“I’m not reading any more young adult paranormals,” announced my mother recently.
“Why?” I was aghast, I write paranormals and YA.
She gave a sniff of disdain, “because in the last book I read, it was obvious that the writer doesn’t have children.”
Curious, I asked “really? Give me more specifics.”
She proceeded to tell me about a book she’d read, where the heroine was in her very early teens having the freedom to go out late at night (My mother didn’t allow me, did yours?). Then came the worst thing in her opinion, the characters “had no reaction when they killed others.”
I pondered on what she said, and found it made sense.
As writers, we create worlds, light and dark, which we have to make relevant to the reader. We also have to justify the actions of all of our characters in this world. For example, if the heroine from the story my mother read had a severely dysfunctional family life, than most readers would have accepted the late night wanderings. As for killing, if there had been a reason that those who killed had no reaction, whether it was compartmentalization, revenge, sociopathic tendencies, etc, than the reader could understand (maybe not accept, but they’d go with it).
Imagine if you will, writing about a police officer. Perhaps he comes upon a deadly motor vehicle accident, what do you think he would do? Is this is first one? Or twentieth? Do you think he’d joke around, act nonchalant? Would you? If he does, how would you, as a writer, justify his behavior? This applies to every character and situation. I know when I give my manuscripts to my critique partners; I request that they tell me where the story stops them or where it doesn’t make sense. My greatest fear is to lose the reader, or to turn them away because they don’t believe my reality that I have created.
What do you think? Have you found a story where you could not identify nor believe what was going on? Did it ruin the story for you?
As for me, I am going to continue to write my genres, but now, I wonder, will my mother read it?