is Asher Lev; The Gift of Asher Lev; Ursula LeGuin's A Wizard of Earthsea and sequels; JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy; and CS Lewis' Out of the Silent Planet; Perelandra; That Hideous Strength; Till We Have Faces.
Check these out too: Karen Hesse's Out of the Dust (Newbery Medal); Michael Chabon's Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (Pulitzer Prize winner); Markus Zusak's The Book Thief; Edna Ferber's So Big (Pulitzer Prize winner); Toni Morrison's Beloved (Pulitzer Prize winner) and Song of Solomon; and Alice Walker's The Color Purple (Pulitzer Prize winner).
Story Writing Ideas: Relationship Questions, Parent & Sibling Relationships, Personal Development
Stories about personal development and family life continue to be popular, too, as in the earlier years. Readers look for protagonists who are going through transitions such as leaving the family nest and exploring a wider world; facing and triumphing over life's challenges; self-discovery, and standing upon one's convictions in the face of peer pressure.
Check out Cynthia Voigt's Seventeen Against the Dealer (being caught up in one's personal goals but eventually realizing that love and family matter most); Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (overcoming family difficulties and adverse circumstances); Melody Carlson's Diary of a Teenage Girl series (making choices based on personal values and convictions).
Story Writing Ideas: Best Fantasy Books; Best Mystery Books, Thriller & Adventure Stories
Action-packed stories of endurance, courage and resourcefulness continue to enthrall and inspire generations of mature teens. Look for survival adventure books like Ivan Southall's To the Wild Sky; Jack Schaefer's Shane; John Moore's The Breaking of Ezra Riley; and Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove (Pulitzer Prize winner).
Look out also for fantasy adventure stories like JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy: The Fellowship of the Ring; The Two Towers; The Return of the King; and Ursula LeGuin's 5 titles: A Wizard of Earthsea; The Tombs of Atuan; The Farthest Shore; Tehanu; and Tales from Earthsea.
Mystery stories are popular too, particularly those with intriguing plots that bring out the sleuth in readers. Check out Frank Peretti's This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness; and evergreens like Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey series, for example: Five Red Herrings; Hangman's Holiday; The Nine Tailors; Strong Poison; Gaudy Night; Busman's Honeymoon; and Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot mysteries and the Miss Marple series.
Story Writing Ideas: Historical Fiction and Adventure Stories
Long-ago events hold a fascination for many readers, suggesting adventure, romance, intrigue, mystery and magic. Get ideas from bestsellers like Lloyd C Douglas' The Robe; Mary Stewart's Merlin Trilogy: The Crystal Cave; The Hollow Hills; The Last Enchantment; and Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind (Pulitzer Prize winner).
Historical adventure - thrilling tales of swashbuckling heroes and deeds of derring-do - are also sought after by teens; for example, all-time favorite classics like Alexandre Dumas' Count of Monte Cristo; The Three Musketeers; and The Man in the Iron Mask. See also Kenneth Roberts' Northwest Passage; Rabble in Arms; Arundel; and Oliver Wiswell.
Tales of the historic wild west command a faithful readership too; check out AB Guthrie's The Big Sky; The Way West (Pulitzer Prize winner); and These Thousand Hills; Owen Wister's The Virginian; Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove; Streets of Laredo; and Comanche Moon; and Louis L'Amour's Bendigo Shafter; Kilkenny; High Lonesome; Son of a Wanted Man; Where the Long Grass Blows; and the Sackett family series.
Story Writing Ideas: Best Love Stories & Romance Books
Contemporary romances are top sellers: check out the many series catering to various niche markets (modern, medical, mystery, career, Christian) from publishers like Harlequin, Mills & Boon, and Bethany House.
Get ideas from long-loved classics too: Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and Lloyd C Douglas' Magnificent Obsession; also bestselling author Mary Stewart's The Ivy Tree; Thunder on the Right; Nine Coaches Waiting; The Moon-Spinners; This Rough Magic; and many others.
Historical romances are also popular: look out for Janette Oke's Love Comes Softly series; Seasons of the Heart series; and Women of the West series; Eugenia Price's Savannah Quartet (Savannah; To See Your Face Again; Stranger in Savannah; Before the Darkness Falls); St Simons Trilogy (Beloved Invader; Lighthouse; New Moon Rising); also Bright Captivity; Beauty from Ashes; and Don Juan McQueen; Lori Wick's Whispers of Moonlight; Sabrina; and Where the Wild Rose Blooms.
To find out worldwide sales figures for the top-selling books in each of the above categories, go to Creative Writing Resources:
Bestsellers for Mature Teens
Writing for younger teens? Visit
Exciting Story Writing Ideas for Early Teens
Cool Story Ideas for Mid-Teens.
For story writing ideas to help you write in a way that gets teens reading, visit
How to Write Stories Kids and Teens Want to Read.
For a step-by-step guide to story writing, visit
How to Write a Book: Creative Story Writing Tips that Work!
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