You know, my previous novels in the Downey trilogy never fit very neatly into a genre box, but for the sake of marketing I would call them romance/family drama. Basically because you’re forced to, even when you’re Indie. Marketing is exhausting, and I stopped for a while knowing that at the time I was not writing in earnest. But now I am, and I’m trying to decide if it fits a genre box.
Needless to say, I’m chafing a bit at discovering there are supposed “rules” one has to follow if one is writing Young Adult. I had no idea people liked to delude themselves that 16-year-olds don’t swear. I asked my 16-year-old daughter what she thought of this rule and she said, “Young Adult is for twelve year-olds and adults who want to relive their childhood.” (All said while texting on her iPhone something that contained ‘ffs’ and ‘gmafb’)
There was no swearing in that verbalized sentence but trust me, my faceless internet friends, it was only because a “parental unit” was in the room. I have been down the hall from her and her friends and, lawdy child, I blush at their filthy tongues.
So I ask, how disingenuous is it to pretend teenagers don’t swear in your prose? I think very. Now, do you need to salt every line with it? No, of course not. But I’m not about to pretend the main character of my current WIP (who is sixteen going on seventeen) has the lexicon of a monk.
So I guess… my work-in-progress has a teenage boy for a main character, but probably won’t be ‘young adult’ if one has to conform to that rule. This book is (hopefully) going to deal with topics such as depression and anxiety and sexual identity and of course, family dynamics.
Is there a genre box for that? Good thing I don’t write with genre in mind.
“I will not fit in your box.” — Dan Reynolds