Friday, January 28, 2011

Spinning Tires

No, you're not hallucinating... I posted Friday's post Thursday and am not really blogging weekends but HAD one, so I thought I'd post it Friday night. I will get back to mornings on Monday...


It's a little funny to get to the point where you KNOW the project needs to be set aside, isn't it?

I've been on overdrive since October—mostly editing, a month of writing in there... and I've reached a spot where I am allowed to fall into a more comfortable pace, but tapping the breaks is not slowing me down. I don't WANT to slam on them—I really need to be able to fire up again in about 3 weeks—not at this pace, but making reasonable progress, as it is nearing time for my second Cozy... but in the meantime...

*Huge Sigh*


So I am trying to consider what I want to accomplish between now and then that I might actually accomplish. I think I CAN definitely get LEGACY cleaned up. I got FABULOUS feedback from Leigh (though I have a decision to make about YA or not... SAY.... maybe you's can help me!!!)



LEGACY: YA vs. NOT: the Pros and Cons

Main plot:  A teenage girl has to run away because her addict mom is not keeping her safe. She meets a trio of kids whose dad has just been murdered and mother has disappeared. They agree to help each other and it leads them into a ring of art thieves with whom BOTH of their families are entangled.


PROS of YA

-characters are all kids and teens (well the good ones)
-I think the development of the villains doesn't need to be quite so credible
-I keep thinking ALL my stuff might be best as YA—I have a strong teen voice.


CONS of YA

-My MAIN PoV is a 13 YO and my #2 is 9. There is a rule the MC should be OLDER by a year or two for YA and these are NOT middle grade books (in fact I would have to edit to get them off a Rated R)
-The art theft motif and family based conspiracy seems a little mature.
-The drug addicted mom start is pretty graphic. Sex. The F word. I am debating what it loses by changing this.



I guess though, what I'd like to know from YOU is AS ADULTS do stories about kids and teens interest you? Can you handle it if stories about YOUNG teens and kids include sex, gun shots, kidnapping (the KIDS don't have sex—although in the second book in the series, the 15 YO boy gets seduced) but they are in some pretty precarious situations... How strict do you think that 'year or two older' rule IS? My MCs are 13 and 9-- is a 16 year-old going to be WILLING? (I think adults may—think of the girl in the Book Thief—though now that I say that, that was in the YA section, even though it is widely popular with adults...) The story just would NOT work if my MC were older--she needs the vulnerability of being as young as she is.


So as you can see, I have some big thinking. At the MOMENT, I am addressing hard edits directly and HIGHLIGHTING things that will need to change if I decide to go YA with it.


So LEGACY is what I am doing at my computer at the mo...


In the BATH, I am PLOTTING BUWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Why do I love plotting so?

I am plotting my next Gardening Cozy, and I have an idea I'm very pleased with... Lots of quirky character potential... Subplots lining up nicely... Love one... Nother one... Family one... *cackles* Did I mention I love plotting? Though I DO want to find all my notes. *Looks around *




And FINALLY


Here it is, in writing. It is TIME for me to get back to it. You heard me. I've totally blown off my fitness plan—in fact for 2 weeks I've not DONE my power stuff. I still walk to work, but I need more. So I will start the fitness this weekend and the eating on Feb 1. I was using ABNA and my high power EDITING as an excuse... no more.

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!!!

27 comments:

Cold As Heaven said...

Everything's possible in books, kidnapping and sex too, just think about Lolita; it's a fantastic book (I read it when I was a teen, or maybe 20). It's just fiction >:)

Cold As Heaven

Hart Johnson said...

Lolita IS a great book--and I don't think I'd recommend it to a teen--a very mature one maybe, but that is my favorite example of a fabulous book with a repulsive MC. (VERY hard to do, I think)

kimberlyloomis said...

Hmmm... First, I am not a YA buff (except the cover art in that section is seriously awesome). Second, Graceling is a YA and it had sex in it. The rest it seems like people might be upset about the idea of it being in that section without the editing you mentioned. Then again - people get their panties in a twist over "To Kill a Mockingbird" so who really knows what the measuring stick is on these things?

My opinion: A child can be vulnerable at any age given the right circumstances. Still, I don't see why it would matter for genre categorization. Seems as though YA has gotten multiple ways of being categorized in it of itself (i.e. by specific age) and so I can't see why this truly wouldn't fit in there.

If it's good, or there's a lot of hype, I'll check the YA book out when my library has it. It's not a genre I buy without doing a cursory "free read" of the author first. So, uh, perhaps my opinion doesn't really matter. :)

Hart Johnson said...

Kimberly-OF COURSE your opinion matters! And you are definitely the right person for 'would an adult read a teen character'--you WILL but are perhaps pickier about the LANGUAGE (some YA is simplistic?)--I don't want to be THAT.

Yeah... I think ANYTHING can raise the ire of that subset that wants to screen what their kids read...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sorry, no can help as I don't read that genre. But from what you describe, sounds like for high school and older.

Lisa Potts said...

I would definitely lean YA, but I do see your dilemma about the age of your protag. Most of the edgy YA I've read featured protags from 16 to 18. That being said, I'm sure it has been done successfully with a younger MC, I just haven't read one myself.

kimberlyloomis said...

Haha! You know me so well. :) Definitely fussy about the language. Graceling was a solid disappointment to me as a result of that (well, for other reasons, too - but that was a serious problem for me). I have no worries about your language being inappropriately simplistic, though.

Read lots of YA stuff for my banned books challenge and loved it. Language was good, stories were tight, and that's really all that's necessary for me to WANT to read something in the genre.

Rusty Webb said...

As an adult, I enjoy reading books written from a kids point of view. I don't care too much about what else the book may contain - drugs, sex, violence. Aside from feeling more protective of the protagonist that is.

The artist in me wants to tell you to not edit yourself, tell the best story you can and be done with it.

That might not be the best advice though, do what you think is best.

Rachael Harrie said...

Go you with the fitness thing! I'm going to start my plan tomorrow ;)

Hmm, YA versus Adult... That's a tough one. I think you'd have a great teen voice (and I think graphic is possible too). As for the age issue, I guess there are always exceptions. Still, that is very young for a YA main character. And you might be right about the themes being more adult (though it depends on the spin you put on them really).

So the answer is...I have no answer!!! But I can't wait to hear what you decide :)

Hugs,

Rach

Old Kitty said...

As a bona fide old woman my reading material is very much erm.. mainly old woman reading!! But that's not to say I enjoy re-reading my Harry Potters and my Narnia chronicles. And I would swear by SE Hinton's books as classics!! Classics!!! :-) And how could I not love Catcher in the Rye and Clockwork Orange?!?! Teens with sex and violence need not be exploitative as these books show. Have I answered your question? Probably not!! LOL!!!! Good luck with your keep fit regime!!!

Take care
x

Will Burke said...

Yet another thing I'm envious of -- I have a hard time with plotting, so I just soldier on and see what comes of it.
I don't think the "age rules" are too hard-and-fast, but publishers may say different. I'm sure the sex can be done tastefully & "off camera" if you go YA. You wouldn't be the first.

Hart Johnson said...

Alex, definitely high school and older. And I knew this wasn't your genre!

Lisa-that is what I was thinking, and this story completely wouldn't work with an older teen. Hmph...

Kimberly-those are my rules, too. You know all those YA classics though? Written before YA was a category... just needed to be great books...

Rusty, that is sort of my opinion on the matter, too. I LIKE them. In fact I think adults may be more willing to go that young than teens.

Rachael-Okay... leaning adult here... My teen voice works because I don't like being told what to do *nods* Seriously though, it is the combo of playful, petulant and defiant...

Jenny-It sounds like you fall where Kimberly does... have to be written well! And you're NOT OLD! I don't think you're any older than I am.

Will-The plotting may grow on you. Doesn't for everyone, but I really leaped in my love for plotting when I hopped to mystery. Suspense I don't plot nearly as tightly.

Hart Johnson said...

Oh... and sex? Can't be tasteful and offscreen... it is SCARY... making the situation DANGEROUS. But I can tone the language a little, I suppose. The first scene my protag only HEARS because she is hidden in a closet. But my trouble is a drug dealer and addict aren't going to be censoring what they say, so instead of censoring THEM I need to maybe censor what my MC passes on to US... tricky.

Ann said...

I think you can write a book from a child's POV for adults. I also think an older child can be vulnerable. If a child has spent all their energy just trying to survive or taking care of younger family members they are often naive and vulnerable in many ordinary areas of life.

Good for you taking on a fitness regime. Wish I could motivate myself to do the same.

Misha said...

Hmmm... I think it can go either way... Still... you might want to consider the kettle of fish you will open if you do make the book a YA.

Good luck on making your choice.

:-)

Literary Magic said...

Well, I read lots of YA and often find them appealing to both the dormant teen that I am (even though I'me fifty) and the role of adult/parent that I must play in real life. Because of this I'm a very wide target for this genre, but that having been said, I do think that there's room in the YA genre for a bit of the harder edge. I think the some of the vampire books are aiming towards this, but the bloodsucking fantasies fall short of filling a niche in YA that your book sounds like it could fill, i.e. real problems in the real world of real teens. Plus it sounds like you've got some real intrigue going on with the ring of art thieves and that would be a draw for those overgrown teenagers/adults like myself.

gideon 86 said...

I think at 13 your mc is a child, yet approaching adulthood very quickly. I think many y/a books interest adults. My question to you is, do you believe the subject matter is to much for TODAY's younger teens?

It's a reality that young teens, even twelve-year-olds are having sex and doing drugs. It's unfortunate by true. These kids my relate to your characters and might help them though similar situations. It's astonishing how kids as young as even seven know about sex.

Older teens say seventeen and up might not be interested unless there are other older characters.

If you go with y/a you will still have the adult market. I love y/a adult it read tons of it.

I hope that helps, Hart.

Michael

Cheeseboy said...

Considering I read stories about kids and teens all the time at my jobs, I have no interest in reading them at home.

Hart Johnson said...

Ann, I think older teens CAN be vulnerable, but this story works better with the younger kids for other reasons, too. I like though, hearing adults like featuring kids.

Misha-welcome! You're new here, yes? And that kettle of fish actually INTERESTS me... There are themes I think might be cool to have discussed in a high school class... But it is currently too graphic for that to happen...

Lee-interesting point on the darker niche needing filling. My ABNA entry, i think goes SOLIDLY there--it has a ghost narrator but the Mental institution she died in is now a reform school.

Michael--I don't think it is so much the activities of my kids I am worried about as whether 16-17 year olds are widely interested in reading about kids aged 9-14. Kids do know a LOT--my younger is 12, and it sometimes shocks me how casually he acts when my daughter says something (she is 15). Your questions and points definitely help, though.

Hart Johnson said...

Cheeseboy-Ah... I suppose I can't blame you... I guarantee, none of my characters acts like first graders, and there is not a pooping bandit to be found.

Phoenix said...

Hi Hart (and thanks for the follow!).

I don't think the subject matter is too old for YA, but I do think the MC kids are too young for it. I'd recommend pitching it as a tween novel, but it does sound a little rough for that age group. I'm honestly betting something will have to give.

From the *description* of your teen voice it sounds like it's probably a bit tough rather than vulnerable, so upping the age of the older MC may not work. The content would likely need to give, but not a lot -- just keep the sex off stage and modify the swearing a bit -- if you pitched it as tween.

Pitching a book with all young MCs to the adult crowd will be MUCH more difficult, I think. Gaining that adult readership is more like collateral fortune, IMO.

Ca88andra said...

I don't mind reading about kids and teens so long as the story is interesting. Watched the movie "Tomorrow When the War Began" the other day. Its very much for a teen audience but I enjoyed it and I would read the book if I found it. As for sex, violence, etc - if it fit into the plot then its all good, but if its not necessary to the story, get rid of it.

Helena said...

A thirteen-year-old coming from such a tough background has to grow up fast, and that can make for an intriguing POV. I don't care about the year or two older rule since publishing genre rules get broken all the time by good books.

Hart Johnson said...

Phoenix, sounds like you know a lot on this, so that is really helpful! I am leaning more and more toward doing this as 'family suspense' as I think too much needs to change for YA and some of it won't work.

Cassandra-there is a SERIES for Tomorrow when the War began that is STILL my daughter's favorite (for about 5 years now)--those are FABULOUS stories.

Helena-As an adult, I think we don't. Teens can be so funny though, about wanting 'grown up' stuff. They seem okay with KIDS, but younger teens worry me...

RaShelle said...

I've been interested, but lately I'm over it - can't get into the YA. I say that, but maybe that's because I'm sick of the cheesy stuff I've been reading. The googly eyes. Blah. Blah. Blah. Hey, let's you and I write something together. =D

Victoryperfect said...

Really well done for the blog.these are so sweet and pretty!
Falken Tires

Rayna M. Iyer said...

I really can't help, because I don't read YA (at least, I do not consciously go out and look for YA). But I do know that you do teen characters really well. And though I may not be the right person to comment, when I was growing up I read books with protagonists younger, my age, older and much older. But we never had YA in those days, and Nancy Drew remained 18 from the time I was 12 to whenever I stopped reading ehr.