S. Winchester recently posted about Writer’s Digest insights into the Paranormal and YA Genre. Specifically referring to romance in YA and why it’s vital to include, at the very least, romantic subplots to attract the young female “relationship-obsessed” audience. (Their words, not mine)
Well, she had a few things to say about that.
And as it turns? So do I.
Though…I feel semi-hypocritical.
On one hand, I love a good romance subplot. Heck, most of the books on my keeper shelves are romance and most of my favorite authors have romance as a staple in their stories in some way or another. It’s the highest selling genre bar none.
Even outside of novels…make me watch any show, I’ll probably end up “shipping” two of the characters at some point. Even if said pairing is non-canon, as in not the narrative or writer’s intention. (And then rolling around in a puddle of my own tears because the shows I watch don’t let me have nice things.) And I’m not the only one. Not by a long shot.
On the other hand…
Writing romance was never a goal of mine. (Adding romantic subplots? Well, that’s a different story… because I’m a sap)
But joining tumblr has made me incredibly and irrevocably self-aware, not only with regards to society’s impact (and how far we haven’t come) with regards to gender, race, sexuality and health, but also as a writer’s role in those very same fields. We writers have an important job: to connect with people we otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach. It’s made a big difference in the way I approach my writing as well as character creation.
Kait Nolan recently made a post about trying to read outside her gender, which I found very interesting. She’s actively looking for recommendations on books by male authors but on the grounds that the books must have the HEA endings. Because that is why she reads. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I think most straight women do, but of course there are exceptions.
Personally, while I do like the HEA ending, I don’t need it. So long as the ending is logical and satisfying in some way, I’m good.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the brand I want as an author, the type of stories I want to write, and the people I want to reach. Like S. Winchester, I too want stories about women who can stand on their own. Whose stories don’t revolve around who they fall in love with (again, not that there’s anything wrong with those). I want to write them too. Not just because I’ve always wanted to be that sort of woman, but because…
There is a huge erasure problem in media that needs to be fixed. Such as, but not limited to, where asexuality is concerned. And as Chuck Wendig recently said…fictional representation isn’t created in a vacuum. You, as an author and creator of words and worlds, have to risk fucking up royally and representing those you don’t want ignored.
Because if you don’t, they always will be. Because not everyone is willing or capable of taking those risks.
Of course…there are as many risks with playing it safe as there are with confronting the void. But I’m more interested in the latter, so we’ll talk about that next blog post.
Weigh in with your thoughts. What do you think?