Thursday, 26 November 2015

Writing - The genre question

I dealt with this in part, in relation to my Steele novels, in Monday's blog and yet here it is again in the news.

Image result for YA genre
YA Genre

The genre that has made the news this morning is YA. As an aside it is interesting to see Harry Potter in the above as even in the older books they haven't reached the age of 18!

Anyway Young Adult - nope I can't resist it! The term 'young' attached to 'adult' seems to have caused a conflict in meaning. Legally a person is an adult at 18, the 'young' part would suggest 18 to 25 for example, however, if you take the Potter books it would seem to refer to teenagers.

Ok back to the news. 

Comments attributed to author Scott Bergstrom suggest that the moral content of YA books is too simplistic. He self-published the book 'The Cruelty' because he believed that publishers wouldn't like it. Bergstrom said,

"The morality of the book's more complicated than lots of YA so I wanted to try doing it on my own," he said.
"In a lot of YA, the conflict takes place inside a walled garden, set up by outside adult forces.
"If you think of those stories as a metaphor for high school, they start to make a lot more sense, but that was one thing I wanted to depart from," he told Publishers Weekly.

So doesn't the above suggest teen fiction? On another tack when Bergstrom says 'conflict takes place inside a walled garden, set up by outside adult forces' doesn't that suggest a non-adult writing non-adult fiction?

I really dislike 'the powers that be' categorising writing. It is for no-one's convenience but their own and is fundamentally embedded in the need to market.


Image result for writing is art

It would be wonderful if publishers could put marketing second and the art first. Who really cares if YA is really teen fiction or otherwise if the work is of quality? 

In past Steele novels, the hero has been involved in sex scenes, violent acts and criminal activity but I wouldn't fit the books into any one of the categories, sex, romance, violence, crime, the aspects displayed are a part of the whole story. If anything the stories explore criminal tendencies in modern day society and as such could well be in a genre of their own. I have covered human trafficking and kidnap as well as the misbehaviour of the ruling classes which is a particular feature of the latest Steele novel 'Flight into Secrecy'.


In this novel Steele calls into question the stories put out about the demise of Malaysian Flight 370. It fits with philosophy drummed into me by my Dad - never believe a word you read in the newspapers or hear from the news. That may sound a little paranoid but in all fairness, since the advent of the 't'interweb', it is easy to see why such a position pertains. 

If you have a spare hour just compare the way different news stories are presented by the BBC, ITV, CNN, Fox or France 24. Some stories actually never make the news.

In the UK we have the freedom of information act which allows us to request information on any subject. The government are trying to water the act down to make it less affective.

There are a number of examples - anti-austerity marches by thousands in London, police in Birmingham resigning in droves over paedophile accusations, and, Jennifer Lawrence complaining that she isn't paid as much as her male counterparts in the Hunger Games.
You may have heard something, a brief snippet, but never the full facts. Donald Sutherland also in the film with Lawrence summed the actress/actor pay discrepancy by saying that the business is run by men and they are not going to weaken their own situations.

So take my advice, avoid categorisations and don't be gulled into believing everything the ruling classes tell you. Bruce Springsteen summed it up with,

'Blind faith in your leaders ... will get you killed.'

God Bless