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Archive for the tag “creative writing”

Who Am I Writing For?

Possible teen readers

copyright Jen Connelly 2014

When talking about writing there are two halves of me. There’s the half that writes fanfiction and the half that writes original novels. Other than on the basic scale of word choices, my styles for each are completely different. My fanfiction is oriented for an adult audience (not to be confused with adult content); my original fiction caters to readers of young adult fiction.

According to an article in Publisher’s Weekly from 2012, the number of adult readers of YA fiction is growing substantially. They cite a study done by Bowker Market Research that shows that 55% of consumers of young adult novels are adults over eighteen.

I remember first reading this article back in late 2012 or early 2013. Although I’ve been a avid reader of YA since early 2012, my first thought when seeing this statistic was, “duh, of course because they are adults buying books for their kids.” That is true, but according to the study, 78% of the people polled were buying the books for themselves. That’s a lot of people.

As a 30-something year old woman, I fall into the largest segment of readers–the 30-44 age range. Teens, though, are a shrinking demographic. A Time article notes that the number of teens reading for fun has drastically declined over the last thirty years. According to the study they cite, 45% of seventeen-year olds read for fun only once or twice a year. Only 19% of seventeen-year olds read for fun every day.

Obviously things are shifting, but what does that mean for me as a writer? It means that my style for YA fiction is converging with my style for my fanfiction. That doesn’t mean I’m suddenly going to be writing about the same things (for one, I write in a completely different genre for my fanfiction), but it means I’m writing for a different audience–to a point.

As I’ve been working on my NaNoWriMo novel this past month, I’ve noticed my thinking patterns have changed. I used to think about teens–about my kids and their friends–and about what they like when I’d develop a story. What would interest them? How would they react to a story? This time, though, I’ve been thinking about the adult readers. What would they want? What would they believe is possible within the context of my story?

Becoming aware of that has changed how I write, and how I think about YA as a genre. When thinking of promoting a book, I don’t think of reaching out to teens. I picture adults–women my age–who spend their time discussing books and writing on Goodreads, Facebook, and individual blogs. They are who I’m reaching out to.

The weird thing is that we all enjoy the same aspects of books that teens do, so why am I drawing a line between the two? I’m not entirely sure. Maybe it’s because I’ve read so many reviews of teen books commenting on the unrealistic, unhealthy relationships boys and girls have in them. Or how events are unbelievable. For adult readers, a lot of the predicaments the characters get into can easily be solved with our hindsight, but for teens, most likely experiencing these things for the first time, the situations are plausible and insightful. They might help them figure out their own lives–they don’t want to see perfect relationships; they want all the messed up emotional fallout that goes with love because that’s what they know and need to learn to deal with.

I think right now I’m balancing along the line, but leaning towards writing for my adult readers. If the trends in teen reading continue as they are (which seems likely) then adults will be the only ones reading my books. Maybe then YA fiction will lose the stigma attached to it, and those of us who read and write it won’t feel like we need to mumble through our lists of titles when someone asks what we are reading.

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The Amazing Story Generator (week 6)

Last one for awhile. I’m having fun with these, and getting some really crazy combos.

With only a week to live, a computer hacker has a showdown with a sheriff.

With only a week to live, a computer hacker has a showdown with a sheriff.

 

Another really odd prompt. I keep thinking of Eureka fanfic. So how come the hacker only has a week to live? Is it natural causes or did he mess with the wrong people? Why in the world is he trying to take down the sheriff if he’s about to die? Lots of different ways this one could go.

So tell me how you think it all fits together, or write a short story based on the prompt.

The Amazing Story Generator (week 5)

Another Monday, another prompt. Don’t forget you don’t have to write an actual story. Just tell us about what you think is happening (and voila! that’s how a story starts).

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Following a disastrous job interview, a North Korean scientist inadvertently starts World War III.

I swear to god this came up randomly and I couldn’t stop laughing. This is where fiction hits a little too close to reality. Would make a great comedy of errors. Or a really depressing post-apocalypse story.

The Amazing Story Generator (week 4)

So, I’m having way too much fun with this book. So many interesting combinations of ideas.

On vacation for the first time in years, a world weary intelligence agent creates a family of robots.

On vacation for the first time in years, a world weary intelligence agent creates a family of robots.

So what’s the story behind this one? Why does the guy create a family of robots? Is he lonely? Did his family die or leave him while he was off on a mission? Maybe the family of robots are a bunch of clones meant to make his life easier? What did he do as a CIA agent (or pick your choice of intelligence agency here)? This could be made into something serious and deep or something completely silly.

The Amazing Story Generator (week 3)

On to the prompt:

After receiving a life-changing prophecy, the world's tallest woman founds a nudist colony.

After receiving a life-changing prophecy, the world’s tallest woman founds a nudist colony.

Oooookay. I don’t even know what to think of this one. What kind of life-changing prophecy would cause someone to open a nudist colony? Does being super tall help determine the woman’s direction? This could be a very interesting story.

So why don’t you write it? Or tell us about what you think is going on.

The Amazing Story Generator (week 2)

This week’s prompt is:

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Spoiled by a lifetime of luxury, an out-of-work writer gets married on a whim.

An out-of-work writer that’s spoiled by luxury? Who is this guy–Stephen King? So why does he decide to get married? Is it out of boredom? To find a muse? To inherit all that wealth when his sick grandfather dies?

What did you come up with? Tell us about it or write the story.

The Amazing Story Generator

Just to have some fun around here (and maybe get me writing something) I’m going to post a random prompt from The Amazing Story Generator that I won at a local NaNo event last month.

This weeks prompt is:

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Suddenly able to hear others’ thoughts, a rookie cop breaks into prison.

Any ideas? How does the cop start to hear thoughts? What did he hear that would make him break into a prison? Is he trying to stop something or rescue someone? Why do something so risky? Who is he? Or is it a woman?

Share your thoughts or write a short story for the prompt.

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