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YA sexy bits.

Posted: April 23rd, 2010, 10:35 pm
by eringayles
Okay, all you YA gurus out there, want a prickly one?
My story is based on Irish Mythology. I have my own academic qualifications in this discipline, but I'm climbing to the top for authenticity, and using only the reference texts written by experts. I know that there are many opinions re the 'loose rules' of mythology, and the acceptance for bending them, but that's not the path I want to take.
Sooo . . . my experts (and my studies) tell me that the goddess queen of the Tuatha De Dannan (the fairies, to cut a long tale short) being the "Mother Goddess' cannot by definition, be virgin. Sooo. . . I've given the hero the task of altering the heroine's state before her coronation. ('Whoopie-doo', says he).
I haven't gone into anatomical pedantics - the foreplay is reasonably 'turned on', but the actual - you know - is more to do with his 'tenderness' and selfless control, etc., without reference to body parts.
(She is sixteen, but this is irrelevant, as time is not counted in the Otherworld.)
Now, I think I've got the deflowering sorted, but then there's the question of proof. She wears a white dress, he wears white tights - specifically for the public 'proof' revelation being a precursor to her coronation.
I'm thinking this (proof) scene might be where I prostitute my purist attitude, and 'bend' the mythology. I could do this simply by omitting the 'proof'. I don't want to do this - I'd prefer to tell it like it is - but is this appropriate for the YA market?
Help! I need rescuing form this debauched den of carnal iniquity!!!!!
(Did anyone notice all the 'p' alliteration? Freudian - because the most pertinent 'P' word was not bared to public perusal.)

Re: YA sexy bits.

Posted: April 24th, 2010, 1:17 pm
by Robin
It sounds like you could go 2 routes with this
A. Tell it in full frontal (no pun) approach and go the way of romance.
B. Keep the "proof" part and focus on the unique bond the pair have created.

Just a thought :)

Re: YA sexy bits.

Posted: April 25th, 2010, 12:48 pm
by gonzo2802
If you're asking if it's okay that the council (or whomever is in charge and wanting the proof) asks to see blood-stained sheets or something along those lines ... I don't think, given the context, that it's too far out of the realm of YA. She's already been "defiled", I don't think showing proof is stepping over the lines.

Re: YA sexy bits.

Posted: April 25th, 2010, 1:59 pm
by polymath
Young adult literature is most appealing to its audience bracket when it's edgy, so have at it. On the other hand, it's most often banned by authoritarians when it's edgy, which is the best sort of publicity.

The conundrum of historical accuracy versus artistic license is resolvable when the dramatic needs of a story trump accuracy.

In the case of Irish mythology, the Tuatha De Dannan record is sufficiently sketchy to allow for if not promote wide dramatic latitude. What a liberating experience it is to invent within scant limitations.

I'd consider incorporating follow-on cultures' practices that evolved in part from past practices. The ancient custom of king stag for a year and a day depicted in Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon, for example. The mightiest warrior chosen, feted in an elaborate coronation ceremony, hamstrung while insensate from usquebaugh so he can't run away, given his pick of the maidens to sow his seed in to improve the people's genetic heritage, and executed on his last day of reign so that he doesn't get any ambitions about ruling in reality instead of in name only. The maidens proved as fully fertile woman by witnesses' observations and consequent successful issue then are eligible for marriage. Sort of a precursor to the Anglo practice of bride right, where a king is entitled to first dibs on his subjects' wives. Edgy.

Re: YA sexy bits.

Posted: April 25th, 2010, 10:23 pm
by eringayles
Thank you, people.
I'm afraid that sometimes my Irish-Catholic roots inhibit the risk-taking facet of my writing. Sex scenes don't daunt me, but I felt a little 'ikky' about the graphic aspect of the deflowering thing.
You've really helped, and I'm going with the 'tell-it-as-it-is" option. I think, Polymath, that it was your reference to 'edgy' that convinced me, as I'm aiming for edgy.

Re: YA sexy bits.

Posted: April 26th, 2010, 12:20 am
by wildheart
Kids today that read YA crave edgy. At least, that is what my sixteen year old sister says. So, go for it! Tell it like it is, put in the steamy parts. Worst thing that can happen is that an agent or editor will ask you to remove it. But that is not likely to be the case.

Re: YA sexy bits.

Posted: April 29th, 2010, 7:15 pm
by beacon22
Write it the way you want to write it...don't worry about your audience.

Young adults want the truth, so don't try to hide things.

I worried about what I was writing for the longest time, and it wasn't until I realized that it's important to be truthful in writing (both to your audience and yourself), that your work can be at its best.

The YA novel my agent is subbing right now has sex in it, and while it's not explicit, it's there and I think it makes the book stronger because I didn't try to edit myself.

Good luck with it!