1. Crimson Dragon
    Offline

    Crimson Dragon Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2013
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    2

    Two questions about a story idea i have...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Crimson Dragon, May 16, 2013.

    I have an idea for a book aimed at older children/younger teens(think like anywhere from ages 10-14, perhaps a tad lower) that deals with some very...serious themes. Mainly genocide, racial discrimination, environmental issues and other forms of enforced tyranny and inequality. Of course, it does this through "anthro/furry" characters, and a setting with both sci-fi tech and magic and a way that makes it understandable to it's target audience. However, I fear that such themes may just be "too much" for it's target, especially since the main characters become involved in and whitness some rather horrific things. I'm not talking blood and guts, but they get to see the nastiness of the themes mentioned firsthand, and as a result I'm just not sure if what I'm writing is just too much for it's target audience. To mitigate this issue, I considered re-vamping the idea into a YA story, but the issue with that is whether or not the "furry/anthro animal" characters would be too kiddie/a turn off for older teens? If you all could address these questions I'd greatly appreciate it.

    So. just to sum things up for people, my questions are thus..

    1) Is it ok to have a story aimed at older children that focuses on issues such as genocide, racial discrimination, environmental destruction and other "serious" issues and depicts them in a very intimate though not "blood and guys" way?

    2) Is there a market in YA for stories about anthropomorphized animals/"furries" or are they just too much of a turnoff for older teens?

    Answers to both these questions would be appreciated.

    EDIT: Please excuse the lower case "i" in the title. I was on the phone when I typed this and realized too late that I made a typo in the title. I apologize.
     
  2. erebh
    Offline

    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Messages:
    2,620
    Likes Received:
    467
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    It seems to me you have your story in mind and only softened it with stuffed animals to minimise kiddie trauma so why not go back to your original and more grown up characters for your YA audience?

    Anyway, there's not much in your story that kids don't see on the news everyday. Unless you have graphic sex scenes you haven't mentioned above...
     
  3. Crimson Dragon
    Offline

    Crimson Dragon Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2013
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    2
    There is no sex scenes, that's not the focus of the story. Also, the story was always planned to be with furries/anthro animals. That was the issue with it. I feared that the simple fact that the characters where anthro animals would turn off an older audience, so I considered softening the story and significantly changing the narrative to make it work for older children rather then teens specifically because I wanted this story to feature anthro anima/furry characters. Hence why I asked question 2. I simply cannot have this world and setting have human characters. It was designed with anthro animals in mind. The only way I could possibly work humans into it would be to have one side of the conflict be human and the other side be anthro, but if that was done we'd have a human + anthro romance going on which, IMO, may be even more of a turnoff then every character being an anthro animal.
     
  4. heal41hp
    Offline

    heal41hp Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
    Messages:
    225
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    Oklahoma, USA
    Great questions! I applaud your desire to present these very serious themes to a younger audience. I could rail on about that but you need to go to YouTube and look up Doug Walker's review of The Hunger Games. He focuses a lot on the mature themes the movie (and book) presents to its younger audience and broaches the subject of how we as a society have started sheltering our children too much and aren't respecting their maturity and intelligence. I really respect Doug's insight and I think this will do you wonders.

    As for your question about furries, there is actually a very strong subculture that includes people of all ages and all levels of intensity. They are very popular, with increasing popularity I think (based on my observation of frequency of art submitted to the art community deviantART and its popularity). Also, I think My Little Ponies has been reintroduced to the media (I don't watch TV so I'm just going off what I've seen on dA) and has gained quite the following among girls and boys of the teen to pre-teen age groups. It's not quite the same thing as furries, sure, but there's a lot of overlap with the fans. So to get to the point, I don't think you'll have any problem at all transferring this idea to a YA genre. :)
     
  5. shlunka
    Offline

    shlunka Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2013
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Virginia
    Sex scenes could be a great addition. I personally adore reading novels that have the romantic evenings that make me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside.
     
  6. hippocampus
    Offline

    hippocampus Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2012
    Messages:
    136
    Likes Received:
    5
    Well, not to beat a dead horse, but Harry Potter has themes of death of parents and friends, betrayal, evil people/beings, murder, serious bullying, etc.. It all depends on how it's written.
     
  7. Crimson Dragon
    Offline

    Crimson Dragon Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2013
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    2
    Yeah, and the fact that a major plot point in the original story was a romance between two characters on different sides of the conflict may demand that such a thing happen, though it would most likely be a "fade to black" affair depending on the age group I go for. I still worry that the "anthro animals" thing may scare off a lot of readers, thinking it to be too childish, but I just can't see humans working in this setting without eliminating one of the most potent parts of the narrative. You see, the two "sides" in the conflict are a colonizing force and the "natives" of the world to be colonized. The catch is that both the capitalist-imperialist colonizing faction and the natives are made of members of the exact same species(anthro animals) yet they each treat the members of the other side as some kind of foreign "other." In fact, they even come from the same world. The capitalist-imperialist faction had been the "original" civilization of the world but had polluted the planet so much that those who could fled, fearing that their planet was unable to sustain their civilization any longer. Most of those left after the mass exodus died off, but a few survived and eventually came to form the "native" civilization which was more egalitarian and eco-frendly then the previous. Eventually, the capitalist-imperialist faction had gotten the notion that they should re-claim their home, but when they returned they where surprised to find a civilization very different from their own but made up of those just like them. The irony is both factions are the same exact species, yet act as if the other side is a different race entirely. It is meant to comment on the absurdity of racism, and if I make one side human the story just becomes a typical alien invasion plot rather then commentary about racism.

    EDIT: Hippocampus ninja'ed me. Sorry about that.
     
  8. heal41hp
    Offline

    heal41hp Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
    Messages:
    225
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    Oklahoma, USA
    I, personally, am not a furry/anthro fan but that sounds like a very interesting plot. Depending on how long the capitalist-imperialists were gone, though, there might have been enough genetic drift to make them different species (we humans are 96% genetically the same as chimps and 98.7% the same as bonobos but of course that speciation took millions of years). The culture clash here sounds like it'll be fun to explore (among other things of course)!
     
  9. Xatron
    Offline

    Xatron Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2013
    Messages:
    576
    Likes Received:
    6
    Your idea sounds interesting but it doesn't seem like something you would want to pitch to an audience of the ages you talked about. Kids at age 10 don't know about genocides, don't want to know about genocides and don't need to know about genocides.
     
  10. chicagoliz
    Offline

    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 30, 2012
    Messages:
    3,295
    Likes Received:
    815
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    This has also resulted in the scary and disturbing phenomenon of bronies.
     
    1 person likes this.
  11. heal41hp
    Offline

    heal41hp Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
    Messages:
    225
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    Oklahoma, USA
    At what age do you think this is an appropriate subject? When should kids be allowed to learn about these darker aspects of the world they're a part of?
     
  12. chicagoliz
    Offline

    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 30, 2012
    Messages:
    3,295
    Likes Received:
    815
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Lots of kids learn about the Holocaust at this age or even younger. There are even children's picture books set during the Holocaust.

    Especially if the story has these fantastical elements, it may very well be okay -- perhaps you should just write it the way you feel it should be written and see how it plays out. It may be that your story could appeal to younger readers, but many of the themes will be over their heads, but it would be best enjoyed by slightly older readers or even adults who do understand the underlying themes.
     
    1 person likes this.
  13. Xatron
    Offline

    Xatron Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2013
    Messages:
    576
    Likes Received:
    6

    They learn about the Holocaust as a fairy tale, the way they learn about Genghis Khan or Alexander the Great. They don't actually learn specifics about what happened during the Holocaust or how it happened. A book exclusively dealing with that theme is a very different thing.
     
  14. Xatron
    Offline

    Xatron Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2013
    Messages:
    576
    Likes Received:
    6
    The average 13 year old can't understand the gravity of words like genocide or tyranny and probably won't understand them fully even if someone explains them. If you expose them to something that needs to be understood in depth but they can't understand it deeply enough it is likely that it will stick with them.
     
  15. chicagoliz
    Offline

    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 30, 2012
    Messages:
    3,295
    Likes Received:
    815
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Not in many of the books I've seen.
     
  16. Crimson Dragon
    Offline

    Crimson Dragon Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2013
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    2
    Ok, if I shouldn't soften the story to market to kids is there room for it as YA? I fear that the anthro characters may be just too much of a turn off for the YA audience, but, again, I can't envision this story without them. Do any of you think that there is a market in YA for a story with anthro characters or are they just "too childish" for the YA audience?
     
  17. jazzabel
    Offline

    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    4,273
    Likes Received:
    1,666
    It think it's a very admirable and noble idea you have. Oscar Wilde once said that if an idea is not dangerous, it's not worthy of being called an idea at all.
    I say you write it exactly what is your heart, worts and all, and you might have a chance at creating literary history. Best of luck!
     
  18. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    cd...
    get richard adams' 'watership down' and george orwell's 'animal farm' from the library and read them... then go ahead and write the story you envision!

    don't worry about a target market at this point... if it's well written, it will find its own...

    love and hugs, maia
     
  19. Ashes
    Offline

    Ashes New Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2013
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Minnesota, USA
    I grew up reading a lot of YA stories with darker themes, though each of them tended to have only a handful. I think a big part of your balancing act will be clearly demonstrating all those themes in a book that's the right length and tone for your audience.

    As for anthros, I think there's a niche market. Give it an honest try and see, though.
     

Share This Page