Welcome to the AbsoluteWrite Water Cooler! Please read The Newbie Guide To Absolute Write

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 28

Thread: Crushes needed for YA novels?

  1. #1
    Aerospace engineer turned writer
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    1,071

    Crushes needed for YA novels?

    I'm a quarter of the way through my YA novel in my Shapechanger Tales series, The Once-Dead Girl. This is still a first draft, but I write fairly complete scenes in the first pass. Then I go back and add, subtract, and change where necessary, then give the Ms a final polish.

    My lady friend astonished me by offering to read it - or at least skim it! Had lots of good things to say about it, plus some minor corrections and suggestions. But she had one major criticism. It went something like this.

    "When I was a girl I was always crushing on this boy or that. That's missing here and it made it hard for me to identify with her." (My main character is a 16-17 year old girl.)

    I recall something similar from the male side of things from my teen years.

  2. #2
    Just a guy with a pen & a delusion Mr. Anonymous's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    2,651
    Well, experience with and attraction to members of the same/opposite sex is something that a lot kids have by that age. And for many of them, it occupies a big part of their lives. So while romantic interest/involvement doesn't have to be central to your story, if there's absolutely none of it, I could see some readers finding that strange.

  3. #3
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    927
    I think it depends on the character. If the girl is not interested in boys then she won't be crushing on them. If she has more important things on her mind then fair enough.

    She could have a bit of sexual tension with a boy if she's so inclined, rather than 'crushes'. It's hard to identify your feelings at that age.

    Or she might tell her mates she has crushes but just be saying it to fit in.

    Or maybe she's asexual and not into all that stuff.

    Or maybe she likes girls.

    The possibilities are endless...

  4. #4
    Moving with my soul, step by step Lhipenwhe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Saint Paul
    Posts
    601
    I think it's entirely possible for someone not to 'crush' on someone else during high school. Personally, I went through long stretches of time without 'liking' anyone, or having the desire to ask them out. There were girls I found attractive, but I generally didn't have a relationship on my mind for over half the time.

    Granted, I'm a guy and was somewhat asocial, so your mileage may vary.
    Whether regret, or love, or revenge or fear - whatever you believe can change the nature of a man, can.

    -
    The Nameless One, Planescape: Torment





  5. #5
    I got it covered Undercover's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Not here, but there
    Posts
    8,493
    It's certainly not mandatory and there are definitely books out there that don't have crushes in them. I agree that it depends on the story. I do think it helps a lot, but you don't need it. It might prove to be a harder sell in the long run though.

  6. #6
    You can't sit with us! missesdash's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Paris, France
    Posts
    6,863
    Also, there's a difference between having a crush and turning one into a plot line. Your friend may have just questioned your character's apparent lack of sexuality. Even someone with tons of other things in their mind (unless they're asexual, and sometimes even then) notices an attractive person.

  7. #7
    ~Charity~ writingismypassion's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Podunk, Illinois
    Posts
    935
    I wouldn't recommend adding any type of love/crush/sex scenarios just for the sake of adding them. There are plenty of stories that leave that stuff out when it's not a part of the story.
    Shards of Glass ~ Revising based on beta feedback.
    Rekindle ~ Working Title ~ 8,695 words. ON HOLD.

    THIS IS LIFE (My Blog)
    Sharing God's Truth (A Devotional Blog)

    And I Tweet.

  8. #8
    She Who Constantly Changes Avatars CJ Knightrey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    492
    As an asexual myself I might be biased, but I really don't think it's important. If you didn't write it in, and instead chose to focus more on other things, then romance may not be right for your story. It might muddy to waters to add something in just for the sake of having it, but if you think it could add to your story then it may be worth a look.

    WIP:
    The Hosts of Tara

  9. #9
    Bacteria are your friends Zombie Kat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    London, UK
    Posts
    363
    Quote Originally Posted by CJ Knightrey View Post
    As an asexual myself I might be biased, but I really don't think it's important. If you didn't write it in, and instead chose to focus more on other things, then romance may not be right for your story. It might muddy to waters to add something in just for the sake of having it, but if you think it could add to your story then it may be worth a look.
    Would an asexual teen not fret about their lack of interest in matters of the bodily fluid-persuasion? Because they're not focussed on the same things as everyone else? Genuinely curious (if that's not too personal a question).

    I'm all for books that don't focus on love and all that nonsense, don't get me wrong. I suppose I'm just curious in the same way that the 17-year-old version of me actually asked a gay friend what, exactly, she could possibly do (in the sticky sense) with another girl *cringes in shame*

    So my opinion is that I think it's fine to not include anything romancey as long as this huge aspect of many teenagers' lives isn't treated like it doesn't exist.

  10. #10
    Foreshadowing Queen erin_michelle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    190
    Quote Originally Posted by Zombie Kat View Post
    Would an asexual teen not fret about their lack of interest in matters of the bodily fluid-persuasion? Because they're not focussed on the same things as everyone else? Genuinely curious (if that's not too personal a question).
    Speaking as someone who identifies as an asexual, I always thought there was something wrong with me when I compared myself to my friends when they had crushes. So much so, I'd make up crush just to fit in. I might not have worried about not having a physical attraction to someone; but wanting to fit in is a universal feeling. The media teaches us that it's "normal" teen behavior to have crushes, date, explore our sexuality, do drugs, drink alcohol, etc.

    For the record, I did none of those things in high school. And I know I"m not the only one. We might be in the minority, but we do exist and it would be nice to see some of that behavior represented.
    Blog

    "Stories are wild creatures, the monster said. When you let them loose, who knows what havoc they might wreak?" - Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

  11. #11
    You can't sit with us! missesdash's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Paris, France
    Posts
    6,863
    Quote Originally Posted by erin_michelle View Post
    Speaking as someone who identifies as an asexual, I always thought there was something wrong with me when I compared myself to my friends when they had crushes. So much so, I'd make up crush just to fit in. I might not have worried about not having a physical attraction to someone; but wanting to fit in is a universal feeling. The media teaches us that it's "normal" teen behavior to have crushes, date, explore our sexuality, do drugs, drink alcohol, etc.

    For the record, I did none of those things in high school. And I know I"m not the only one. We might be in the minority, but we do exist and it would be nice to see some of that behavior represented.
    Asexuality is something I think I'd have a really hard time writing. I tend to end up with accidental sexual tension between characters because I write all types of relationships really intensely.

    This is especially problematic when I write opposite sex siblings

  12. #12
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    right here
    Posts
    27,005
    Some kids had crushes. Others, myself included, did not. For some teens this part of life genuinely does not exist. The character should be whatever she emerged to be.

  13. #13
    Eight Legs, All Holding Pens ArachnePhobia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Surrounded by bats and owls... really!
    Posts
    993
    Quote Originally Posted by erin_michelle View Post
    Speaking as someone who identifies as an asexual, I always thought there was something wrong with me when I compared myself to my friends when they had crushes. So much so, I'd make up crush just to fit in. I might not have worried about not having a physical attraction to someone; but wanting to fit in is a universal feeling. The media teaches us that it's "normal" teen behavior to have crushes, date, explore our sexuality, do drugs, drink alcohol, etc.
    I can second this. I also faked crushes. I even went on a few dates with guys who asked (although the lack of second date requests makes me think they could tell something was different about me). In my case, I wasn't so much trying to fit in as aiming for invisible. Pretending you feel like everyone else is a good way to turn yourself into scenery and avoid difficult questions and situations.

    EDIT: I'm not saying turning yourself into scenery is the right thing to do or that I'm proud of it, just that I did, and that was why.
    ~The Worms Crawl In The Worms Crawl Out~

  14. #14
    Foreshadowing Queen erin_michelle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    190
    Quote Originally Posted by missesdash View Post
    Asexuality is something I think I'd have a really hard time writing. I tend to end up with accidental sexual tension between characters because I write all types of relationships really intensely.
    Heh. Sounds like we balance each other out. Naturally, I think all my characters come off as asexuals since sex is the farthest thing from my mind, so inevitably that comes off in my writing. Only my male MC is a confirmed asexual. (I also don't like to make my character's sexuality their #1 defining characteristic.)

    ETA:
    Quote Originally Posted by ArachnePhobia View Post
    I can second this. I also faked crushes. I even went on a few dates with guys who asked (although the lack of second date requests makes me think they could tell something was different about me). In my case, I wasn't so much trying to fit in as aiming for invisible. Pretending you feel like everyone else is a good way to turn yourself into scenery and avoid difficult questions and situations.

    EDIT: I'm not saying turning yourself into scenery is the right thing to do or that I'm proud of it, just that I did, and that was why.
    This is what I meant by "fitting in". Considering I didn't know "asexuality" existed until I was out of high school, it was much, much easier for me to pretend I was "normal" because I didn't want to invite questions I didn't know the answer to. I was (am) very much like ArachnePhobia in that I just wanted to get through high school by being under the radar.
    Last edited by erin_michelle; 11-17-2012 at 01:51 AM. Reason: added another quote/comment
    Blog

    "Stories are wild creatures, the monster said. When you let them loose, who knows what havoc they might wreak?" - Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

  15. #15
    For I am a Rain Dog too LJ Hall's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    On the road (Cornwall currently)
    Posts
    229
    It also depends on the type of novel that you're writing. For me, I always fall out of the story when there's intense, possibly world-ending things happening and the MC pushes all that aside for a few pages because CUTE BOY.

    If she's just a standard girl living a standard life then I suppose it might feel odd never to have a mention of a guy or an actor whose posters are on her walls, or even the occasional thought that her friends all find some guy cute and she just doesn't see it.

    But if she's like turning into a zombie or has to face a horde of demons then I tend to resent when the author inserts moments that make it seem like acknowledging some hot guy is just as important. Even noticing that a guy's hot when bullets or spells are flying around them seems bizarre to me. Like because it's a girl character her priorities rank giggling about boys right on up there with fighting the evil creatures.

  16. #16
    She Who Constantly Changes Avatars CJ Knightrey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    492
    Quote Originally Posted by Zombie Kat View Post
    Would an asexual teen not fret about their lack of interest in matters of the bodily fluid-persuasion? Because they're not focussed on the same things as everyone else? Genuinely curious (if that's not too personal a question).
    Well, I can't speak for every asexual, but for me personally I wasn't bothered by it at all. I was however, really confused when people were really obsessed with relationships and stuff. And the look on my face must have been priceless when my friends told me that they were having sex, either in relationships or not. It seriously never crossed my mind to do that. I've always been more focused on school stuff and writing stuff, and I had some friends who also focused on that stuff so I just figured for a long time that everyone was like me.

    The issues came up when other people noticed my reactions (or lack-there-of) and then started to pick on me for it. I didn't think anything was wrong, but apparently everyone else did. That's what caused me stress, and that's what made me feel uncomfortable about my asexuality for a while. Left to my own thoughts though I never would have thought that anything was 'wrong'.

    But from some aces that I've talked to, they really have felt like they were alien or not normal and it caused them a lot of stress. And it doesn't help that a lot of people (including a surprising amount of doctors and psychiatrists) discount it all together and just label the person as a liar, freak, or robot. I think that's where the stress comes from.

    WIP:
    The Hosts of Tara

  17. #17
    Recovering Canucks Fan Becca C.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Google says 1 hour, 8 minutes north of Vancouver, BC
    Posts
    4,100
    Bringing this back to the OP: there's a difference between writing an actual asexual character and accidentally edging around -- or forgetting to write in -- the character's sexuality. I recommend rethinking your character and your story and deciding from there whether or not you need something.
    MAYBE IN PARIS - YA contemporary - coming spring 2017 from Sky Pony Press!

    Represented by Rebecca Podos of Rees Literary!



    Facebook - I don't really know what I'm doing there yet
    Twitter - Sometimes I'm funny there
    I also have a website haha it's terrifying

  18. #18
    Aerospace engineer turned writer
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    1,071
    Thanks, everyone. This has been enormously helpful.

  19. #19
    Remember that every critique should be taken with a grain of salt.

    If I get a comment from someone who says "I was like this at that age, and this character doesn't act like that, so she doesn't seem real to me," I'm going to treat it as one person universalizing her own experiences.

    If more than one person says the same thing, then give it serious thought.

    If the person can be more specific than "She doesn't act like I did," maybe she has a point. Like, if your character is supposed to be a typical sixteen-year-old heterosexual girl but never even thinks about boys? Yeah, that would stand out to me. Romance and crushes might not be a significant element in your story, but most kids at least have thoughts about it.

  20. #20
    just a writer, unbranded AllieKat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    499
    I didn't have a lot of crushes at that age, except for crushes on actors. All too old for me, of course.

  21. #21
    He had lucid moments. dbock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    34
    What does the main character think and feel? Is it right for them to have a crush? Are they the type of person to have one? Sure it's important to relate to the reader but I think if you have a good story and a fleshed out MC it doesn't really matter.

    That said. ALWAYS had crushes. Always had a girlfriend. The idea of being single was a rare thought. So yeah, I'd have to agree with your lady friend on that part, lol.

  22. #22
    starry sunrise Windcutter's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    2,053
    I think it's not even about teens, it's that universal desire to see a bit of romance in fiction that's typical for a lot of readers across genres.

    Though also seconding what Amadan said about universalizing one's experiences. It's not just a choice between always crushing on some boy and being asexual. Some teens have only one or two crushes. Some want to fall in love, but don't see anyone crush-worthy around, so they are in love with the idea of being in love. Some feel sexually attracted to other teens, but never really crush on anyone because they are too cool-headed.

  23. #23
    we are the words 'i love you' kuwisdelu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    at the end of your dream
    Posts
    33,725
    Quote Originally Posted by missesdash View Post
    This is especially problematic when I write opposite sex siblings
    Remember, one person's "problematic" is another person's "fetish."

    Just sayin'...
    (a blog.) ...last updated 15 June 2015

  24. #24
    Attack me with everything you have. Kim Fierce's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    1,366
    The only weird thing I experienced after adding some crush action to my book is that now instead of being labeled as the contemporary adventure that I see it as, my publisher really promotes the "romance" part and I don't consider myself a 'romance' writer!

    But so far all my stories have some kind of "romance" I guess. But I think it needs a new label because I think I just have a stigma against that word. "Romance" makes me think of books with no real plot . . . but I know that the kinds of stuff you are talking about is different!
    Watch No Turning Back book trailer

    My Web Site
    Novels/Short stories:
    No Turning Back
    Amelia's Revolution
    Two-Spirit's Red Road
    My Secret Pain
    The Divide, Book 1: Uprising

    Nadine's Voyage--2-14!!
    The Divide, Book 2: Unity--3-14!!
    Strong Arrow's Warpath--4-14!!
    Revolt of the Perfectly Free, paperback short story collection--6-14!!

  25. #25
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    right here
    Posts
    27,005
    It already has a name: "WRE" or "with romantic elements".

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Custom Search