Monday, October 25, 2010

Crossing Over

The novel I completed started, as so many do these days, in the month-long throes of Nanowrimo. It was a YA novel, and it was good. Not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination. But it was gritty. Gritty in a way that made a backroad in Tennessee feel like the interstate.

See, the book was about sex. But it pulled no punches. The opening sex scene (yes. OPENING. SEX. SCENE.) contained no heaving bosoms. Nothing quite so PG. It was all grit and anatomy. The way a teen girl might play it back in her mind. It made romance novels seem like picture books.

The scene felt true to the story.

The story is not a pretty one. It's set in a town kind of like the one where you would have found West Side Story a few decades ago. But only without anything so sweet as jazzdancing in the streets.

So I was kind of conflicted. Because it seemed pretty dark for teens. But yet it was also real and true.

It was around that time that I wandered into Writer's Digest Community, and found the Young Adult/Crossover group. They are a group of writers who write for teens. Almost. Their stories and mine, would be best if the age range started around 17.

In my mind, YA is the most diverse audience of them all. There's a big difference between a 12 year old and an 18. Heck there's even a difference between two 18 year olds. An 18 year old in LA, who's brother's in a gang is different from the 18 year old who's spent all her life in Christian girls boarding schools in Utah. And they need different stories.

We write for those teens. The teens who've left Barbies behind eons ago. Or never even bothered to own one.

We've just passed 100 members, and I think we're one of the most active groups on WD. You're welcome to join us, if this is your niche.

Also, even if this isn't your niche, feel free to poke around WD. I've met just as many great people on there as in the blogosphere.

13 comments:

Marsha Sigman said...

I'm definitely going to check it out. I agree, there are so many different types of teens and they all need stories that ring true to them.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Perhaps this is the same genre I've heard bandied about in the blogosphere as "New Adult." I certainly do think there is a big difference between books aimed at middle schoolers and books aimed at upperclassmen and college age students. Lumping them together as YA just doesn't cut it anymore!

Nathalie said...

I think it's great that you're a part of such a wonderful group Claire! Of course, I'm biased, but what the hey?

T. Romel Blossom said...

Whooo Hooo!!!!!!!!! Claire you're awesome. Even on the other side of the world we're all connected with YA/Crossover.

Claire Dawn said...

Yes, Dianne. It has been called New Adult. But that term isn't universal yet.

Thanks, Natalie and TRB.

Hope you like what you see, Marsha.

T C Mckee said...

Great post. I feel like I've been saying that all day, but with all the great posts from all of our great bloggers at YA, what else is there to say.

Amy Holder said...

This sounds like a wonderful group, Claire! I'm so glad you've found it. There's nothing more important in the writing world than having other writing friends (particularly from your same genre) to discuss things with. Good luck with your new novel! It sounds edgy & fabulous!

ElbieNy25 said...

I loved your MS and that opening scene grabbed me right away. It's raw, but that's what makes it real. I hoep to finish reading it one of these days

Claire Dawn said...

Thanks Amy.

Thanks, Elbie! That means a lot coming from someone who's actually read most of it. As you know, it needs a massive reworking, but some day I hope to publish Tameka and Chevelle's stories.

E.J. Wesley said...

Great group! Everyone should check it out.

Natalie Aguirre said...

That's cool you found this group. And I saw you on WriteOnCon last night too. Was glad you were there.

ozma914 said...

Nice article, and it rings true. My story is more comic, more clean, set in a small town and features a 15 year old -- and yet it still fits in the category.

Susan Antony said...

Good job Claire!