Monday, August 5, 2013

Book Review and Tough Choices

It's tricky making a clean YA story feel realistic in a world where young people swear and are experimenting with sex. This brings me to the friend-recommended audio-book I listened to last week called The Fault In Our Stars by John Green.
It featured an excellent teenage voice and the atypical subject matter of teens with cancer. I loved those things about it and more. In an author interview recorded at the end, the author tells that he wants readers to get "what it's like to be young and in love and sick". His goal was met. He also succeeded in perpetuating worldly ideals such as it being better not to die a virgin. I can't help but notice my difference in moral standards, even while I try not to impose them on others. It is what it is. I suppose I am not the target audience. I just wish there were more clean reading choices for me from good, national authors.

Because I consider all talents to be God-given--at whatever current level they exist--I feel an added responsibility when those talents affect others. The more public the venue, the more responsibility to bless the lives of others through 1) giving my best performance, and 2) giving it as God would have me do. I want to please Him. That means striving to keep high moral standards in my writing while wanting to please man as well. (Or at least a portion of readers.)

I am committed to using my writing as a way to uplift others. It is easier to meet this goal with my inspirational non-fiction WIP, Bishop Stories, or my Book of Mormon Fiction, The Seventh City, than with Perception, a contemporary YA suspense. I've gone back and forth on the latter becoming LDS fiction rather than mainstream. So far it's still for the national market and I hope to stick to that. Either way, I want it to be a clean read and provide readers with that choice. 

Leave me your recommendation for a good, clean read. 


Brock said...

The tough part for you is that most young adult voices are laden with angst and grit, which is why John Green's characters ring true. But you would like your characters to have a clear assurance of God's love for them, and confidence in obedience to the commandments. That may have been your experience, but it does not represent the broader teenager experience. So the question for you is how to bring angst to your writing without implying doubt or disobedience.

Renae Weight Mackley said...

Good thoughts, Brock. I miss having your critiques.
So, perhaps it's tougher for me to write the YA voice than those who experienced more angst growing up? However, I see many strong, confident, happy youth today shining through their own problems or helping others deal with theirs. Not all young adults have big worries and fears all the time. Some characters own more than their share of it. It's tricky to get the right balance for each character in a story. We have to balance realism with likeable characters. I hope I can get mine to ring true. I value your comments and hope I can include you as a beta reader in the future.

Brock said...

The good thing about angst is that it finds its roots in conflict, and all good stories need a strong conflict.

Renae Weight Mackley said...

Well said, my friend.