Jul 7, 2011

Wannabe Writers #57 (Drugs, sex, cursing)

Wannabe Writers is my Internet writing group.  Basically, my posts are about my current writing progress, my problems, and any questions I need help answering. If you've created a similar post of your own lately, feel free to link in the comments.

Where I am in the writing process: Unpublished! So, I've decided to continue speed writing through my ELIXIR novel--my mermaid novel--for the time being.  My goal this summer was to finish a first draft and so that's what I'm going to force myself to continue doing.  I'm at 50.8K.  Originally I figured it would be about 60K long, but the way it's look it might be closer to 70-80K.  So, I still have a long way to go.
My current problem(s):  I guess just getting back into the flow of a writing schedule.  Also, I've been reading romance novels lately (those are my ideal beach books) and it's made me wonder...

My question(s) this week: Drugs and sex and language.  How much is too much in Young Adult?

6 comments:

Kelsey said...

Drugs - I really don't think there's a 'too much' for that in YA. Kids are dealing with drugs or addicted parents every day. It's a real thing, and few have held back on this.

Sex - I think that, again, there are few limitations on this. Maybe when you get to describing certain things it's too far, but I recently read a new YA release where the author described the love scene in detail, so then again, maybe not. I didn't have a problem with it, but some might.

Cursing - I think my point is that YA has no boundaries. I've read young adult novels that drop "f" bombs every other page, so I guess you just go by what feels like too much for you!

Happy writing!
kelseysutton.blogspot.com

Miranda Hardy said...

I've read a lot of edgy YA, where the boundaries are non existent. It doesn't really bother me. Personally, I'm writing clean YA, but my fantasy novels don't deal with sex, drugs or cursing. But, I'm not opposed to writing edgy works.

Christina (Christinareadsya) said...

It depends on the type of book. Would we expect heavy use of those given the summary? Personally when I think of fantasy books, drugs and cursing don't really come to mind so I'd be surprised, but I think it's fine if it's done tastefully... By this I mean-- I've been bothered before by language when it seemed to serve no point whatsoever except for when the author wanted to make her characters look badass, and that irritated me to no end because there are better ways of doing that and cursing rather than acting on it actually made me think the opposite of the protag. And I have no problems with drugs or sex in YA.

All of three of them are true to real life YA... but in books, I think that all three, if included, should illuminate something about the characters. That's what makes it more compelling anyway.

Sara Bee said...

Drugs: I believe if it is beneficial to your characters story then yes. I feel sometimes authors just throw it in there because they can and I don't think it adds value to the story.

Sex: You know... as an adult reader of YA books I like the romance. However, I like when the author writes just enough detail and forces you, the reader, to elude to the rest of it. That's when I get those cheesy butterflies in my stomach that remind when I first started dating my husband. Sooo yes... I think if romance is going to be a focal point in your novel and sex/romance/whatever should be there as long it adds to your characters growth.

Language: This is the one area where I am definitely a fence sitter. I feel that, sometimes, there is a need for a curse word... that no other word, but that one really gets the point across. Also, I feel that using language is a way to help characterize someone in your book or to show true emotion. As I said above, if it adds to your character and/or the growth of your character and/or is a necessity, I wouldn't worry too much about using it or how often you use language. There are so many books out there that over use curse words and use them, I feel, just for the "shock" factor. Hell, (haha... sorry, had to) I use curse words in my writing and I figure, if readers can't get past the use of the word or see the true meaning of why the word was used, then maybe they aren't meant to read my book.
Good luck!! Maybe you can pass some of your motivation my way because WOW... you are really far into your book! Congrats!
XO
Sara

amber d* said...

I don't think any of those subjects should ever be sheltered just because it is a young adult novel, BUT too much or when it's out of character, out of story line gets on my nerves.

One thing I have noticed in a couple books I read this year is that some authors want to push boundaries, but when you take, say the subject of sex out of the story, and you basically have one-sided boring characters (because all they do is either: talk about sex, have sex, or decide whether or not to have sex) and no plot at all - it's too much. As a reader, I don't like it, and I really don't like play-by-plays, either. I have an imagination and I like to use it even when I'm reading, lol

amber d* said...

I don't think any of those subjects should ever be sheltered just because it is a young adult novel, BUT too much or when it's out of character, out of story line gets on my nerves.

One thing I have noticed in a couple books I read this year is that some authors want to push boundaries, but when you take, say the subject of sex out of the story, and you basically have one-sided boring characters (because all they do is either: talk about sex, have sex, or decide whether or not to have sex) and no plot at all - it's too much. As a reader, I don't like it, and I really don't like play-by-plays, either. I have an imagination and I like to use it even when I'm reading, lol