Saturday, November 14, 2009

Genre, genre, genre...

Everyone has their own genre. Everyone has read books that pertain to the genre that they write. If you write YA fantasy, you might be interested in the Harry Potter series or maybe The Chronicles of Narnia. If you write YA contemporary, then maybe you like to read stories by John Green, Sarah Dessen and Courtney Summers.

Reading is the only way we can get better at writing. But before we write, we must know what we want to write. Some people know from the moment they read a novel that they want to write that exact same genre or maybe people are just born to write fantasy or contemporary or any other type of genre out there.

It's just like I know I was born to write YA. Not because I am a young adult but because I love how it doesn't hold back anything. It's true to the life I'm living now and there are some great stories out there, that are funny and sexy and just extremely awesome. And they're all YA books.

I've ventured outside of the YA genre. Adults say that teens my age and older have a short attention span and that's not necessarily true. I read Jane Eyre in two nights when I was eleven. It was the first book that was not considered MG or YA that I had read. And at the time my mom didn't allow me to go into the YA section , but that's a whole different story.

But I read everything from Jane Austen to Richelle Mead. I love vampires, dashing gentlemen, and angsty MC's. Basically any genre that has romance in it, I love.

That is why for years I couldn't pinpoint my genre. I mean, everyone has a genre. But me, I'm the oddball. I kept trying everything, hoping something would stick and well, nothing did. When I was younger I wrote MG because I was a nine year old and blushed when I heard the words "kiss" and "love".

As I got older, my stories became serious in topic. I love religion and I found myself writing stories about atheist soldiers seeking redemption, Jewish boys living in a world where people don't understand their religion or their morals, girls who didn't believe in God because he didn't save her sister, and finally, boys who believe music is a religion *coughs* Alden *coughs*

I would spend nights researching the religions of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Working anything I could into stories, so that they could be accurate and yet still enjoyable.

Then I graduated to historical romances. I had just finished reading Pride and Prejudice when I was thirteen and I decided, well, why can't I write a historical romance? I wrote stories about courtesans looking for love, and a plain-Jane type of girl with a suitor who didn't love her. My first NaNoWriMo novel was entitled The Jane Effect and that was a historical romance.

After a while though, I realized that that wasn't sticking. So I hopped from one genre to the next, and none of them stuck to me.

Then I entered the world of YA contemporary.

Alden's story was one I had been thinking about writing for years and I just didn't have to guts to write it because it was dark and raw and everything I was not. But once I churned out that first line: "My father has a gun", there was no turning back.

I found out that I loved writing contemporary because you can be as creative with the writing as you want, and you can be funny and honest and you get across messages people will be afraid to get across.

And that's when it hit me.

Getting across messages some people will be afraid to get across.

I wanted to do that. In today's worlds, adults fear letting their children see certain things. Like my mother, she didn't want me reading about drugs and sex and violence. I wasn't even allowed to watch a movie until she looked it over. I don't blame her for that, but if you don't let your kid see or read something because you think it's inappropriate, it doesn't mean that they're not going to see it somewhere else.

So why not have them read about it in books, so that they are aware of what is out there? Not so that they can become curious and want to try whatever it is in the book whether it be unprotected sex or cocaine, but so that they are educated, so that they are aware of things out there.

And no YA book sends out a bad message. Even if a book is about drugs and kids that run away, they still have a positive message in the end, most of the time.

That is why I want to YA contemporary. Edgy-YA Contemporary to be exact. Because you know, I can't do comedy and mushy stuff. I like romantic comedies and all but I think it's better on the dark side.

They have cookies. ^_^


Emilia Joyce Plater said...

Hells yeah Edgy YA Contemp!! I think I actually read more diversely when I was little, haha. Nowadays I feel like I can't read anything besides YA because I need to do "research" in the genre. Pretty stupid, I know. Good thing YA treats me well :)

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