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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Gettin’ Freaky with YA

Once again, this post was inspired by someone spitting nonsense in my ear. I’ve allowed a few of my betas to read BURNING EMERALD, the follow up book to LIVING VIOLET, and I’ve gotten great feedback. However, I keep getting the same question involving the sex life of my underage protagonist. I’ve got friends calling me in the middle of the night asking when Samara and Caleb will finally bone. These are grown women foaming at the mouth, pondering the Big Bang.

I’m surrounded by perverts, ya’ll. And I have a feeling that they’re not the only ones.

Let’s face it, the only reason you plan to watch Breaking Dawn this fall is for the honeymoon scene. Admit it!! (I wanna see the blood and guts during the birth scene, but that’s just how I roll) This is not the only situation where the heightened focus on teen sexuality runs rampant. It’s all over the bookshelves.

When did it come to the point where the most anticipated part of a story is when the two main characters get their freak on? In the past, sex was mentioned in passing, but wasn’t the main event. There seems to be more pressure to deliver the goods to a hormone-driven audience and I’m not sure what message it’s sending to the reader.

Teens have sex. That’s a given. It’s our job as writers to emulate life. Even still, we need a reason for it--not just the warm and fuzzies that a girl gets when her twu wuv walks into the room. If infatuation and lust are the only motivations, there should be a consequence to balance out the reckless behavior: health risks, ruined reputation, moral collapse, emotional breakdown, giving birth to a vampire demon spawn, or at the very least, a sex tape leaked on the internet.

If your female lead decides to give Hottie McHero the “business”, that’s great. If not, hey, it’s not the end of anyone’s world and it sure as hell shouldn’t be the end of your plot.

And PLEASE, be careful in how you write these intimate scenes. I’ve read a few stories that made me blush, take a second look at the cover, and try to remember that it’s a teen book. I mean wow, just wow! It’s been said that a partially covered woman is sexier than a completely naked one. The less detail you give in these situations, the better, especially when you targeting a young audience. Leave something for the imagination, people. Subtlety and innuendo are a writer’s best friends.

As for my own writing, I can’t place the blame solely on my betas. I did write about beings that are known for sexual deviance and Caleb is just plain smexy. Things are bound to go awry and it’s only a question of when. With that said, my characters have more important things to worry about, like, I don’t know, not dying.

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