1. PaulKemp24
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    PaulKemp24 Member

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    My book is homeless

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by PaulKemp24, Dec 24, 2012.

    I wasn't sure which forum would be the best place to ask this so please excuse me/redirect me if this is not the appropriate place...

    I have a novel in the works and I am unsure of which genre it really fits into. It's about 36k words right now and I expect it to be probably just over 40k when the first draft is finished. Being that low on word count, does that place it into YA? I was shooting for around 50K but I feel like I've told the story and anything more would just be unnecessary unless I added another plot twist or something.

    My main character is 18 years old and someone told me that automatically makes it young adult. Is this true? If so, are there exceptions?

    There is (underage) drinking, smoking, minor mentions of drug use, a small amount of sex (not graphic by any means), an affair and a fight scene. So there are plenty of adult themes. However, the overall plot is more likened to a teen fiction. (I began writing the book intending it to be an adult novel but the plot and character development evolved during the writing and it now has the feel of a teen novel)

    There are a small handful of curse words, including the f word (maybe 5 times total). Do s*** and f*** appear in teen novels?

    So given the evidence, is this YA? Do many teen novels contain cuss words and adult themes while being a little short on word count? I feel like the word count actually suits middle grade fiction but the themes are more adult. Help! Thanks much :)
     
  2. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    That - especially the fact that it involves being "under age" - certainly looks like YA to me. These can be but are not necessarily "adult" themes, it depends. If you're talking a character addicted to alcohol, yeah sure that's probably more adult. If you're talking someone going behind his parents' back to sneak a drink in a pub, or learning to control his alcohol intake while dealing with peer pressure that all his friends are drinking, then it's definitely YA. It depends on how these issues are dealt with - their nature itself does not obviously and immediately categorise them into a certain age group. Plenty of teenagers smoke, drink and have sex nowadays.
     
  3. johann77
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    johann77 Member

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    It's better your book be homeless, than you homeless.
     
  4. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    Only you can answer this question, and the question to ask is, who do you see your readers as being? Certainly there are a number of features in what you've described that would suggest it would appeal more to the young adult reader, the age of the protagonist for example. But also ask youself other questions to help. What's the reading age of the book? Are there themes in it that would appeal to a younger or older audience? Is the violence, sex and swearing too much for a younger audience? Without reading the book I don't think anyone here could really give you a complete answer.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes to all but the word count, as it is on the low side for the upper range of the YA market, which is where having an 18 year old protagonist puts it...

    so, given that 'old' an m/c, you may want to consider taking a good look at it and seeing if more description, a couple more scenes, or whatever can be added, to bump it up a tad...

    that said, a lot will also depend on how it's written... did you tailor the writing, vocabulary, et al. to young readers, or to YA ones, or adults?...
     
  6. PaulKemp24
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    PaulKemp24 Member

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    Thanks to all who took the time to chime in. As I'm not hugely familiar with YA novels I'm going to check out my library tomorrow to open up some YA stuff and get a feel for the writing. This is only the first draft so I can certainly adapt to the style if need be. After reading your input I think YA is where this belongs.

    One more question though... Is there a difference between YA and upper grade fiction? Or is that more or less the same thing?

    Thanks again and merry christmas!
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i've never come across an 'upper grade' designation, though there is an 'MG' one...

    YA usually covers ages 12-13 to 18, though some publishers take it up to 20... within that, there is a variable sub-range of 'lower' and 'upper' YA, since the entire range is so wide that it includes barely teenagers and almost-adults...
     
  8. PaulKemp24
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    PaulKemp24 Member

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    Thanks. I think my story now has a home for the holidays :)
     

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