1. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92

    Does this change the tone from YA to Adult?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Elgaisma, Nov 23, 2010.

    My nano has been a bit schizophrenic with two veins one clearly YA various historical characters at a boarding school displaced from time. Don't want to lose them though they add a fun comedy element. Bear with me this is complicated.

    Then there is the very adult relationship (not erotic) going on between my 130 year old characters - the tone of the issues involved is not YA.

    Wasn't a problem until the story actually started to turn out well. I had never intended it for anything other than fun.

    Anyway inspired by Torchwood series 3
    with Captain Jack blowing up his grandson to save the whole Earth
    I was wondering if introducing the issue that these children have to go back some of them to terrible ends (Boudicca, Guy Fawkes etc). They have to be replaced in order for my main character to save the universe and return his lover. If I make more of this does that turn my YA element into something more grown up?
     
  2. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    fiction in the upper age range of the YA market deals with all kinds of sensitive issues, even including sex, addiction, and stuff much worse than what you're worried about... so as long as you're not aiming at the younger end of the market, i don't see that you have a problem...
     
  3. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92
    I don't want it to be YA though - the relationship between Socrates/Nate/Fyren/Charles my four main grown up males is more Torchwood than Dr Who or Sarah Jane Adventures. It is what the book hinges on. Whilst the story is chaste enough for a YA to read it.

    The YA element is the children and teenagers in the school. A dating experience between a teenage Merlin and Alice (inspires wonderland), pranks with Einstein, Archimedes and Newton. The Nervous little Chick Darwin. Fiery Joan and Boudicca etc. What I want to know is if I use my MC, make him aware of why he is returning these children and what some of them will face. The emotions involved in effect sacrificing children you have raised as your own. Does that raise the YA element to an adult plot?

    What Captain Jack did in the above spoiler is not something I would be letting my children watch.
     
  4. Melzaar the Almighty
    Offline

    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2010
    Messages:
    1,792
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    UK
    I know a loooot of people who came under "Young Adult" who watched that, though. It's still a huge market, whoever they're actually aiming such stuff at. Young peeps read adult books way beyond their supposed or allowed maturity level all the time. I was reading Stephen King before I was in double digits. The only difference between a young adult novel and an adult novel is that adult novels don't try to make the text accessible to younger readers or make a big deal out of the fact someone might see. Writing with a market in mind is never really a good idea - you could easily damage the integrity of a story by worrying too hard if it's suitable, or if you're trying to write for adults but are too aware of the fact you're using mature themes.

    Really, all I can say is just write a LOT of extremely mature stuff, until you're comfortable with it and know how to handle it. The fact you're even asking shows you're just not comfortable with the themes in the context of your text... Maybe you shouldn't be including them, because the weight of them will overshadow the rest of the writing.

    I know in my own writing, when I was a lot younger, I'd always panic a bit when I started using mature themes and the whole story would derail around them. I couldn't get the whole story to fit because I wasn't used to or comfortable with weaving a dark atmosphere, so I yo-yo'd between stupid light-hearted jokes and characters worrying about superficial things, then OMG RAPE SCENE, then back to the tea parties. There was no sense of threat, really...

    I dunno. Just saying, if you're at all uncertain, it's better to get the practice in, and work on darker themes or dirtier writing in practice forms like short stories or something.
     
  5. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92
    I am thinking more about marketing and the business side than the story side or who will read it with this. My story works and both elements are great. The relationships between the men have a good strong driving element to the story - however I don't think four men, three of whom are over a century old and one who is middle aged will be marketed as a YA book. The scholars at the school are adding a comedic element to lighten what would otherwise be a miserable story. If I split the story elements the School story would be YA. Fact is YA readers watched Torchwood but it was marketed as an adult version (did they do a No Wood version of Children of the Earth?). Dr Who is marketed as a family show and Sarah Jane Adventures is for kids.

    I am not concerned it is more bringing the YA themes into line with the grown up relationship. I am actually very happy with both threads but I am more than halfway through and my thoughts are turning to the rewrite. The story will be at the 100,000 mark so I can market it as an adult fantasy. I may even keep my sex scene if I pull it up to entirely adult.

    It needs to be less schizophrenic or I won't be able to tailor my synopsis and introductory letter. I need to know which agents I can sent it to etc

    If I make the sacrfice a stronger theme then it becomes darker - the YA element becomes more about the man/main character and less about the children involved.

    If I can't market the book there is no point in me rewriting and editing it - I have another (much deeper, darker more adult book) waiting my attention and another to finish the first draft of.
     
  6. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92
    Ok wanted to add have found the plot angle - the YA has taken on an edge that will allow me to sell it as an adult fantasy now just need to find and extrak 20K words lol
     
  7. Top Cat
    Offline

    Top Cat Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2010
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    England
    I agree with Mamamaia.

    Writing for YA or adults is simply a matter of presentation rather than content.

    If you're clever, you could write about anything for a child, for instance. Look at Watership Down, or Animal Farm. Very political, really...exploring tyranny, power, and even genocide, I think...but presented for children. Beats the crap that Pixar and Disney are churning out now which couldn't scare a baby. :D

    I only like to write for adult audiences because I'm rubbish with kids :D, and I like being controversial. It's the only audience you can efficiently write for without the BBFC trying to take you down.
     
  8. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92
    If you are pitching it to a literary agent fact is an older gay male who is having an affair with two other men whilst looking for his lover's soul is not YA. As this is the central core of the book it was never going to be something I could pitch as a childrens book.

    My concern was I had a subplot that had a very YA flavour to it. I hadn't wanted to change it though - there are too many great comedy moments that I didn't want to lose. However a dark turn to it has solved the dilemma.
     
  9. Top Cat
    Offline

    Top Cat Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2010
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    England
    To hell with them! :D I think you should try it...It's about presentation, not content. Your biggest enemy would be reserved conservative homophobes...and the Daily Mail. A good story is a good story :D.

    Of course, I'm afraid this will turn into a flame debate over whether or not it's acceptable to have homosexuality in a children's story...personally, I only think the affair is a potentially hazardous issue. Otherwise, children understand the human need to bond, and love. :-D So write it as a need-for-love story. Plus, I'd love to read that! :D
     
  10. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92
    oh nothing to do with their homosexuality there are plenty of YA books with gay relationships - I love Sprout and the God Box. My first book it is very definitely YA and has two gay couples - my MCs brother and his partner and a couple of older men. However the story revolves around a seventeen year old boy.

    The nature of the relationship and the age of the men involved means I would personally be uncomfortable trying to sell it as a YA book. Not that a YA won't read it or it would have anything they shouldn't. However I wanted to market it as an adult fantasy. What I have done with a couple of scenes I will not now even consider YA. The story answered my question lol
     
  11. Top Cat
    Offline

    Top Cat Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2010
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    England
    Why not just write it as an adult story? :S
     
  12. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92
    I have done - I was writing it as an adult story but it had the boarding school element with Alice in Wonderland and Merlin dating etc which was very YA in its presentation - it was just supposed to be fun.

    I never have a plan to my stories - and this one just had these two stories that didn't seem to meet in the middle until about 10K from the end the plotline clicked into place.
     
  13. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    those were not written/'presented' for children... they were both political novels written for the adult market and only used animals as substitutes for humans, to point up our foibles and fatal flaws...

    though addams did use tales he told his children on long auto trips in crafting the novel, he did so only as a base for a much more seriously-aimed work...

    and orwell certainly didn't have young readers in mind when writing his blatantly 'contre stalin' oeuvre...
     
  14. Top Cat
    Offline

    Top Cat Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2010
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    England
    I'd argue its allegorical nature just makes it all the more accessible to children, as well as adults. It didn't stop the text from getting taught at primary schools. :rolleyes: Or why else did both get adapted numerous times for children's TV?

    So yes - if anything...I agree with you! It is a serious piece of work.
     
  15. Top Cat
    Offline

    Top Cat Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2010
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    England
    I think your mistake is implying that children's fiction -stylistically- is not so serious as adult fiction. Besides...an author's INTENTION is much different from an author's reader-base. Death of the Author, Birth of the Reader (Roland Barthes). He argues a writer's intention is irrelevant to its cultural impact. That such intentions are merely -additional- discourses to the actual text. Such as that story of Addams in his car. It's just another story on top of a story - and doesn't really change a thing...it doesn't change the the audience that were drawn to anthropomorphic, allegorical tales.
     
  16. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92
    He comes from the culture of pantomime - as TopCat says it has been treated very much as a YA novel since its release in the UK - my parents did at school at 11. Like a good pantomime it has elements to appeal to both adult and children.
     
  17. SRCroft
    Offline

    SRCroft Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Messages:
    99
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    Watership Down

    Your right, Watership Down actually won children fiction awards and was marketed to children. Although, like JK Rowling, I would have to believe this was not the author's intention. But, he did allow his publisher to do so. Newsweek and the Economist considered it as a great children story. Kathleen J. Rothen and Beverly Langston identified the work, as one that "subtly speaks to a child."

    I think your story can be layered for both YA and adults, unfortunately, you can only market one way or another. I think most have been marketing YA, and allowing adults to find the challenging depth in their child's stories.
     
  18. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    i implied no such thing... nor would i....
     
  19. Top Cat
    Offline

    Top Cat Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2010
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    England
    My mistake then. :)
     
  20. HorusEye
    Offline

    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,215
    Likes Received:
    48
    Location:
    Denmark
    To my understanding, the YA label has no implication of the level of brutality to be found in the story, but rather what the story assumes the reader to know beforehand.

    A pun, alluding to something out of Karl Marx's early writing, a fleeting reference to fashion trends of the sixties, or the assumption that the reader knows anything about President Truman, or what it's like to combat excessive amounts of nasal hair. Stuff like that makes the book adult, because most people in their late teens or early twenties just don't pick it up or find it interesting.

    I may be wrong, but it's the only consistent difference I see between the two categories.
     

Share This Page