Saturday, February 27, 2010

Wannabe Writers #5

Wannabe Writers is a meme created by Sarah of Confessions of the Un-published!

One of my goals right now is to move my literary ambitions out of the box and onto the shelf, by which I mean that I no longer want to ignore how much I enjoy writing. I love the idea of this meme, and I'll quote from Sarah's post here:

I often find myself searching the web for information during my struggles as a new writer. So I wanted to start a place where us future young-adult authors can come together to ask those questions, share our stories, and get feedback.

I'm going to be offline for the day, but I will read your lovely comments and get back to y'all on your blogs ASAP Monday. :-)

Where I am in the writing process:  Wrapping up Novel #1. I have about 20 more pages to edit and then some new scenes to add to the ending to make it smoother. I also entered another writing contest this week.

My current problems: When do you say, "That's it"? While feedback for Novel #1 has been positive (from the 1 person that's read it), I'm still wondering if I'm just sinking time and energy into Novel #1. Is it even worth editing? Should I abandon it and focus solely on Novel #2? Is Novel #1 good/unique/long enough to query? How do you know whether or not your novel is good enough to keep spending time on?

Question(s) this week: When it comes to Young Adult, how far is too far? (I'm talking about sex here.) And while we're on the about cursing?

My stance? Anything beyond a little innocent kissing is too much for my work.
  1. Beyond that point, authors sometimes include certain licentious activities to replace a thought out, developed emotional relationship. Even in those instances when the activities in question are a culmination of a grounded relationship, these scenes often come off feeling cheap, simply a gratuitous ploy to sell a novel.
  2. Writers should be writing books for young adults, and not all young adults jump into bed with their SOs. Too many books on the market treat teenagers as if they have no control over their rampant hormones whatsoever. You know what? Some teenagers say no. A lot more of them struggle to say no. We need to include stories about the teens that succeed as well as those who don't.
  3. I strive to be a good role model in everything I do. Always act--and write--as if someone's watching--and reading. I could not, in good conscience, write about activities that violate my personal beliefs, thereby condoning such activities.
  4. If I would be embarrassed to show my work to my mother, grandmother or teenage cousins, it's inappropriate.
As for swearing, I don't include it in my own works. (See points 3 and 4 above.) If there's a character that seems to be the swearing type, I get around it by textually omitting the words.
For instance, "Shaking a mottled fist, he yelled, 'Get offa my lawn!' Of course, being the crotchety old man that he was, he included a few other choice words as well."
And okay, that's not a great example, but it's the first thing that popped into my head. Sometimes, the omission of swearing causes me to be creative with my dialogue, but since I personally don't swear, I've had a lot of practice coming up with innovative (and clean!) epithets. That said, while sex in a novel automatically earns it at least a 17+ maturity rating, a novel with swearing can still maintain a 13+ rating, depending on the amount and types of words.


  1. I was wondering if you knew any other ways to show anger without cussing. There are a few point in my book where I want to drop the f-bomb b/c I can easily show how angry a character is at that moment. Ideas for avoiding it?--and still showing the same amount of anger?

  2. The answer to your problem is well... you don't. I keep going on my novels because I love them and I love the characters I dreate and their unique inner and outer problems. I don't know if I will ever publish my book. I will try but I love it being mine. That is why I keep writing it because I feel I owe it to my little world but I honestly have no idea if its a good book or not.