Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Who Are You Writing For?

This isn't an existential question, like are you writing for yourself, or are you a sell-out? (Both great questions, however, but maybe for another post.) This is a question of AUDIENCE. There are a lot of questions to consider when thinking about who will be reading your novel, particularly if you write YA.

The one I'm struggling with right now is:

Is what I'm writing appropriate for the age group who will be reading my book? Is it appropriate for the age group BELOW the one who will be reading my book?

Do you think it's necessary to consider the age group below the one your book is intended for? Is it their parent's responsibility to keep their children from reading a book that's "too old" for them?

When I was growing up, I read a lot of adult books because there just wasn't the breadth of YA that there is now. I learned a lot more actual facts from books about sex and drugs and relationships than I did from life from age 13-16. Life was full of contradictions, rumors, locker-room boasting. Life was scary. Books were safe.

Today's YA is a different animal from what my generation experienced. There's sex, pregnancy, death, affairs with teachers... a lot more like what kids today experience in school. I've gone off on a tangent here, but these are the kids I'm writing for. I need to remember that.

And I'm going to try not to eff them up any more than they already are.

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