Young Adult Novel Guidelines

Download Young Adult Novel Guidelines - Tuscany Prize for Catholic Fiction, share with others, or read below.


Tuscany Press publishes young adult (YA) novels that parents can trust and which young people, ages 12–17, will enjoy and want to read. Our goal is to provide passionate authors an avenue to reach a young adult audience with well-written stories of challenge and growth within a Catholic worldview. Our young adult fiction earns the trust of parents. Please read our "novel guidelines" for an explanation of what makes Catholic fiction. Guidelines for a Tuscany Press Catholic Young Adult Novel:

More than 50,000 words.

  • The protagonist/narrator must be young (between the ages of 12 and 17). The best way to appeal to the YA audience is to present fiction focused through the point of view (POV) of a young protagonist who is in roughly the same age bracket as our target audience. Young adults want to be able to relate to the protagonist.
  • Characters must be well drawn and believable.  The actions and dialogue should be appropriate for the ages of the characters.
  •  The story must contain a Catholic perspective. Our young adult fiction must have characters or heroes that support and exemplify a Catholic worldview. (See our "novel guidelines" for an explanation of what makes Catholic fiction.) The characters may not start out with a Catholic perspective, but should end with a Catholic perspective.  Also, not all characters will have a Catholic perspective.  Good fiction contains conflict.  Young adults understand that not everyone or every action is morally good.

Please note that good Catholic young adult fiction might never mention Christ, the Church, or the faith. Instead, Tuscany Press YA fiction is infused with grace and a morality consistent (through characters and their actions) with Catholic teaching.

  • Tuscany Press YA fiction must be good writing for a YA audience. Young adult fiction is not an excuse for poor writing. Teens don't appreciate (or tolerate) being talked down to. Don't shy away from or sanitize real life. The story must be entertaining. The story must capture readers' imaginations, engage their interest immediately and be well paced throughout the book and chapters.

Please note that one boring (e.g., informational) chapter may lose a reader. Also note that our stories should offer hope. Humorous scenes are not a requirement, but we believe that humor makes a better YA story.

  • Our young adult novels will ideally appeal to both genders and the entire span of our readers' age range. However, it is difficult to write for both boys and girls.  Do not shy away from making the story appeal to either boys or girls.  Remember, if the main protagonist is a boy, then the story will likely appeal to boys.  If the protagonist is a girl, then the story will likely appeal to girls.

A story should have Catholic meaning—that is, small instances of the theme(s) being explored, sprinkled throughout the story, culminating in a Catholic theme that somehow presents a Catholic message or truth that we (and maybe the protagonist) can discover or realize more fully or in a new way.

For more information, please see the Tuscany Press website, the Writers Resources tab on the menu bar: Required Reading for Writers of Catholic Fiction.  We strongly recommend you read Pope John Paul II's Letter to Artists and the recommended books.

At Tuscany Press, we believe the Catholic literary revival is upon us and we invite you to be a part of it.

Note: All submitted manuscripts, not just the prize-winner, are considered for a publishing contract. 

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