1. Fernando.C
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    Fernando.C Active Member

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    Young Adult Confused whether my novel should be categorized as ya

    Discussion in 'By the Genre' started by Fernando.C, Aug 18, 2015.

    Here's the deal, I'm writing a fantasy novel. When I began I meant it to be a YA novel but as I progressed with the story I'm not so sure it's appropriate for YA anymore. There are lots of elements in it that might be too much for Young adult readers. for example one of my main characters has been severely abused - mentally, physically and sexually - for several years when she was younger and it has, as you can imagine, had a drastic effect on her personality and the choices she has made in her life ever since then. She's also bisexual - and no her sexuality has nothing to do with the abuse she endured.
    There's gonna be sex scenes in my book for sure - nothing graphical but still. There's also going to be some swearing, not too much, but enough - I'm staying away from 'fuck' and other swear words at its level of course but 'shit' , 'damn', 'hell', 'ass' and the like are fair game.
    Also there's lots of violence - this a vampire novel - and I can't nor I want to cut back on any violence as I think it's necessary for a vampire novel and most importantly for the kind of story I wanna tell.
    I forgot to mention by the way that I have four protagonists for this novel two of whom are teenagers (16 and 17 at the beginning of the story) and the other two are adults.
    So what do you think? Could my novel still fit into the Young Adult framework? Or should I just forget about YA and go for Adult?
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    All of that stuff is found in YA novels. It is more defined by the age of the protagonist, although unless you are self-publishing the publisher will generally decide how to categorize it for marketing purposes.
     
  3. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I'm immediately reminded of the Fearless series by Francine Pascale. The main protagonist is a 17 year old but many of the main characters are adults, there is a lot of violence and fighting scenes, some swearing and some sex scenes, although they are more of the 'curtain closes as they lean in for a kiss' kind of thing. Fearless was definitely YA. I also read a YA book a few years ago, since my husband bought it for me without realising it was targeted at teens, and it had some fairly violent and sexual content in it.

    So I would say it's definitely not outside the realms of YA.

    I was going to say that I didn't think many adults would be interested in a story about teenaged vampires, but then I remembered Twilight... ;)
     
  4. Fernando.C
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    Fernando.C Active Member

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    Thanks that helps. One of my worries is that my publisher my might force some changes to the novel like insisting on a romantic plot line - there's no romance in my novel and I want to keep it that way - or some other changes like this to make it more YA-friendly. Do you think this is a valid concern?
     
  5. Fernando.C
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    Fernando.C Active Member

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    I kinda disagree with this statement. Vampires can be very interesting and intriguing subjects if done right. Twilight even though I'm a fan of it, is more of a romance novel with a vampiric twist rather than a vampire novel. I mean there's hardly any violence in it.
    Vampires in my opinion are dark, violent and sexy creatures. Actually their tendency for violence goes hand in hand with their thirst for sex. This statement is true even for the good vampires. If you do it right and represent vampire as the dangerous and scary creatures that they are even as they are irresistible and alluring, I can't imagine people of any age group not wanting to read your story.
    Sorry for rambling on but I'm kind of passionate about vampires :p
     
  6. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    You're exactly right, I was just kidding!
     
  7. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    It can happen. I know someone whose publisher forced romance changes to her novel so they could market it as romance, but ultimately you don't have to sign the deal. You can tell them to take a hike.
     
  8. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    My own feeling is you have two choices here.

    1) You can read about what's 'acceptable' in a YA novel these days, and stick to the formula of do's and don'ts. No problem. Not much originality, maybe, but you should be able to sell it as YA if you've written it well.

    2) You can forget what's acceptable as YA and just write what you want. See what you end up with. And THEN decide who to market it to. You might decide you don't want to write YA novels after all.
     
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  9. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    @jannert I think that's an outdated view of YA. Pretty much anything flies these days, and in a lot of ways YA authors are more willing to push boundaries than others. Take a look at some of what is out there nowadays and I think you'll find a lot more originality than in other areas.
     
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  10. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Fair enough. But then what's the issue? If anything goes, then ...anything goes! Hooray! That's great. So it's just what will appeal to a YA audience, not whether the book contains 'unsuitable' material? (I'm sure they will love sex, bad language and dark, horrible creatures! :))
     
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  11. Christine Ralston
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    Christine Ralston Active Member

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    Everything you mentioned, teens deal with in real life, so why can't they read about it? I think the YA genre has become far more liberal about what's allowed between the covers...they get plenty of exposure to it elsewhere anyway. So if you feel that teens will enjoy your book, then I wouldn't hesitate to market it toward them.
     
  12. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, for the most part. I've read YA/Teen novels with sexual intercourse, blowjobs, drug use, sex for drugs, suicide, and so on. These are all pretty heavy topics that crop up in YA/Teen these days. I'm not sure there is any subject matter that is per se off limits in YA/Teen.
     
  13. Sifunkle
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    Sifunkle Dis Member

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    Apologies if I'm hijacking the thread, but I've wondered similar.

    Approaching from the opposite direction, how young would your target audience have to be for you to avoid certain material/language? There probably are no solid answers, as I expect it varies with the material/language and cultural background of the audience, but let's hear your points-of-view.

    I'd like to write something to entertain adults, but wish to make it accessible to as young an audience as possible without compromising the material. When I was a kid I was usually unimpressed with the material marketed to me, and would have appreciated more mature alternatives that didn't cross lines (I'd probably have loved the line-crossing; parents, teachers, etc, less so).

    One method I intend to use is to only allude to more controversial stuff (so only readers already familiar with the ideas will connect the dots), but that only works for non-plot-integral elements. At some point I'll have to decide the cut-off for what's directly mentioned and the language used. Alternatively, I could retarget my audience, but then I've failed at my goal.

    Based on this, by current plans I'm writing for 'tweens' (genre?) and hoping that it will also appeal to older readers. However, I chose a young protagonist because I figured that would maximise familiarity (i.e. adults have all been kids, but kids have not yet been adults); the focus is not 'tween issues'. I'd have estimated the lower bound of my target audience as an intelligent/mature ten-year-old (hopefully no upper bound, but perhaps that's not realistic).

    That's the idea anyway. Maybe it's a bad one by the 'you can't please 'em all' principle.
     
  14. Fernando.C
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    Fernando.C Active Member

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    I don't doubt teens will enjoy my book and I would love to be able to tell this story to them with all of the previously- mentioned elements in it. My worry was that whether or not the publishers would allow such things in a YA novel, but if as you and the others said, YA has become liberal enough for this sort of materials then awesome! problem solved!
     

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