1. naturemage
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    naturemage Active Member

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    PG? PG13? Teen? Young adult?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by naturemage, Dec 7, 2011.

    Hello everyone, I'm a new member here at writing forums. I had a question that I'm a little concerned with.
    I am in the process of editing a story I've been writing. I would like to get it published, once I get an agent and complete all that stuff.
    However, I'm a bit concerned that one scene in my story will change the reader-base.
    Much of the story could easily be read by preteens (at least in my opinion). There are some things they have to deal with (one death at the beginning, bullying, and suggested abuse). Other things are a little on edge (attempted suicide, actual abuse, and suggested sexual things).
    The scene I am most worried about is this: the main character and a female friend go to a party, where they get drunk and wake up together in the same bed, naked. I describe the clothing on the floor, but I am worried this is a bit too much. I have not read the Twilight series, though I'm told by my wife there is a sex scene in it. That is read by preteens, but I am still unsure what is appropriate for age levels. I would like to have my story appeal to preteens, teens, and young adults. There is suggested rape as well (it's a rough story at times). I'm not sure if I should tone back the bed scene, or just stop the "suggestive" stuff and make the story "grow up."
    Please tell me your thoughts. Also, if you have guidelines of themes that can be put into age levels, that would be a great help.
     
  2. Kayla Jones
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    Kayla Jones New Member

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    Hi, I am actually a teenager. Your book sounds like it would be under young adult if you kept the sex scene.
    But if you left it out then it would most likely be a 13-16 yrs old age group.
    When you finish the book, I want to read it, sounds VERY interesting.
     
  3. picklzzz
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    picklzzz Senior Member

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    I cannot really answer your question, but if you're targeting audiences of a particular age, why not read other popular books that also target that age? I know Judy Blume wrote a racier "teen" book back in my day called "Forever", and we couldn't wait to read it! I remember putting the book inside of another so my mother wouldn't know I was reading it. It was definitely targeted for 13 - 16, and this was back in the 80's, and it was really racy. At least for me at the time. I just think you'd get a much better feel for what is appropriate if you familiarize yourself with books for that age group.
     
  4. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    There are many YA books that deal with sex and rape. I don't have teenage daughters but several of my friends won't let there daughters (14-15-16) read books with sex or rape. Although I also know parents who wouldn't care that their 10-11-12-13 year old daughter read stuff like that.

    I would mention boys here but my sons would never pick up that kind of book. My oldest said about my book that it was a perfectly good plot ruined by romance. (can you feel the love in his comment? cause if you can, then you read it wrong.) So since I don't know any boys who would read that kind of book I don't have any thoughts in regards to them.

    Oh and the Twilight book that has a sex scene, they are married and the scene only leads up to it, it doesn't go porographic. It's a very clean sex scene.
     
  5. naturemage
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    naturemage Active Member

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    I suppose it's not too bad of a sex scene. It's just suggestive of them having done something. I'll make it easier on everyone. Also, what are your thoughts on cursing, since I'd forgotten there is some in the book.

    Alex woke up to the warm sun on his back. His head hurt some, but he felt relaxed and somewhat refreshed. As he stretched, he realized two things: he wasn’t covered, and he wasn’t alone in the bed. He was also a bit worried now.
    “Psst,” he said, nudging the girl lying in front of him.
    “Hm?”
    “Wake up. I… uh…”
    He looked across the room. The door was shut and locked, and Alex started hoping he was dreaming when he saw the floor. At the door was most of his clothing, save for his boxers that were hanging on one of the corners of the bed. The rest of the clothing on the floor was what really worried him: a black dress, knee highs, stilettos, and a pair of black panties.
    “What’s wrong,” the girl asked.
    “I hope less than I’m thinking.”
    Kerry sat up, and Alex saw a bit more than he wanted to. She looked around and turned towards him. He immediately covered his eyes.
    “What?”
    He blindly pointed to the floor.
    “Whoa!”
    He felt Kerry get up in a panic. “Don’t look!”
    “I won’t, I promise.”
    He heard her getting dressed frantically. “Did we…”
    “I don’t know,” he said, still keeping his eyes covered. “I mean,” he peeked at the covers on the bed. “There’s no blood.”
    Kerry sighed, frustrated. “That doesn’t mean anything. Greg and I already…”
    “Oh, right. How are we going to find out?”
    “You can look now,” she said, tossing his clothing onto the bed. “I don’t know. Is there a condom anywhere?”
    He looked around as he put his boxers on under the covers. “I don’t see one.”
    “Shit. Well… I suppose we’ll find out in a week then.”
    Alex turned to her, wide-eyed. “Do you realize the trouble…”
    “I know. Let’s just not think about it right now, and we’ll wait to see what happens.”
    He nodded, putting the rest of his clothing on.
     
  6. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    A sex scene is a scene in which there is sex. If there's no actual sex in the scene, it's not a sex scene. There might be sex in the story, but there's no sex scenes.

    Really, I think the difference comes down to language. And I'm not talking about vocabulary barriers. Think about Harry Potter, for example. The language gets a bit stronger, as do the themes, as it goes on, but they still don't swear at the end. I mean, it mentions stuff like, "Harry cursed."
    Basically, if you've got explicit material - swearing, fucking, gore, whatever - then you've got adult fiction. If you don't, then you take it to the matter of themes. If there's any sense that it's glorifying immoral material - drug-taking, fucking, whatever - then you're liable to end up back in adult fiction. You can get away with more now than you used to be able to with young adult stuff. Death is a lot more... acceptable, I suppose you'd say.
     
  7. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi, naturemage. Is the scene you wrote the one from the story? If so, I don't see a problem. You already say there are "suggested sexual things", and I'd say the scene falls under that. I mean they only woke up together (naked in the same bed, but still), so you didn't include the actual sex-part. Right now I don't even know if there was a sex-part at all. And maybe it's just me, but how is suggested sexual things any worse than actual abuse and a suicide-attempt? (as you say you included?)
     
  8. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    I respectfully disagree. :)
    Naturemage referred to the sex scene in Twilight and I've heard lots of people refer to it that way. There are a number of scenes out there that can be referred to as sex scenes that don't necessarily go into any detail about the actual act. They lead up to it and then the scene is over or it might show them lying in bed afterwards.
    Perhaps it would help if put quotes on the words "sex scene"?
     
  9. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree that a sex scene doesn't have to go into any detail, but if the story stops before sex and starts again after it then the sex scene has very decidedly been omitted.
     
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  10. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm glad you disagree respectfully, and I must do the same right back. I have to say, just because a lot of people refer to something, it doesn't make it correct. A vast majority of the people I personally know who read Twilight are not exactly the most intellectually stimulating people. They are, for want of better people, ignorant. See below.

    And this is exactly right.
     
  11. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    The majority of people I know who read Twilight are pretty smart people. Maybe you need to develop a better class of associates, or consider the possibility that you're not a very good judge of intelligence.
     
  12. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    No one refered to the scene:

    I would rate it PG13, or more specifically, 11 and up.
    You avoid graphic details and descriptions, so its not a porno scene, the characters are avoiding each other so the lack of descriptions is not a problem.

    "He looked across the room. The door was shut and locked,..."
    is this his room? I can't tell if my door is locked from a distance, I know its to add to the concern that something happened.
    I guess with certain latches you can tell or unless he has a padlock on his door for privacy. Most bedroom locks are internal rather then a deadbolt.

    Just a weakness in the story line. Might describe how he knows, the latch is in the locked position, the deadbolt visible in the crack of the door.

    "Oh, my gosh the doors locked."
    "How can you tell?"
    "I don't know, its in the script."
     
  13. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    If you find an agent and/or place it with a publisher, chances are the publisher is going to make the call on this. If they feel the scene pulls it out of the best target market, they may ask you to remove it. It is well within YA/Teen standards, however, and if that reflects the target market (which is a lucrative one) I suspect they'll leave it alone. Not something I'd worry too much about at this stage.
     
  14. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    Although I should mention that there is some ambiguity about precisely what comprises sex -- an issue that a former US president famously explored.
     
  15. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is why I said the people I personally know. It's also why I called them people and not associates or friends. I know the people, but they're acquaintances. I also didn't mention intelligence. I said they were not intellectually stimulating people. This is not a comment on their intelligence. It's a comment on the way they use their intelligence.
     
  16. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Aha. Interesting distinction. Which leads me to wonder how in our normal interactions we can judge intelligence other than by observing how people use it. But I don't want to derail the thread :)
     
  17. naturemage
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    naturemage Active Member

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    cruciFICTION: it does contain strong themes, as would the rest of the series, if it gets there. Granted, the themes are more of the backstory to the fantasy part of it, but they are very strong, very serious themes: abuse, runaways, kidnapping, rape, sex trafficking. I kind of made it to be a look into what people are missing, things they choose to ignore so they can live their everyday life.
    AmyHolt: I believe the quotes help.
    SeverinR: I appreciate the input. As for the locked door, I do see your point, and it would not be visible. But for the sake of the scene, the two characters are in an unfamiliar house.
    Steerpike: You make a good point, however the scene is crucial to the future plot. It makes a difference to Alex’s future love (which is not Kerry).
    Finally, to those of you turning this thread into an argument, take it somewhere else. I came here to get some help, I can watch television dramas on television.
     
  18. Caldenfor
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    Caldenfor Member

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    I put two sentences in bold that I felt wouldn't be accurate to the true nature of a male, especially in that situation. More than he wanted to? Did he find her ugly?

    Sorry to nitpick, but they stood out to me.

    That would certainly fall into a young adult book from what I could see. I wouldn't really want pre-teens reading about the adult items, less worried about the situation itself. They may be too young to fully understand what is being described though, so who knows.
     
  19. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think they're entirely credible for a male, given the embarrassment and awkwardness of the situation. Stuff that a male might not bat an eyelid at on the internet or in a magazine can take on a whole new dimension when it's the real flesh and blood of somebody you know. Some males might not be bothered, but if Alex has any respect for Kerry, and especially if he actually likes her as a person, then he probably will be.
     
  20. Caldenfor
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    Caldenfor Member

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    I suppose knowing more about the characters would be of value =0 An embarrassing situation of which I have no personal experience with, but it just seemed odd in the limited context that I had.
     
  21. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    I agree. All my friends that have read Twilight are all in their thirties or damn close. Needless to say, they are all intelligent people with careers.

    I think the problem is that he only interacts with teenagers. Which is fine, he is one. But I completely agree lumping in all the Twilight readers into one based off of his interactions with his teenage friends is complete hogwash.
     
  22. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    I would give this a PG-13 rating and I see no problem with this in a YA novel.
     
  23. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    Haha, nice. That made my day.

    But jokes aside, Clinton wasn't all that bad. :(
     
  24. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    I agree.
     
  25. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    I once again agree. You are on a roll today. ;)
     

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