Thursday, September 25, 2014

Yep, I'm going there. Let's talk about New Adult

Recently, in my writing circles we have been talking a lot about the new genre New Adult. Which isn't abnormal because it really is what many in the industry are talking about.

So, what is it? Isn't that the million dollar question?

I first heard the term a few years ago. THEN, I had it described to me as novels in which the main character is between the ages of 18 to say… 25-30.

My first thought was that this is a fabulous idea. Why hadn't someone thought of it sooner? Those early adult years are really quite distinct. There are challenges that we face during those years that are specific to that time in our lives. So, of course it should have it's own genre.

I have even thought of writing for that age. As a student at Arizona State University, I sit on the sidelines to observe those who are in the thick of it.

My current work in process has a lead that is seventeen and a love interest that is in his early twenties. I have often thought that this story would make a great New Adult book.

Well, not exactly….. and here is why.

NOW,  what has been coming out labeled as New Adult is filled with explicit sexual content, abuse, and drug usage. In an article I read recently an editor stated that if you submit your book to her, and label it New Adult, she expects your novel to have those elements in it (sex, drugs, abuse, raw content). If it does not, she assumes you mislabel it.

Also, an interesting observation that I have made is that, a few years ago, when the New Adult market was primarily self-published books, most agents and editors assumed that this new genre was just a fad, that it wouldn't last long. Their reasoning being that New Adult still fits in the Adult category. (I even went to a conference a year ago where that view was expressed by a few agents). Now, with novels like Fifty Shades of Grey (where the main character is a college student) exploding, they are seeing dollar signs.

Sex sells. How many times have we all heard this? But still! I think we are selling this young group of adults short.

I am not naive. Like I said, I am a student at ASU, ranked one of the top party schools in the country. BUT, I still feel that this time in their lives is about more that just experimenting physically. They are here to learn… with their BRAINS, after all. Yes, they are finding out who they are, what their values are, and core beliefs. They can do this without partying there brains out and being promiscuous.

You hear that students! You will only get one body in this life, so you had better take care of it. In twenty years your body will be reprimanding you if you don't treat it well.

Okay, that was a major rant, but to my credit, these are the people I spend my time with, and boy do I think they are underestimated.

I asked several students in my American Lit class today what they thought of Fifty Shades of Grey. Only one admitted to reading it (though, I am sure others had but were embarrassed to admit it). She said she could only get through the first book because the writing was so bad. SEE! these students are smarter than we give them credit.

The truth is, it is easy to write a physical relationship. A B and C happens, which of course = Love. Wrong. What is hard, is to write a relationship between two people that is based on an emotional connection. One that is felt in the words they use, or the words they don't, and in the very air around them, not in the way their bodies react on a chemical level. These 18-25 year-olds are smart, they can handle a little depth. And depth doesn't mean a novel that plays out like a bad country song.

Having said ALL that, here is my questions… What do we do? Do we sit back and let these stereotypes take over this genre. Do we only offer these types of books to our younger readers? Or, do we try to change the definition of New Adult? Because, I think this genre might be here to stay.

Honestly, I don't know the answer. There are already exceptions to the rule, but are those exceptions able to make a difference? I don't know. What do you all think? I would love to get the take from an author who writes clean New Adult novels.

Anyway, I hope this doesn't offend. this is just my opinion, for what its worth.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Do I really want to dig that deep?

I am taking a break from essay writing to write a little post. It has been FOREVER.

School is going fabulous. Thanks for asking. ;)

It's crazy how much reading is required when you are enrolled in 4 English classes and one History class. But, I do love it.

For my Writing a Personal History for an Audience class we were asked to come up with five events  from our childhood that we could write a five-ten page, SINGLE spaced, story about. The trick is that these stories have to be interesting to readers and you have to invoke all five senses in the writing. After we post our ideas the class picks what story they want you to write.

 At first I thought, sure, no big deal. Then, as I started actually brainstorming I realized how difficult this was going to be. thinking of a story from my childhood that is interesting, one that I am willing to share in depth, is not easy. I

I have spend weeks meditating. No seriously, I just sit on my sofa and try to remember my childhood in as much detail as I can. Man, how my brain hurts. I have been racking my brain trying to remember what happened that long ago.

A little over a week ago I dropped my two sons off with their cousin at a football game at my old high school, (GO JACKRABBITS!!!) Holy Moly. Driving down Southern Ave, seeing all of that purple and gold, (horrible school colors, BTW), I got the strongest sense of nostalgia. Yeah, I grew up in the hood, but man, did I love it. With the school song running through my mind "Carry on. . ." I stopped by good old Nielson's Custard, that got my taste buds reminiscing. I would not go back for anything, I was a shy teenager who was not the most comfortable in her own skin, but I do appreciate how lucky I was to have the teenage years that I did.

Later I got out the old photo albums. That was interesting, and remembered things that had long been forgotten.


My twenty year high school reunion is coming up. Yes, I am that old.  I have been inundated on Facebook by different posts/ and pics from my high school days. Great timing, because I needed the added inspiration.

After this last week of purple and gold, the stories seemed to write themselves. They are all documented and submitted. Now I am crossing my fingers, hoping for the story I want to write to be the story others want to hear. You never know.

Okay now, back to my essay on The Scarlet Letter, Can This Book Be More Melodramatic? Seriously, Hester should have ditched that town in chapter one and told Dimmsdale to stop being such a self obsessed weenie.

My Brother and I

High School 

Always a Princess