With the holidays and new year on the horizon, along with my thesis semester, I think it's time to look back and reflect. With the spirit of reflection in mind, I now present you with THE TOP TEN THINGS I LEARNED THIS SEMESTER (some of which I already knew).
10) Studying what is marketed as young adult doesn't necessarily tell you what young adults really want. After all, those decisions are made by people who are most definitely NOT young adults. Maybe young retirees.
9) No amount of shocking language, situations, sexuality, or violence precludes a novel from being marketed as young adult. Many young adults gravitate toward this.
8) Young adult books tends to be focused on the life of a teenager in the here and now. Those that look back nostalgically at teen life tend to be marketed toward adults.
7) While certain types of young adult that get reluctant readers to open a book through racy plots or larger font are great, we can't make the mistake of thinking that all young adult readers are reluctant readers. Some like a challenge.
6) Some young adult writers didn't set out to be young adult writers. They wrote. A guy in a suit called it young adult. Bam. Young adult writer.
5) What is marketed as young adult does not necessarily make it what young adults want to read. Once again, adults made these decisions. More accurately, you can't make conclusions about what's interesting to young adults by studying what is marketed to young adults.
4) In fact, you may not be able to judge what is interesting to young adults to read by looking at what they are reading. They were told they wanted to read that by the big, bad adults in expensive suits that told them they liked it by labeling "young adult."
3) You don't set out to be edgy. The story sometimes requires it, and backing down from telling the story as accurately to your vision as possible is wrong. Writing it that way simply to make a statement that you can be edgy is LAME.
2) Less people are offended by "edgy" content than you would think. In fact, in the northeast where I live, most people really aren't offended by much at all. Or at least not to the degree that can cause protest and bloody battles. The issue is that those select few that do give a shit CAN MAKE A LOT OF NOISE!
1) Reading makes you want to write. I read A LOT this semester. Like a freakin' ton. And fast. So, my memory might be a little bit of a blur on some of it, but it certainly makes you want to get on the computer and write write write. I remember as a kid watching football and baseball on TV and just wanting to pick up a ball and go do it. Same thing. Let's roll!
Well, that's it for the semester. I imagine this blog will take on a little different look now that each weekly entry is not mandated by my own syllabus. I'd like to talk about whatever floats my boat, and I probably will. But I like the name, so that will probably stay. Who knows what lies in the future. (Hopefully a nice publishing contract). See 'ya at the res if you're a WestConn student. If not, I probably won't see ya, which is probably for the best.