I’ve talked before about how an author needs to check what their book is saying. Even if you write without any intention of having a message, there may be one, and if you look at it carefully, what you’re saying, suggesting or inferring might not be particularly healthy. In adult writing, it maybe doesn’t matter so much (though I’d prefer it if all authors were socially responsible), but in YA writing, it is extremely important because your works are going to a naïve and often impressionable audience. I’m not going into sex and violence here, but into something much more subtle - beliefs about the nature of things and about what is appropriate behavior. Love and sexual attraction is a common theme in YA, and exploring these things is one of the exciting things about growing up, but what if we pick up misguided ideas about it? If we read many books with the same point of view, why wouldn’t we assume that that point of view was correct? The ‘Twilight series’ had a lot of good things in … [Read more...]
What is it like to be seventeen? And why that’s the age of my heroine.
Seventeen is a wonderful age, so is eighteen. Why? Because you’re ready and rearing for action. You have the freshness of youth but you’re mature enough to know you’re alive and make your own decisions, (if your parents let you). You have the security of a home and money, (unless you’ve already left home) but should have enough freedom to go forth from that base and try new adult-type things. You’re about to leave school (which most of you are over by then), have your whole life ahead of you (provided you don’t crash your car tomorrow) and almost everything is possible, at least in your mind. Even if you don’t have the grades to be a rocket scientist, you can visualize what it might be like. In your mind, you can try your options out for size to help you decide which direction you want to go in. Once you get over the scariness of choosing a path and the sadness of leaving school, and, for many of you, moving out of home, (even if you hated it, it’s kind of sad when you realise that … [Read more...]