Once again, this post is somewhat linked to the two prior to it, so it must be pretty clear by now that my thoughts are actually behaving somewhat coherently. That makes quite a change.
I don’t read many Young Adult novels, but for some reason, I’ve thought about it more often than once this week. Just this week. I don’t know if this is my brain’s way of telling me that I need to start toning down the things I write, or whether it is just born of the undeniable fact that I have yet to come up with a truly marketable idea. I’m nineteen. I wouldn’t say I’ve actually experienced anything remotely resembling adulthood just yet. Is it really time to start writing what I know?
I’ll bite. I avoid the risk of having hapless self-inserts in all of my stories by writing middle-aged males. It’s cheap and it doesn’t necessarily make for good reading material, not because there’s anything wrong with a middle-aged male lead, but because there’s a level of authenticity that is, quite simply, missing. It’s the Hollywood ideology of what it’s like to be turning forty, not what it’s really like … not that I’d know much about the latter, other than what I’ve observed. Not experienced.
Yet, my speed isn’t exactly writing sixteen-year-old girls filled with angst either. This is not a generalization of all YA Novels, just a generalization of myself. If I am truly to write what I know than the end result is not likely to be any more readable than if I wrote what I do not know. It would probably be more insufferable than most badly written fanfiction, and nobody wants to read that … or at least, nobody with a sound knowledge of the English language wants to read that.
So then, what about a horror story aimed at the 13 – 19-yer-old demographic? What could possibly go wrong there? Aside from the fact that if I give myself an inch of rope I’m likely to take a mile and damn, don’t I know it; the end result would probably be American Psycho: For Teens. The prospect of that alone is deeply unsettling as well as bizarre enough to make me want to contemplate it further before destroying any hope I might have had of sleeping tonight. I don’t think I’ll be taking that one any further.
Of course, my sure fire formula for success would be to write a supernatural teen romance. Aside from the fact that I can’t stand the idea of that so vehemently I might never write again, that’s a winning idea, isn’t it?
The bottom line is this: lots of drama, lots of conflict. I can’t resist the two. When omitting the fantasy violence, assassinations, street fights, blood sports and premeditated murders, what is left is a lot of conflict between characters safely rooted in a somewhat ‘real’ environment (in some cases). Perhaps I need to strip away the veneer of depravity and start getting my message across in a different way. A constant theme is that everyone or everything has a dark side. Apparently, my writer self isn’t much about seeing the inherent good in people, and I won’t go into the reasons why this seems to manifest itself on the page, because it stands to reason that people, the people I’m writing, can show their worst side without having to use knives and guns.
Unfortunately, that teen demographic is still a long way off. We don’t want to go giving the young ones a warped world view now, do we?