Louisa May Alcott Didn’t Want to Write YA

If you've watched the movie version of "Little Women," you know that Jo wrote stories of murder, revenge, passion and crime. So did Louisa May Alcott as a young writer. That's what she always wanted to write about. But when her family fell on hard time, she had to write something that would sell. That's how she got into the YA literature game...and that's the stuff that she didn't like writing.


Louisa May Alcott was around 35 when her editor told her to try writing a book for girls, rather than the crime-laden tales she preferred to pen. Alcott wouldn't have followed his advice, but her family was in dire financial straits. Her father had squandered most of the family's wealth, and they were suffering.

So, she wrote "Little Women" in order to make a little money. Louisa May Alcott ended up making a lot of money because of that book, and sold many copies. The popularity of the books demanded sequels, and that's what editors wanted from her.

Louisa May Alcott wrote the book so she could make some money. Undoubtedly, she hoped that she could go back to writing her thrilling tales of death and murder after "Little Woman" brought in a few bucks. Instead, she wrote three sequels to the original story and continued writing YA for the rest of her career.

She hated it.

Louisa May Alcott learned a lesson that many other authors also learn: you can’t always get what you want. Even when things work out, they might not really, really work out. Alcott wrote more books in her career, books for adults, but they never reached the same popularity as her material for younger readers. Today she’s remembered by young girls everywhere, and her most iconic story is still the stuff of literary legend. But if all her dreams had actually come true, the world would know Louisa May Alcott as a writer of tough crime fiction.

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