YA 101: “Bildungsroman” Genre? What the heck is that?

Good morning people weeples.  Happy Friday.  I was supposed to post this topic yesterday, but I forgot to hit the ‘schedule’ button.  Then Tropical Storm Andrea came through which kept my PC in the dark all day (even though I had to drive to work.  Don’t you feel bad for me?  Of course you do.)

First things first.  Pull up a comfy seat and relax.  Here, have a cup of coffee.

cup of coffee  Don’t like coffee?  Here, have some tea.

cup of tea Don’t like tea?  Sorry kiddo. You’re on your own.

Okay, today we’re going to dive into Bildungsroman.  I bet some of you are scratching your heads, wondering what the word even means, much less if your novel falls into this category.  Don’t worry.  Odds are if you’re writing YA, your entire book is based in this genre, or, at the very least, you probably have a touch of it lying on the pages.  What is bildungsroman?  Simply put, it’s a coming-of-age story.  In these stories, (i) the main character portrays his struggles and growth, (2) he must have suffered some loss or discontent to jar him away from home or family at an early stage, (iii) the process of maturity is long, arduous and gradual where there are repeated clashes between the hero’s needs and desires and what society demands of him/her, (iv) in the end, the protagonist discovers himself and asserts himself in society.

Examples of bildungsroman YA novels?

 (that’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower if you can’t read it)


Do you have a MS that fits this category?  Are you ready to submit?  Try the following agency to represent your novel.  They take unsolicited manuscripts, too.

The Greenhouse Literary Agency

Okay, folks, that wraps up today’s post.  I have to go now and get ready for work.  I’m happy, though, as today is  a short day for me.  My youngest graduates from high school tonight.  Where did the time go?

See you, Monday, everyone!  Have a great weekend.

9 thoughts on “YA 101: “Bildungsroman” Genre? What the heck is that?

  1. Interesting word, ‘bildungsroman’. Thanks for explaining what it means. It’s such a broad category and the heart of most YA, since there is usually some personal growth involved. 🙂


  2. Wow! I should have figured there was a genre name for coming of age stories since there are so many of them. Thanks to Tonja for adding the German meaning as well.
    Jenny, since my oldest is graduating from college next weekend, I can only scratch my head, shrug my shoulders and reply, “Time is a swift flowing river, and age is synonymous with rapids.”
    Congratulations. If you’re like me, you’ll need plenty of tissue.


  3. I’d never heard of it, but I was surprised by what it is. The German words (from which it comes) mean educational novel. I guess coming of age works for that. Interesting.


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