If you read my post on March 26th, you know I was having a dilemma. You’ll be happy to know I’ve resolved it, thanks in part to all the wonderful advice I received!
I will be hosting an interview with YA author Cindy M. Hogan on Thursday, April 26th. We’ll discuss her writing, as well as the use of violence in YA literature. What I would like from you, my dear readers, is for you to gather up any questions you might have relating to violence in YA and come prepared. She has said she’ll be more than willing to discuss the topic, as well as answer your questions at the day, so think up some good ones! In fact, I’ve you’d like to leave any questions you might have as comments on this post, I will try to work them into the interview.
And since we’re discussing violence in YA literature, I might as well give you my two cents worth.
I’ve always had a highly active imagination, great for being a writer, not so great when you’re an impressionable teen prone to nightmares. I think that teens are often more mature than we give them credit for, but as far as violence in YA books, I think that the description of violent acts should not be gratuitous. If you must include violence in your story, if it’s necessary to the plot line, than do so, but try to soften it a little. Remember, YA is NOT intended for adults, no matter how grown up teens might think they are. Keep the gory, blow-by-blow descriptions, for your adult books, please.
I also think that our society is so awash in violence in all its forms that we’re becoming immune to it. As a culture, we no longer respond to violent acts with as much shock and horror as we once would have, and with each generation, this lack of response is getting worse.
As writers, we hold a power that many people do not. The words we write may very well influence the teen who is reading them, for better or for worse. I’m not saying that you should preach, dumb down your story, etc. I am only saying that you should think about what your write. Make it the best it can. Hone your craft. There are many writers out there that successfully paint scenes that can be construed as violent without resorting to graphic imagery.
If you’re a YA writer, then you are shaping young minds. This is something that we, as writers, should never forget.