Friday, March 6, 2015

Question: What do age categories do for literature?

Hi everyone. I am going to start proposing some questions to some things am I thinking about. I would love your comments. You will help me to "talk it out" in my own head.

So I am wondering about some of the limitations set by terms like "middle grade", "YA" or "Adult" in fiction. I like to write characters who are 18, 19, 20 years old. They are no longer "coming of age". That has pretty much happened. But they ARE coming into BEING. Who they are going to be as adults is forming.

As I think back onto my own life development, so, so, so much more happened from the 18-21 years than in the 14-17 (not that a LOT wasn't going on then, too) in terms of WHO I was really on my way to becoming. This stage really interests me as a writer. It interests me as a person. When I was in the classroom, I loved my seniors the best. I loved watching those who were graduating stepping out into a "real world", seeing them just transitioning to their soon-to-be adult selves.

I find college students delightful. Both their messiness and their maturity. I am just lucky enough to get to interact pretty regularly with a handful. Seeing the world through their nascent experiences is pretty awesome.

So, I want to write about them.

But WHERE do we put them? What type of category do we give to a "coming of being" story? It's not really adult. It's a little past typical young adult.

I do not want to criticize genre or sub-genre here. It has served the world of published fiction well. It serves me well when I wander the aisles in my favorite bookstore or mine the shelves of the library. I have some expectations for what I might find because of categorization. We need them. But I do want to suggest that there are limitations.

What do we do about this? Post your comments. I want to hear from you.

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