My mom is typically one of the first people I send my stories to for feedback. She received a draft of my novel even before I went back and did the first pass of editing. She’ll continue to receive each draft after I’ve finished editing them. But let me let you in on a little secret; most of what I write is geared toward young adults, and the things that aren’t are usually short vignettes that don’t have the page length to develop into something racy or never see the light of day. I’m not going to put anything into my young adult novel that I wouldn’t feel comfortable with my mom reading, because then it wouldn’t be appropriate for the intended audience.
I think part of my decision to write young adult literature stems from the sheer terror of writing about adult topics and letting other people read what I’ve written. Sharing it with a few friends is one thing, but I’m not comfortable enough with some topics to share them with the whole world… especially not when that world contains my parents… and my grandparents. I freely admit to anyone who asks that my ultimate goal is to be a published author, which invariably leads them to question if I’ve written anything they might have read. I don’t think I could admit to a stranger that I wrote erotica without turning crimson, and I definitely don’t want to have that conversation with my parents. So I’ve fallen into the comfortable safety net of writing young adult literature.
Beyond it being a comfortable safety net, young adult literature is what I’m most familiar with reading. I can relate to the trials and tribulations of young adults because I was one recently. I’d have a harder time realistically writing from the viewpoint of an older woman or a mother, because I’ve never had those experiences to draw from. And after all, most of my writing instructors have always said to write what you know. And young adult literature is what I know.
Maybe once I’ve written more, and had more life experiences, I’ll be able to branch out into different writing levels. And by that time, I’ll hopefully have grown comfortable enough with myself as an adult to not care that my parents are reading me writing about sex. Or maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll publish those stories under a pseudonym and never tell my parents.
I think I first have to accept that I’m actually an adult and I have no cause to be embarrassed about my writings. But for now, there is plenty of room for me to discover my writing legs in the kiddie pool where absolutely no indecency is allowed.