When I was a teenager, I remember clearly looking at the adult section of the library and imagining all of the wonderful books that must be hidden there. They had to be good–right? And long. And wonderful. I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to go there.
Then I became old enough and I discovered that many of the books were too long, especially as I got older, and much duller than I thought. (They also have tiny font which, when you have difficulty seeing, is important.) About a year ago, I began reading YA again and don’t regret it.
In the same way, when I began writing, my goal was adult science fiction. Teens were silly and flakey and (well, honestly) they didn’t seem to be much science fiction going around when I was a teenager. So therefore, I had to write for an adult audience.
Now, I acknowledge that I do not have that much experience with novels. I’ve barely written two. I have submitted (and received a rejection) on one of them. But I typically try to have my stories end pretty happily. I do not like depressing endings. And yes, I’ll kill characters, but only if I must.
Which brings me back to my question: What do I wrote?
I’ve always thought I write adult fiction. However, especially with some of the things I’ve seen in teen fiction right now, I can just as easily, if not more, be writing for a YA audience. I try to keep stories concise, clear, and focused, with enough action to make it interesting. I’d be fine with that too if not for one little detail.
I don’t know about you, but half of the things that I seen going on in YA stories is too big for a teenager to handle. Let’s take Across the Universe for an example. (tiny SPOILER, as in, you know it’ll happen but I don’t want you to hate me) In the story, the seventeen year-old kid becomes the leader of a ship full of about 3000 people. He is responsible for everything, from strikes to food shortages. Not to insult any seventeen-year-olds that might be reading this but kids that age can’t handle that.
Shad would fit into a YA category, except for the simple fact of his age. He’s 23. Everything else is really great. He has big dreams, thinks he can conquer the world, finds out that he can’t, but that the world he wanted to conquer isn’t what he thought. But, emotionally, I can’t drop his page to below 20. Maybe 21. I can maybe justify that somehow. But I can’t make him a teenager…
Well, why? Because a teenager shouldn’t have the responsibility of flying the whole ship. Yet, I have it written that he was main pilot since he was 17. I don’t know if I can actually see him sitting around six years waiting.
That’s just one story though. I don’t know how to justify it in every story. That’s my single biggest argument with YA fiction in fact is that teenagers do things that they shouldn’t. But perhaps that’s the point of YA fiction. I still find it hard to justify. Though, going through my stories… can I create my own genre? :D Modified YA. Or college level YA? Some work; some don’t. Some would need changes. I mean, how far can you go in YA?
So then my question becomes: am I changing my audience because I had the wrong audience and I should or because it is easier? That’s one think I keep thinking about right now. If I change this, well, then that deals with this problem and makes this problem easier in my mermaid story. I should not write something though just because it’s easier. Not a whole genre change.
Then, I also go back to the idea about whether or not I should even care about publication. I have one brother who would say that self-publication in ebooks is the way to go, all the way. But I don’t know. I’m not good at self-promotion. But if I want to create a new genre, that would be the way I’d have to go I think. :)
In many ways it shouldn’t even matter. I should write for pleasure and not money. But when I want to be published… it is important. It is a factor of where I send the story after all. :)
This past week, I put everything together to submit something to tor.com. Then, I got sick, so I didn’t actually send the e-mail. I’m a wimp. Okay. I’m honest with that one.
Then, on Friday, I sent the e-mail out. And I already got a response–see!
Yup, that’s right. The e-mail address isn’t any good.
So, I need to find the real e-mail address, but I’ve been to tired to do that. I’ll probably do that next week actually.
Until then, it’ll wait.
But, you know, it was rather strange just sending off that e-mail. See, I sent an e-mail earlier this week that I did not really want a response to, in which I informed a parent that their child needed to behave better in Sunday School. This time, I sent it, and I don’t even expect a response. Not really. So it was rather surreal, which surprised me.
My brother pointed out that no one posts lists about the top best 11 things of 2011, which gave me the idea. Why not the top 12 things I want to write for in 2012? Okay, I don’t know if I can do that, but we’ll try.
And while I’m at it, let’s cover my writing highlights for 2011.
Top 11 things that happened to me in 2011 so far as writing goes.
1) I wrote my first synopsis. Boo-yah! And set up everything to send out a novel to a publisher.
2) I came in 3rd on the writing contest with Just Trust Me
3) I started a new novel, mermaids. Completed the pre-draft.
4) I took a creative writing class. (And got an A in it. :) )
5) Realized I know HOW to write a good story. That now I just have to WRITE the good story. (Basically, stop reading books about writing and write already.)
6) Started writing a series story for the newspaper.
7) Wrote for the school newspaper actual news articles.
8) Started a writing group. Which I had to leave because I transfered schools, but hey, it happened. Finally.
9) Kept this blog going (more or less) for two years. That’s a BIG accomplishment for me.
10) Okay. I’m getting desperate again. I almost made 10 posts in Critters in a week. (That gets me MCP, which means I jump to the front of the line.) I missed it by one.
11) Wrote poems. (I should post those, shouldn’t I?)
Okay, so here’s what I plan to accomplish in 2012. I wouldn’t go so far as saying that these are resolutions, although a few of them are. I don’t really like the idea of a new year resolution because it makes it sound like you can only turn over a new leaf on January 1.
So these are just goals I hope to do in 2012.
1.) Send out Shad. This is an easy one. And, okay. I know that was my goal for this year. And I have everything ready to go. But I need to print it at school so that won’t happen until next year.
2.) Finish mermaids/my second novel. Right now, I have the pre-draft done. (Is that confusing? It’s like a really, really, really bad first draft / rough outline. Maybe soon I should post again how i write.)
3.) Write more short stories. I like the short story format. Also, they can be sent out easier and take less time. However, I might be held back here because all of the short stories I read ended sadly. I don’t like sad stories.
4.) Get a rejection letter. Okay. I’d be nicer if I get accepted, but let’s be real. First time writer. Probably not.
5.) Does becoming editor of the school newspaper count for writing? I have that goal.
6.) Edit some of the short stories I wrote. Specifically Shay’s Tadpole and Ka’za. (I know. You don’t know what those are. But I do and that’s what I care about right now. I wrote them both last year. This way, a year from now, I can see how well I did?) Oh, and maybe see about fixing How Johnny Cash Saved my Life so I can actually do something with that.
7) Nanowrimo. Never done it. ‘nough said.
8) Submit a short story. I wanted to do that in 2011 but I keep thinking the new year starts tonight, not last night.
9) Write more consistently for here. :) (Okay. I’m getting desperate for goals. But I do want too.)
10) Write something once a week at least for novels. Okay. I totally just made up that goal. But it’s a good goal. Otherwise, I go for weeks at a time not writing anything.
11) Read more often. I don’t read as much as I should and writing is tied with writing. So I want to read.
12) Use Critters more effectively / more often. I really could have used that this semester when I was working on my story. (Maybe they would have told me that lyrics will be copyrighted early on.)
This final one is something I want to do, but it also relies on someone else, which is why it doesn’t get a number. I want to write out one of my roleplays with a friend. It’d be really awesome.