Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Teen Scene Tuesday: No Way to PDA in YA?

So, something scary has happened. No, it has nothing to do with my health or my writing or my day job. No, this is far, far creepier. You see, my 16-year-old niece may have a boyfriend.

As you can tell, this terrifies me. I can totally see why she has a boyfriend. She's one of the funniest, most intelligent people I've ever met--and I don't just say that because we're blood-related (though that does give me bragging rights). But I can still remember dressing her up in silly clothes when she was a baby, and hear her whining about how much she wants "juice-sh" (she always had to make that extra sound at the end).

I trust my niece to make wise decisions about her "love life"--and her mom has done a fantastic job with raising her. But still, just the thought of some punk getting all touchy-feely with her makes me sick to my stomach.

Yes, this is coming from the woman who gets disappointed when she has a chapter in which her characters DON'T make out. From the same woman who snapped at someone in her critique group when they complained that I should not make my teen characters have sex.

So even though I don't have kids of my own, I can now understand where some of these parents are coming from. I just finished my NaNo novel, and when two of my characters got a little too close for comfort, it started feeling a little...strange to me.

Have I lost my edge now that my niece is dating? To all my writers that are parents out there, how do you feel about love scenes in YA novels? Also, has having your own kids affected the way you write now? I'd also love to read thoughts from people who don't have kids yet like me.


Marquita Hockaday said...

I don't have kids, either (DUH!) and I totally get where you're coming from. Could be because that niece you mentioned is ALSO my niece and thinking about that child making out makes my stomach knot up and skin crawl. UGH!

Knowing that she's being all cuddled up with someone does make my fingers twitch when I write love scenes now, but if our niece (who at one point would have rather hug on a book than a boy) is dating and possibly doing more, *shudders* then we have first hand proof that it IS happening. Our job as teen writers is to not write down to our teen audience, but to write what they can relate to. I think we're doing a good job of that.

In the mean time, let's just look at the baby pics of our now teenaged niece and imagine the good ol' days when she used to torture us with hours of Rugrats and Barney :D

Taryn said...

I'm at that weird point where some of my friends are getting engaged (19 years old for both of them), and some still have never had a boyfriend (Another 19 year old). It's weird. At 18, I don't have kids, but I have a baby (ok, 16) sister, and I don't want to think about her and PDA and ewwww. Luckily she still thinks boys have cooties, and her idea of a good date is Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid.

But yes. It's definitely weird.

Crystal said...

Haha, I totally get this. My nieces are too young to date (4 years old), but some of my cousins are younger and they totally do things that my characters would do. When my characters do it, I love it. When my family members do it, I cringe!

commutinggirl said...

Interesting post and I have to say I had never thought about it before. I don´t have kids either. I have a 10 years old niece going on 16 according to my sister :-) and two little girls I took care of for 6/7 years and whom I love dearly...They´re now almost 14 and 16 and I had a hard time when they started dating...

However, in my writing, I try to remember what they must go through (in terms of feelings) or what I and my friends went through as teenies.

It´s good to visualize, it helps us with the "showing" part but you cannot visualize with your niece otherwise you get the "ewwwwww no don´t do that!" factor to your character...

Cannot wait to read what others have to say about this...keep us updated on how you found a way around it :-)

Pam Harris said...

Thanks for the comments! I'm trying to just focus on my characters now, and their motives behind their actions. I need to put the niece on the backburner while I write or all of my characters are going to be saints. :)

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