- a main character who isn’t interested in romance/doesn’t pursue a romance/doesn’t end up in a romantic relationship
- characters who are overweight but are not characterized simply as ‘the fat one’
- same as the above but for LGBT characters
- and again for all ethnic characters
- adults who actually do stuff rather than take a backseat as the teens run around and save the day
- well-developed villains with understandable motives who have an actual chance of succeeding
- the importance of friendships when your family unit is broken/unstable
- coping with depression/anxiety/suicidal thoughts– realistically.
- how a person can be strong without being physically powerful or slapping a different person in the face every week
- that crying doesn’t make you weak, no matter who you are
- supporting someone else’s right to believe what they want, even though you might personally think it’s a load of rubbish
- how love isn’t all heartfelt confessions and spontaneous french-kissing
- the importance of having the courage to let go of the things and people who are bad for you— even if you love them. Even if they’re family.
- doing well in school is fine, but if you fail you can still be successful in life
- how good people can do bad things sometimes and what to do when your entire impression of a person is wrong
- that death is something that happens, but not something to fear
- that sexuality, gender and religion don’t matter, it’s what a person does that matters.
- that being in a relationship is not the only thing in life that matters
And there are so many more things that I’d like to see as well. I’m just so tired of seeing the usual “fitting in isn’t always important!” and “be yourself, kids!” messages in YA books, coupled with a disgusting amount of “Be in a relationship or your life means nothing!”.
Teenagers know that fitting in isn’t important, and they know they’re supposed to “be themselves”. The problem is that they’re teenagers and they’re not going to know who they are for another ten years- and even then it keeps on changing and changing until you’re dead!
I’m turning twenty next month, and while I may end my teenage years relatively unscathed, I have friends who aren’t so lucky. They’ve been given hard lives that you only see in books, TV and movies for the sake of drama. We need YA authors to take a break from writing these cheap, pandering books about ‘that cute, mysterious guy who just enrolled in class’ that they think “empower” teenagers, and actually write something that could help them. That could’ve helped my friends. That could’ve helped me.
You can change lives with your writing. You can do it. All of us can.
- It’s okay to want attention
- It’s okay to love yourself
- It’s okay not to be perfect
- It’s okay to put yourself first sometimes, because
- It’s important to take care of yourself as well as others
- You don’t have to be self-sacrificing and selfless and only think about others all the time
- YOu and YOU ALONE have the power to change your own destiny, your personality, and all of the things that bring you down in life. You don’t always have to be the victim
Because honestly, I think that many YA novels pursues a completely unhealthy self-image, with the protagonist ALWAYS being oh so selfless and good and never doing anything wrong and only thinking about others. I’m not saying that these things are bad, not at all, but I don’t think that I’ve read one single YA novel where it’s an important message to love and take care of yourself too.
And because I grew up with these books, it was put into my head that you can only be a good person if you ALWAYS put others above yourself, and you are bad and shallow and vain if you value yourself just as much as others. That is a very unhealthy train of thought, and that sticked with me and is something I’m still fighting against. That is the main thing pulled me down into my depression in the first place. And I’m just now learning that you have to love and respect yourself to love and respect others. And if I just had one book, one idol, that said that it was important to love yourself – I think that would have changed everything.
I am a tide, a swell, a fish-school.
I am seaweed draped over limbs
tangled through salty hair,
barnacles clinging to skin, clinging to life,
armour for the body, clinking clashing as flesh shifts.
I am clear seawater yet murky ocean,
and I live and carry on this way
only for those seconds when I am submerged,
compressed by water that I cannot breathe,
eyes crying peeled open yearning for a glimpse through the blackness
of the magic I feel when I am not an air-ground creature,
but a sea-creature.
here you go, frances – happy sea prompt. 🙂
BETH IS REALLY COOL
Gods ain’t gonna help you son
You’ll be sorry for what you done
Them gods gonna hurt you son
When you play with a loaded gun
~ The Pantheon (recommended listening)
FINALLY done with this!! I’ve always loved alt-histories, and I suppose that includes within my fandoms. It’s fun to think about how the trolls might be interpreted had they actually won properly and fully ascended to godhood in a healthy universe, especially with how stories and legends morph and change over time.
Twelve gods with golden crowns, eight children to usurp them.
also totally tagwhoring this one, I’ve been working too long on it for it not to be SEEN
jesus where’s the readmore button. sorry this is such a dash stretcher!!
I’m currently working on my debut novel with an editor, and as such I was asked to do a series of presentations to younger students who were interested in creative writing on things I wish I’d known before I got into the business.
Hope it’s of use! 🙂
– willing to send it to those who want a copy