I'm a little foggy today, so going to get straight to our statement today and your reactions:
The statement – writers of MG/Tween/YA can get away with more because of their audience’s age – true or false? Why? Your reaction to this.
I consider this to be completely false. It is a mistake to assume that just because MG/Tween/YA readers are young, they are less discerning than adult readers. Since fiction for this age group often involves a teenage hero or heroine, it is imperative that writers of stories for this age group ensure that their characters and settings are realistic because their readers will be experts about their world and their peers.
In some cases this is true. For YA especially, they can handle intense emotions and some sexual situations. That doesn’t mean full out porn, but if it’s right for the story then a YA book could go further than kissing. I don’t write books like that, but if I were writing about older teens I might infer that there would be some kind of sex. However, for younger readers I feel only kissing would be fine. Also, discussion of psychological problems, such as eating disorders, would work with this audience. Though I haven’t written any of these, discussion of gender identity and same sex romance would also be subjects that would be fine for this age group. The whole thing is not to get too graphic in any way in a book for this age group.
Oh, I think this is definitely false. Young readers aren’t naïve. In many ways, I think you get away with less writing for this audience. Thinking back to my own teen years, that is when I poured over books, underlined favourite sections, doted on things characters said. As an adult, I don’t do this. I read a book, enjoy it, and when it’s done, I pick up another. Young readers notice everything. They’ll google facts if they think you are mistaken. They blog about books, vlog about stereotypes and clichés, cause an online uproar if you kill a beloved character. Don’t be fooled. They’re a tough audience and I love them for it.
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