Wednesday, November 10, 2010

#NaNoWriMo results and YA Characters as a Metaphor for Teens

I am very pleased with my writing today. Not only did I write about the pain of loss but I wrote 2043 words which puts me at a total of 18357 so far this month.

I am still thinking about a perfect name for my main character. Part of my problem with giving my main character in my NaNoWriMo project a name is I want him to be able to be a metaphorical stand in for any teen reading this story if they so choose.

My goal of perhaps having a nameless main character is to give the reader an easy path to turning the character into themselves. I want the to consider what they would do if they were presented with these challenges. However I want this project to also be fun and engaging for the reader without the reader having to put him or her self into the book if they do not want to. I find is to be a stimulating line to walk.

Does this idea even make sense, or do I just need to get out of my head and just enjoy telling the story?

Which leads me to another thought.
Do you think that it is wrong to use YA books and characters to push morality?

I am not writing this story with an agenda per say but I can see where someone could take the ultimate "lesson" of my story to be that, 1. there are consequences for your actions and you have to take responsibility for them, 2. that sometimes restrictions are in place for a reason, and 3. that just because you are born a certain way or just because other have placed certain expectations on you does not mean that you have to be prisoner to circumstance. You are free to make your own choices and be who you want to be.

So what do you think?

Do you think that YA characters are stand in for teens to allow them to process difficulties of everyday life? Do you push any specific morality in your writing?


  1. Dang it! I wrote so much! just..poof gone.

    The name thing, I wouldn't worry about finding the perfect one to fit everyone else. I donno about everyone else but usually when I read I will always put myself into the character and how they deal and all. So any name that fits you and the story and the character will be perfect. As long as it's not Bob. No one but Bob can get into Bob's head. Remember that.

    And as long as the message/moral/lesson isn't preachy then it will be fine. I think any amount of positivity, problem solving, or lesson you can give to a teen they will listen to and understand is wonderful.

    Congrats on ANOTHER amazing Nano day!

  2. I have no problem with stories with a moral lesson in them as long as the lesson isn't the main agenda of the book because that can come across as preachy.
    W.I.P. It: A Writer's Journey

  3. Colene - I hate it when that happens. I had the same thing happen to me tonight on Abby's blog. Thanks for all you advice and support your are awesome!

    Lynda - thank you for the follow and the perspective. I do not think my story is coming across preachy, but at the same time I am kind of flying by the seat of my pants and i have not actually gone back and read any of the story yet. I edit so much while writing my adult project that writing just a full on "sh*tty first draft" as Anne LaMott would call it, has been very engaging experience.

  4. I think every YA has some sort of message that usually goes the moral route. Just be sure not to shove it down their throats. People know when you are pushing an agenda or being preachy and they sniff it out fast. Teens don't want to be talked down to by adults. They won't read the books if they thing its condescending or preachy or whatever. But I dont' think you will have a problem with that. With the way you write, plus the fact that you do read YA, you know how to weave the message into your stories without being to obvious about it.

  5. Congrats on your NaNo word count! As for your question, I think that for any book, YA or otherwise, if a moral sort of evolves organically from the story, it goes over fine. It all comes back to the 'showing not telling' rule. If your story naturally reveals (shows) a certain lesson, then that is much better than you simply telling a moral, which will seem forced.

  6. I think the concept of morality is very different to everyone. So a character that says no to someone offering her meth can be "preachy" to one teen while someone saying no to a sip of beer could be "preachy" to another. Or, conversely, saying yes to sex is immoral to one and liberating to another. Just tell the story, is my opinion.

    And the no-name thing? It worked out pretty well for The Bride in the Kill Bill series. :)