1. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    Style Where's the line with YA and sexual themes

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by doggiedude, Sep 26, 2016.

    I'm working on something new which is intended to be a YA novel. I don't frequently read material for this audience and the ones I have read recently seem to either blatantly ignore normal teenage hormones or they present it with a Disneyesque whitewash. The kids are attracted to each other, they pine for each other, sometimes they kiss, but it all seems a little too chaste for my sense of reality.

    I can recall reading Judy Blume material as a teenager and having some of her stories a bit more over the line. How much is too much for today's readers? More importantly (for my purposes) how much is too much for parents & publishers to accept?

    I have the start of chapter 1 - Shabin - in the critique section & this one is pretty tame. The second chapter gets a little more blatant with MC's desires & I'm not sure if I'm going too far. (I'll post it later today when I get more of it done.)
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Twilight has chastity as its central theme. It's a thing. o_O

    Because you and I come from the decadent, hedonistic old days when bad things were written.

    (Do you remember the waiting list to check out Forever... from the library?)

    ---------------------------------------------

    I don't pretend to know what attracts YA readers or publishers, so take my responses as tongue in cheek.... unless tongue in cheek is a little too forward and we have to go on chaperoned "friend dates" first. :bigwink:
     
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  3. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    You have to let go man. Unless you're getting paid to write a story for a certain audience, do what you have to do to get the story to where you want it.
     
  4. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    In the House of Night series by the Casts, the MC Zoey (17) has all kinds of sexual encounters.

    In one of the first scenes, she witnesses a fellow high school student getting a blow job in the hallway. She loses her virginity to a teacher that's five years older than her, only to later walk in on him and another professor (naked, just finished having sex) talking about how he seduced Zoey for malicious reasons. She has a weird vampiric connection with a human, where the act of drinking blood is an arousing experience, so there's several slightly uncomfortable scenes between her and this guy. She has a relationship with one guy, the weird vampiric relationship with a human, then has sex with another guy later.

    And that's only in the first few books. I didn't finish the series so I don't know how much more graphic it got. But I'd say you're okay to explore a bit. lol


    ETA: Is it weird that I suddenly want to read these books again? o_O
     
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  5. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    To be fair.... the phenomenon of "chaste environs" in lit meant for younger people is nothing new. We didn't really have "YA lit" when I would have been the target audience - at least not as an encapsulated distinct phenomenon the way it is today - but a lot of the stuff I remember reading as a kid was pretty dead from the waist down. OSC managed to have his Ender's Game series go untainted by his soon-to-be-revealed homophobia by making all of the youths as sexless as anatomically blank dolls. You can play mix and mach genders with any of the characters in that series and it doesn't change the story one bit. These kids should be right on the cusp of perfectly normal hormonal overload and yet... nothing.
     
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  6. NiallRoach
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    NiallRoach Contributing Member

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    YA can go pretty far. I can the sense I might be pushing it in the novel mentioned in my sig, but not for the presence of sex.
    Pretty much anything acceptable in adult is fair play in YA
     
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  7. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    It depends on the publisher, marketing, etc., but there really isn't a line for YA.

    Try doing a search for "edgy YA" and find some books by authors who are writing less "clean" stuff. Lots of sex, addictions, self-harm... all kinds of drama.
     
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  8. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    Yea, I'm getting the idea that my idea of over the line for YA is way short of what's already on the market.
     
  9. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yes. Depends on what you have read. There's nothing thematically over the line in YA. I've read YA that tackle sex, including scenes with blowjobs, drugs, people prostituting themselves for drugs, sexual violence, suicide, murder, etc. That stuff is all there in YA fiction.
     
  10. Kinzvlle
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    Kinzvlle Active Member

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    Like others have said you have you're pg YA then you have things like Monument 14 or Looking For Alaska that have quite a few mentions of under the belt action even if there's only one real scene of it for the later. The former.....has some scenes in it that sparked some heated words on Goodreads. More on the way it handled a certin thing, and the whole creepy peeping tom thing then it`s YA rating. Still, if a book can have that stuff and still get published as YA you should be good.
     

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