Wednesday, June 13, 2007

"Young Adult Fiction".......Ohh I see.

I don't know if any other writers, new or otherwise, have experienced the blank faced response and the disappointed purse of the lips to the notion that they might write 'Young Adult or even children's fiction'?

I am often asked what sort of book I am writing, "What is it about?" A perfectly reasonable question. But why is there a hierarchy in the assumed capability of writer 's between the genres and the markets??? Was Charles Dickens' 'A Christmas Story' and his other children's fictions, thought to be less accomplished or important than his more adult works?? I don't think that was so, at the time his works were embraced by children and adults alike! In much the same way that the works of J.K Rowling have been today.

In some ways there comes with writing Young Adult fiction, a greater responsibility to protect aspects of human morality and also, to refrain from describing ideas or imagery that a reader might find too disturbing for their age.

About a year ago when I told someone I was writing for children, the man said to me, "Oh, for kids I see. Well, it is a place to start" - bear in mind he was an accountant with no connection to the writing industry whatsoever - everyone is an expert aren't they!

One of the most wonderful things about children's literature is that children don't analyze the text while they are reading. They become consumed by the story and truly exist in that world in a way that I don't think adults ever truly can.

I remember being so consumed by 'Playing Beattie Bow' by Ruth park, that I read it over and over. It is set in Old Sydney Town's 'The Rocks' in Australia, and when we went there for a school excursion, I really really hoped that I might be the one, lucky child, who got a glimpse of her tattered skirt disappearing behind the old stone walls and down some alley out of sight.

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