Bullet Wisdom

I am an Active Duty Officer in the US Army. I am a Husband, father, writer, hunter, gamer, and SOLDIER. This blog is a forum for my many hobbies as well as my random musings.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Why YA and not Adult?

I got into a terrific discussion with fellow aspiring author Danielle LaPaglia earlier in the week about why we choose to write in specific genres. We're both contending in the UF arena, albeit she's focusing on adults while I'm aiming for YA. First, why UF? That part's easy, we were both drawn into paranormal/sci-fi plot lines acted out in contemporary surroundings.

Next, why YA? On the surface, the answer is easy: I'm a pretty freaking immature dude. I take interest in the same things as people less than half my age. I work in an industry where two-thirds of the people I work with are a couple of grade levels removed from prime YA territory. Within a thirty second walk I can find someone to BS such interesting things as gaming, extreme sports, gadgets, sports, etc. And after college, my sense of humor and vocabulary never really matured past Harold & Kumar.

YA characters appeal to me. I identify with protagonists who aren't comfortable in their own skin. Probably I myself have never been comfortable in my own. Not quite sure if all that's a good thing, but those aren't really the reasons I gave Danielle for wanting to write YA.

Frankly, it's all about my kids.

They're 10 and 8. The ten-year old shows a lot interest in reading and devours mid-grade fiction like a Dairy Queen Blizzard. She's mature for her age; the eight-year old is NOT. Both have the amazing ability to absorb Daddy's four-letter word vocabulary like a sponge. Occasionally, they'll sit next to me on the couch and peek over my shoulder while I'm hacking away at my manuscript. Both are well aware their Daddy is writing a book, and both are dying to read it.

And truthfully, I can't wait to let them. Therefore, I have to reign back on what I consider excellent adult material like extreme violence, sex and swear-words. God forbid I teach them a chorus of F*bomb crescendos to haunt around my house for the next several weeks.

After all, I do answer to a wife.

So I write YA. I want to share my stories with my family. As they mature, I expect my subject matter will also. I'll change story lines from teens trying to find themselves to adults trying to save the world.

Until then I'll bite my lip every time my protag wants to cuss like a sailor. Or get laid.


Anonymous said...

It was a great talk over the last day or so. I thinks it's important to understand not only what you want to write, but why.

Seleste deLaney/Julie Particka said...

Interesting post. I can't say I've ever written YA with my kids in mind. I have tried my hand at MG (and failed miserably) with thoughts of my son, but I never considered it when I wrote YA.

For me, certain stories just fit teens better than adults. When those are the stories that call to me, I write YA. *Shrug*

Kelly Metz said...

Great post Ken. Certain stories lend themselves to either level. I won't let my step-kids read anything that I haven't read...and that includes some of my own writing that is off the scale for them though they keep asking to read it. Perhaps maybe that's why my NaNo piece is going to be YA. Now you have me thinking...and that can be a dangerous thing. =)

Jax said...

I love that your kids want to read what you're writing, and that you can share it with them.
The characters in my head are not always kid friendly, and I'm not sure I could reign them in enough to write YA.

Crystal said...

I wish what I wrote could be seen by my kids. I know the older three could handle it, but I don't -want- them to read it. Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn't at least maybe try something, for them. But whenever I sit down and start thinking about it, all the stories that come to me, scare me, and well, never mind that idea. Your children are very lucky.

Pat Hollett said...

I loved the post, and how you think about your family first about what you write. I have three teens and find it so enlighting to listen to their trials and tribulations, hence I find writing YA easier right now. Maybe that will change too. But for now I'm comfortable. I like the way you view your world, family and writing. :)