Author Topic: Teen/Young Adult novels  (Read 1191 times)

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Offline Her3tiK

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Teen/Young Adult novels
« on: July 17, 2013, 08:50:06 pm »
So I've had this idea for a while now to write a book aimed at the teen/young adult audience that involves/addresses issues they're likely to face in real life. Things such as bullying, homophobia/bigotry, sex, drug use, and even changing/losing religious faith, that many of the novels I've read don't really address. I've -ish got a story line in my head that wouldn't be too hard to write out (if I can concentrate), and might be justified as a series, instead of one book. I'd like to be able to put something like this together, so that there's some kind of media that addresses these issues in an informative, and hopefully entertaining way. Problem is, I don't know of many T/YA stories that really address these, or how detailed I can get without shooting myself in the foot. Does anyone know of any T/YA series I could look in to that does something of this nature, or perhaps have some advice on how to address issues like teen sex and drug use in an informative way, without turning it into an immediate shitstorm*?

*Barring, of course, the obvious moment that some overprotective and under-educated dimwit gets their hands on a copy and loses their minds because I do more than say "X is evil, don't ever do it".
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Offline MadmanJohnson

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Re: Teen/Young Adult novels
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2013, 09:53:26 pm »
It'll give us quote material, at the very least. Their reactions, not the book.
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Offline Feral Dog

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Re: Teen/Young Adult novels
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2013, 11:24:14 pm »
Drugs:
-A character who has friends that they know smoke pot, but this is remarked on as a generally irresponsible idea by otherwise good teens
--kid goes to party, drinks alcohol. Nothing bad happens. Kid realizes friend who invited them to party is an alcoholic, or on the way to being such
--kid in low-income area lives with drug addicts, the effects of being raised by an addict, maybe meets a kid with similar problems but upper-class
---if they get in trouble, how the media treats them differently
--high school athlete starts taking steroids

Religion:
-A character who has friends of varying religious backgrounds, who may not necessarily get along with each other as much as they do with the main character
-an atheist gets in a bad argument with a religious person, and another atheist sticks up for the religious person because the first one went too far (I've never seen or read this happening in fictionland)
-a religious student makes friends with someone of a religion their family considers bad (ie, Southern Baptist meets Catholic, evangelical meets Mormon, something Abrahamic meets something non-Abrahamic)
-a mildly religious person meets someone more fundamentalist but is unable to argue without raising troubling questions about their own beliefs
-troubled teen whose parents enroll them in a religious school, making things worse (never seen this happen in media, but I've seen it plenty of times in real life)
-kid loses their religion, but pretends to be religious to avoid social stigma or out of sense of solidarity with community

Sex:
-teen girl gets pregnant, keeps baby. The social stigma and harassment that girl faces, etc.
-teen boy impregnates girl, refuses to accept his paternity. Spreads rumors about girl, girl switches schools or drops out. Boy finally shapes up, but girl has had it. She no longer wants anything to do with him and will not allow him around baby or acknowledge his paternity.
-teen realizes they are gay.
-normal cute teen romance, but gay/lesbian.
-teen is sexually assaulted, blamed for it. Manages to get rapist convicted but community rallies around perpetrator.
-kid has STD. Someone finds out and spreads that information.

Bigotry:
-kid doesn't realize parents are racist until they repeat something their parents said after moving to an area with more diversity than they lived before. Bonus points if parents aren't white or are interracial.
-disabled kid and their struggles in an outdated building or with unsympathetic faculty
-teenager showing signs of mental illness, but unaware of it (I know it's overdone, but if done realistically could be a nice change of pace- maybe someone realizes and they get help before a psychotic break, teen is glad)
-teenager with disabled parent/sibling, especially if it's considered an embarrassing disability
-story written from POV of a kid with Down's Syndrome or other mental defect being manipulated by someone else- we see what's wrong and they don't
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EDIT: Aaaand my 10,000th post is about fascism, Plato, and gay sex. This is clearly a great accomplishment.

Offline Her3tiK

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Re: Teen/Young Adult novels
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2013, 12:25:03 am »
Thank you for the suggestions, though I am curious as to if you mean them as ideas to use when writing, or if these are scenarios you've read elsewhere. Several of them certainly seem like common themes, and I am trying to avoid rehashing the tired, largely inaccurate mantras that sex is evil, religion is always good (I'd like to say rarely, but realistically that would never fly), or the smallest sip of booze makes one an alcoholic.

Just for the sake of clarification, here's what I've got in mind for the topics you've listed.
Drugs:
-A character who has friends that they know smoke pot, but this is remarked on as a generally irresponsible idea by otherwise good teens
--kid goes to party, drinks alcohol. Nothing bad happens. Kid realizes friend who invited them to party is an alcoholic, or on the way to being such
--kid in low-income area lives with drug addicts, the effects of being raised by an addict, maybe meets a kid with similar problems but upper-class
---if they get in trouble, how the media treats them differently
--high school athlete starts taking steroids
Admittedly, I'm not quite sure how to integrate drugs into the story just yet. Since it's largely centered around high school, and possibly college as the story arc progresses, a stereotypical party would be easiest, though perhaps not the most interesting. I may have the Main Character go through some kind of drug-related story arc, just because I haven't really given him any issues that affect him directly.

Quote
Religion:
-A character who has friends of varying religious backgrounds, who may not necessarily get along with each other as much as they do with the main character
-an atheist gets in a bad argument with a religious person, and another atheist sticks up for the religious person because the first one went too far (I've never seen or read this happening in fictionland)
-a religious student makes friends with someone of a religion their family considers bad (ie, Southern Baptist meets Catholic, evangelical meets Mormon, something Abrahamic meets something non-Abrahamic)
-a mildly religious person meets someone more fundamentalist but is unable to argue without raising troubling questions about their own beliefs
-troubled teen whose parents enroll them in a religious school, making things worse (never seen this happen in media, but I've seen it plenty of times in real life)
-kid loses their religion, but pretends to be religious to avoid social stigma or out of sense of solidarity with community
For this, I'm thinking the main character will be an agnostic who considers religion largely unimportant to his personal life, but not inherently evil or worthless, while his best friend (female) will be rather vocally opposed. His love interest, by contrast, will come from a rather religious (I'm thinking Baptist) family, and, over the course of the story, lose a lot of her religious leanings. As their feelings for each other grow, their conflicting beliefs will be at odds, which will culminate in one, if not several discussions about the issue. Ultimately, Love Interest will lose her faith, little by little, which will lead to conflict with her parents (or parent; I keep thinking 'single mother' for some reason), though their love for their daughter will ultimately outweigh their unease with her changing beliefs, and they'll learn to accept who she becomes.

Quote
Sex:
-teen girl gets pregnant, keeps baby. The social stigma and harassment that girl faces, etc.
-teen boy impregnates girl, refuses to accept his paternity. Spreads rumors about girl, girl switches schools or drops out. Boy finally shapes up, but girl has had it. She no longer wants anything to do with him and will not allow him around baby or acknowledge his paternity.
-teen realizes they are gay.
-normal cute teen romance, but gay/lesbian.
-teen is sexually assaulted, blamed for it. Manages to get rapist convicted but community rallies around perpetrator.
-kid has STD. Someone finds out and spreads that information.
Coming back to said love interest, this part will incorporate discussion about religious "morals", and their incapability with human nature. This will tie in a great deal with the religious discussion, specifically its views of sex and women. As I have several cousins around the age of the characters I'm creating, I think it's important to include the importance of mutual respect when it comes to sex, particularly in terms of being patient if one's partner isn't "ready", and how their beliefs and home life may have an affect on the issue.
Ultimately, I want this to speak to society's overall perception of women's sexuality by having Love Interest become progressively more comfortable with herself as the story progresses, which will largely be depicted by a gradual change in clothing and attitude. Specifically, I want to make it okay for a woman to be open about her sexual preferences and activities and, hopefully, drive home the idea that there's nothing wrong with this.
I also want to include something to stress the importance of consent, and may have Love Interest date someone else before Main Character. Said other guy will go a little too far (haven't quite decided what makes him stop yet, but I do not want to include a full-blown rape), which will have a very negative impact on Love Interest's views of sex and relationships. For this to fit with the plot points I have so far, it will probably need to happen early on in the story, if only to give time for it to be resolved before the end of the high school story arc.

Quote
Bigotry:
-kid doesn't realize parents are racist until they repeat something their parents said after moving to an area with more diversity than they lived before. Bonus points if parents aren't white or are interracial.
-disabled kid and their struggles in an outdated building or with unsympathetic faculty
-teenager showing signs of mental illness, but unaware of it (I know it's overdone, but if done realistically could be a nice change of pace- maybe someone realizes and they get help before a psychotic break, teen is glad)
-teenager with disabled parent/sibling, especially if it's considered an embarrassing disability
-story written from POV of a kid with Down's Syndrome or other mental defect being manipulated by someone else- we see what's wrong and they don't
One of the major characters is going to be gay, if not two. One of them will be bullied for it, which will again lead back to religion, as well as touch on the hyper-masculine (possibly jock, though that's a bit over-used) culture that's known for being a bit homophobic and misogynistic. I'm thinking Main Character will see Gay Friend being bullied during or after school, and end up fighting Bully over it. Alternatively, I may dump this, and simply acknowledge that Gay Friend is gay, and treat it as though it's nothing special. Give him a boyfriend, make a couple references, but ultimately have the characters act as though it's no big deal.
I'm also thinking Best Friend will be bi, but come from an abusive home that makes her distrusting of men (it will also tie in to her dislike of physical contact that I want to make part of her personality). This will probably be introduced out of nowhere, after said abuse goes too far, and Best Friend shows up at Main Character's front door one night, after finally having enough of her home life.
Her3tik, you have groupies.
Ego: +5

There are a number of ways, though my favourite is simply to take them by surprise. They're just walking down the street, minding their own business when suddenly, WHACK! Penis to the face.

Offline Cataclysm

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Re: Teen/Young Adult novels
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2013, 12:49:21 pm »
Sex:
-teen girl gets pregnant, keeps baby. The social stigma and harassment that girl faces, etc.
-teen boy impregnates girl, refuses to accept his paternity. Spreads rumors about girl, girl switches schools or drops out. Boy finally shapes up, but girl has had it. She no longer wants anything to do with him and will not allow him around baby or acknowledge his paternity.
-teen realizes they are gay.
-normal cute teen romance, but gay/lesbian.
-teen is sexually assaulted, blamed for it. Manages to get rapist convicted but community rallies around perpetrator.
-kid has STD. Someone finds out and spreads that information.

Also, teen girl gets pregnant and then gets an abortion.
I'd be more sympathetic if people here didn't act like they knew what they were saying when they were saying something very much wrong.

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Offline Sleepy

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Re: Teen/Young Adult novels
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2013, 07:33:50 pm »
In Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, the author addresses religion and abortion. It also discusses suicide and body image, but I don't remember the details on those. Good book, though. Spoiler'd just to be safe.

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Offline anti-nonsense

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Re: Teen/Young Adult novels
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2013, 11:58:31 am »
You should do a gay couple with adopted children.
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Offline Her3tiK

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Re: Teen/Young Adult novels
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2013, 12:34:22 pm »
Also, teen girl gets pregnant and then gets an abortion.
In Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, the author addresses religion and abortion. It also discusses suicide and body image, but I don't remember the details on those. Good book, though. Spoiler'd just to be safe.

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I honestly haven't put much though into including abortion as one of the conflicts. It could work into Best Friend's story, who lives with an abusive father/uncle (haven't decided which yet). Since I'm planning on saying the experience gives her big trust issues when it comes to males, as well as a serious dislike of physical contact throughout most of the story, it'd be easiest to work an abortion-style issue into that scenario.

You should do a gay couple with adopted children.
That might work for one of the minor characters. It's not really something I've thought of.
Her3tik, you have groupies.
Ego: +5

There are a number of ways, though my favourite is simply to take them by surprise. They're just walking down the street, minding their own business when suddenly, WHACK! Penis to the face.

Offline PosthumanHeresy

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Re: Teen/Young Adult novels
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2013, 04:45:23 pm »
I think I'd buy multiple copies if you accurately portrayed mild paranoid schizophrenia. Most fiction pretty much only focuses on severe cases, and oftentimes will get details wrong. Someone suffering from a more mild case of paranoid schizophrenia isn't going to be noticed by others without anything being said. That said, they still will have illogical paranoia and auditory and visual hallucinations, just not all the time. I'm just going to detail the one I've spent months helping, since it's the best way for me to explain it. She's told me that in any location, she is always checking for ways to defend herself if she's suddenly attacked, and looking for escape routes. She distrusts technology, believing it's being used to spy on her, but still regularly uses it, but cannot willingly sleep with her iPod on (she sometimes passes out from sleep deprivation, but that's just because we both stay up way too late), because she doesn't trust it. Additionally, her visual hallucinations range from twisted dog-like creatures to messages that were never actually sent (she's replied to things I've never sent on Facebook, for example). She hasn't gone into much detail about the auditory ones, but they're usually hostile, insulting, and try to get her to harm or kill others or herself. She's on medication these days, and it's a lot less worse, but stress can still trigger it and make it bad, and off her meds, that can go even worse. I'd just like to see a paranoid schizophrenic in fiction that wasn't a raving lunatic, but a person who knows something's wrong, but their brain itself is actively a threat to them. Brownie points if they have someone they come to trust over themselves.
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