No question about it: Young adult fantasy fiction made me a writer. It drew me in, kept me hooked, and provided a much-needed escape from the angsty woes of middle and high school. Adding my voice to that particular genre seemed like the natural next step, and for about the last eight years, I assumed that I would be a YA writer forever.
And then I grew up.
Now, that’s not to say that I don’t or won’t write YA or that I have stopped reading it. That’s definitely not the case. But lately I find myself wandering this strange borderland in my writing, wherein I want to use YA style choices and young characters, but I also want to talk about complex issues, adult situations, sex and sexuality, etc., and I want adults to read it, too. I’m certainly not underestimating teens’ ability to deal with that kind of subject matter, but when does a novel cross the line from being for teens to being for adults? That line seems blurry at best, and I’m constantly flirting with it.
There’s been a lot of talk lately about the emerging “New Adult” genre, and since no one seems completely sure what that is, maybe that’s where I am. However, much of the work dubbed NA seems to focus largely on college party culture and sexy times (with covers resembling Harlequin romances), which isn’t really what I’m trying to do. This conundrum is starting to worry me because I’m approaching the end of my current project’s first draft and have begun to wonder how I’ll label it when I query agents.
“This light sci-fi novel is targeted toward-- um-- people, I guess.”
|And all the agents go...|
I’m coming to terms with the fact that my writing is constantly evolving and will probably continue to do so for the rest of my life. We all have to be open to whatever new creative ideas pop into our heads, even if they mark a departure from what we’ve produced in the past. All I know for certain is that I’m an SFF writer, and I doubt that will ever change-- but then again, who knows?
Has your writing evolved and changed over the years?