Sunday, June 20, 2010

Keeping it Clean (because you're a teen)

This is another subject that I was really glad someone voted for! *Thank you person* This is an issue that I’ve sometimes faced. Obviously, when you write romance (like myself) it’s a hard thing to balance what’s enough and what’s too much. I know I get a lot of weird looks when someone asks me “Oh, Hanna, it’s so cool that you’re a writer! What do you write?” and then I’ll answer, “Romance/fantasy.” It’s like they think I’m too young to write romance - a 14-year-old girl couldn’t possibly write romance. HELLO! I’m a 14-year-old girl! What 14-year-old girl doesn’t like romance?!? *Don’t answer that.*

Now, as a romance writer - as any type of writer - it’s a difficult thing to bring myself to realize that if someone was really mad as they are in so many situations, most people would cuss - even if I don’t. I will say that I’m nearly 200 pages into my novel, and I’ve only used two cuss words. Of which I’m very proud. I’m not sure if I’ve read a YA book that doesn’t cuss - at all. Cussing doesn’t make the book bad. It “adds character”. *inside joke* However, you don’t want to have characters adding cuss words in every other word (like so many teenagers on my bus insist on doing) when it’s really not necessary. *Save for if you have a really mean and ‘dirty’ character.*

In terms of other things that others might consider ‘unclean’ or ‘inappropriate’ for teenager writers to write about, if you’re writing about it - it’s probably an issue that you face, am I right? Obviously, if you’re writing about it, you know enough about it to do so. Writing about it and doing the act are two totally different things. It took me a while to wrap my head around the idea that even if I write it, it’s not like I’m doing it - whatever ‘it’ is. And, for personal reasons, it was very hard for me to do so. However, it was something that I needed to realize to expand myself as a writer, and as a person.

So, in short, basically you just need to know a balance of what’s enough and what’s too much. I don’t think you necessarily need to worry about keeping something any cleaner than an adult would - as long as it fit’s the targeted age group. Like, if you’re writing a YA (young adult) novel, don’t be writing something that‘s totally age inappropriate. That’s just not right.

I hope this helped!

Oh, by the way - I’m writing this passing through Tennessee. We’ve been driving since about noon - and it’s now 4:20pm. We’re stopping somewhere in Tennessee. Wonder where we’ll stop??

See you guys soon!

Keep dreaming,

EDIT:  I am posting this from my hotel room in TN.
EDIT2:  Save oath above, edit in 'paint' on your computer, sign your name.  Repost for Charlie or I to see and you can pick something for us to post about!


Anonymous said...

Yea! I'm glad you have internet!

I definitely think writing for a teenage audience is a balancing act. On the one hand, I feel every writer owes it to themselves to not compromise their art. However, its unrealistic to believe that a young adult novel with adult content is particular marketable.

However, I think teenagers my age (and hannah's and charlie's age) are smart consumers. If a story is engaging and the characters are well developed then the reader won't mind the dark elements of the novel- in fact they might appreciate it even more so!

Btw, I absolutely agree that risque material must always be essential and organic to the story.

Again, great post and have a wonderful vacation!

Anonymous said...

I haven't decided what my post suggestion should be, but when I do y'all will be the first to know!

Hanna said...


I agree totally.

Again - I agree. I don't mind reading such scenes - as long as they're important to the story. *And yes - I'm sure my name is spelled Hanna.*

Thank you - and yeah, just lemme/ us know what you want us to post about.

Jessica said...

Is it terrible that I don't write with any audience in mind? I just write the stories that I feel passionate about, not really caring whether or not it's age appropriate. However, that is not to say I write so very vulgarly that you could only find my stories in the 'forbidden' section of a bookstore. I just write.