May 28th, 2008


Sex in YA

After getting back the first few critiques on SHATTERED, something was startingly clear: It needs more sex.

Okay, so thats a little out of context. But it was in three of the four criques I got back. They all wanted to know why I skipped the scene where my MC trades in the V-card. And to be honest? No reason. I just... didn't write it. I didn't even realize until after reading the critiques how glaringly obvious this ommission really was. 

SHATTERED is meant to be a no-holds barred, dark, gritty, realistic look at a girl's year in an abusive relationship. The feelings, scenes and yes, even actions, are raw and uncensored. Its in first person POV. She's not hiding anything. So why did I choose to hide their first time? 

There's an age old argument amongst the YA set--readers, writers, booksellers--about whether sex, drugs, alcohol, death, violence, etc, is okay. 

And it is. It's all okay. But it needs to be written correctly for your story. By all means, write what needs to be there. I did a disservice to SHATTERED by leaving out what is likely a pivotal point in their relationship. It needs to be there. Why all the hoopalah about books that have sex or drugs or any of that? it happens in the real world. And books are meant to mirror teens real lives. To show them how other people handle situations.  To sweep them away in something that could happen to them.

And by all means, do not talk down to them.  Your scene with sex or drugs is not a public service announcement. If the rest of your book, like Shattered, is raw, real and uncensored, don't go G-rated for the next five pages. 

To give you an example, I once wrote a book called THE JETSETTERS SOCIAL CLUB, the first book my agent took on submissions. When I wrote it the first time, it was meant as an adult book. A Chick-lit. It had one sex scene. When I changed it to a YA, I never touched those five pages. That was what happened. That was what fit the book. the scene didn't change because the audience did.

I guess what I'm saying is don't set limits for yourself becuase you're writing YA. Write the story the way it needs to be told.



 After 18 months on submission, 26 rejections, and nine drafts.....

PRADA AND PREJUDICE just received multiple offers. 

Excuse me while I freak out. Details as soon as I can share.