Phew! Well I’m back guys – and yes it is me this time! The Man in Shadow’s plan to take over my blog failed miserably as everyone saw through his lies! I’m kinda embarrassed that he let me get the drop on me to be honest. Turns out that he, one of my characters, had become self aware and he had become more powerful than I imagined! He was the one that had been trolling me for the last few days.
Thankfully, Zarracka stopped him and rescued me. I did have a whole fight scene planned but... well, I don’t have a Michael Bay budget. Basically, this is how the fight went!
Yeah... kinda anticlimactic I know. Oh well.
Anyhoo, moving on. Today’s post is something that I wanted to talk about because of something that happened recently – which got me thinking.
About a week or so ago, I completed a new Young Adult novel, and I found a publisher that I thought would be pretty good for it (I never published through a publisher before so I thought, why not?). Also, as this book had a Disney/Pixar influence, I hoped that would catch their attention. It did and they agreed to read the manuscript. A few days back, I got some feedback from them, saying that they didn’t consider it a Young Adult novel as the main protagonist was in her twenties.
My first initial reaction was – really? Ok, that’s not a bad comment at all, but it was a little strange. See, I may be totally showing my ignorance here, but I always thought that Young Adult (as well as New Adult, Adult, etc) was simply there to differentiate the age range of your target audience and the age of your protagonist shouldn’t determine that.
Well, after putting it across on Facebook to my friends, a few of which are authors themselves, the general consensus is that Young Adult novels are stories that have a protagonist that is between 13-18 years of age. This is apparently something that publishers adhere to quite strictly from what I hear (if anyone can confirm or deny this, please leave a comment below) and I suppose it makes sense. After all, if you have a target audience in mind, you obviously want to put a character in there that your audience can latch onto and follow the story. This is probably why Harry Potter was so popular as a character – not just that he did magic, but because he grew up like a real human with each passing story. So I don’t entirely blame the publishers for that.
However, to quote a conflicting argument from a FB friend – isn’t this “Somewhat flawed logic”, and mentioned a book called Room, which is apparently told from the POV of a 5 year old boy. By that logic, it could be considered a children’s book – but from what I’ve read of it, it’s anything but. Again, please correct me if I’m wrong on this. But I completely see his point on this, why does a Young Adult novel HAVE to have a Young Adult protagonist? What’s wrong with maybe have a slightly older protagonist that represents the values and morals that Young Adult is supposed to teach? You could argue that comics are aimed at a Young Adult market (although there are some mature storylines out there) and the superheroes/heroines in that are mostly adults, or aliens, or robots or mutants, or furries... um... I’ll stop there. My point is that these heroes may not be kids, but they do represent a moral and ethical code that they want their readers to follow – although there ARE teenage superheroes as well (Static Shock, Kid Flash and Speedy to name a few).
Another point raised by my friend was that isn’t it “rather patronising to the target audience that they'll only relate to characters of their own age”. Again, I totally agree with this statement. Although I don’t think that is the intent at all, but I do believe what he says. Again I refer to the above statement with the superheroes – what is so wrong about having an adult protagonist? Look at Doctor Who for instance – the main character in that isn’t a child (though he acts like one some of the time) and his companions are usually twenty something women (at least in the later series), but people of all ages – even children – can related to the characters and enjoy the stories. So why shouldn’t the same apply for novels?
Here is my view on Young Adult. I feel that a Young Adult novel doesn’t HAVE to include a Young Adult protagonist. It just needs to teach the target market a moral lesson, whether it be friendship, love, bravery – etc. Now that doesn’t mean that it CAN’T have a teenage hero (and if it does that’s cool), I just don’t think it needs to follow that convention. Especially if you look at Manga, where their Young Adult (Shonen) Mangas often have more adult characters rather than teenagers – although their demographics tend to be a little different to ours – so I’ve probably shot myself in the foot saying that! XD
But you know what, I’m probably just making a mountain out of a molehill. If my novel is classed as more New Adult than Young Adult, fair play. I just was somewhat surprised by this statement and wanted to put another opinion across.
What do you guys think? Please leave a comment below and let me know!
Thanks for reading guys!
What? You again?
Man in Shadow: Ha! You may have foiled my attempts to ruin you before. But I’ll be back. You haven’t seen the last of me! I’ll come back and troll your blog even more than I did before! You’ll never be rid of me! I’ll haunt your nightmares, disturb your every waking moment. I will make you suffer, I will burn you, I will...
Oh, piss off, Man in Shadow! No one cares what you think!
Man in Shadow: What? (sniff) How can you be so mean? That’s it! I’m gonna, I’m gonna... I’m gonna gather an army of the most evil minds in fiction and... I’m gonna come back and totally crush you!
(He disappears in a puff of smoke)
Pffff. Good luck with that!