I recently critiqued a batch of stories written by a writing class.
The writers could be divided into two specific groups:
- Those who had just left secondary school and moved into tertiary education. Ages ranged from about eighteen to twenty, and
- Mature-age students who had been out in the workforce/world for some time. Their ages ranged from early thirties to mid-fifties.
The stories submitted by the mature-age students ranged from thrillers to fantasy to slice-of-life. Some were funny, some were racy. There was even one semi-horror. Even so, they were all relatively light in tone.
Every single person in the younger group, however, wrote black, bleak stories from real life where the protagonist ended up getting killed, or beaten up, or raped. Or all three. Without exception.
No wonder dystopian fiction is such a hit in the young adult genre nowadays.