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YA's Appeal

Crumbly Writer

Getting back to the topic of writing, we'd discussed earlier why "YA" continues to be such a driving force, despite "YA" novels not having any specific criteria other than the age of their characters.

I've found that each of my most successful stories feature teen or young characters fighting an establishment which doesn't understand them. Each of my stories featuring older, experienced and world weary characters, facing the same conflicts, don't do nearly as well. There's something about this particular premise that resounds with readers of all ages. Even old fogies don't want to read about old fogies!

The exceptions to the above rule, are stories with older (but not yet middle-aged) characters surrounded by younger kids, who convey their sense of innocent wide-eyed enthusiasm on the other characters. However, they all seem to rely on an older, authoritarian figure trying to personally punish them for trying to do what is right.

In my latest story, I featured an older plumber (of all things), and I can see the results immediately, as he's simply not seen as a sympathetic characters, not because of his personality or characterization, but simply because he's not a teen.

Part of my Zombie Leza issue may be due to the age of the participants, rather than the subject matter.

Any thoughts or other observations on the topic?

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Any thoughts or other observations on the topic?


There is one other clear and specific criteria other than the age of the characters. It can't rate higher than PG-13.

If they can't sell or market it to tweens it won't be marketed as "YA".

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

other than the age of their characters.


I thought YA was the target audience. So there's YA Fantasy, YA Romance, etc. And since readers supposably read up, if the characters are 16 the target audience starts at 12 or 13.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

And since readers supposably read up, if the characters are 16 the target audience starts at 12 or 13.


More likely everyone reads to the middle. The young read up, the old read down.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

There is one other clear and specific criteria other than the age of the characters. It can't rate higher than PG-13.

If they can't sell or market it to tweens it won't be marketed as "YA".

I wasn't focusing on the "YA" label, but rather the general appeal for 'young adult' stories across ALL readers. I've never read a YA novel, but I'm still drawn to stories about young adults.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

More likely everyone reads to the middle. The young read up, the old read down.

My point is that everyone seems to fixate on the teen years, regardless of where they find themselves. Thus there seems to be something about those characters which appeal to every reader. The key, for authors, is to identify what that specific appeal is, so they can capitalize on it (other than writing yet-another "YA" story).

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


I've never read a YA novel, but I'm still drawn to stories about young adults.


And I still wouldn't consider erotica to be "YA" regardless of the age of the characters.

Replies:   pappyo
awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

I've never read a YA novel


I've read some, including Harry Potter, but probably my favourite was Kathy Reichs's Virals series until Brendan Reichs took over most of the writing.

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Thus there seems to be something about those characters which appeal to every reader.


The young are in a hurry to grow up and be considered adults while the old want to relive their youth or a fantasy version of it.

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

I've read some, including Harry Potter, but probably my favourite was Kathy Reichs's Virals series until Brendan Reichs took over most of the writing.

I've never considered "Harry Potter" to be "YA", and neither did it's author. It's a book which appeals to all ages, despite being targeted to young, pre-teens. (Though the writing is geared towards advanced readers, which is WHY it was so successful, because it introduced advanced reading to an entire generation who'd never invested much into reading more difficult books before that (being too young to master them).

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

I've never read a YA novel


Never read "Catcher in the Rye"?

Is "To Kill a Mockingbird" YA? The characters are, and it's even a coming of age story, but it has an adult theme — racism.

Replies:   Bondi Beach
awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

When the publishers realised that Harry Potter appealed to adults as well as youngsters, they brought out a new set of cover designs they thought would be more attractive to adults. So if you look in your library, you may well find copies of the books with different cover designs depending on whether you're looking in the Young Adult or Grown-Up sections.

AJ

REP

@Crumbly Writer

I've never read a YA novel, but I'm still drawn to stories about young adults.


Have you read Heinlein's stories. Many of them (e.g. Podkayne of Mars, Friday, Have Spacesuit - Will Travel, Tunnel in the Sky, etc.) seem to target what we call the YA market.

Not_a_ID
Updated:

For a different motive within the context of "the story."

Crumbly has somewhat touched on this already with comments about older characters generally being "less sympathetic"/relateable to the reader.

Stable characters, in a stable situation are boring. Older adults tend to be in fairly stable situations. If they're not it's because "something went wrong," and picking what that "something" is which makes that particular adult's situation "unstable" will be what makes or breaks the story for them as characters.

Meanwhile, teenagers, and young(er)-adults are at a very unstable stage in their life, so you don't have to reach very far in order to create a scenario that the reader will find "sympathetic" and remain safely clear of most hazards that could make or break the story on the onset.

Numerous well publised author's have done write-ups discussing this in the past, and why their preference tends to skew either towards the younger end of the spectrum, or "the lone single adult with a tragic past//on the receiving end of a tragic or (un)fortunate event" and it comes back to: Those characters have "natural openings" for creating stories that should be interesting to most readers.

That isn't to say that it can't be done with other characters, just that trying to do it with characters in different circumstances introduces a lot of complexity at the onset, and it's very easy to screw it up.

Switch Blayde
Updated:


targeting titles for the YA market, it's the single biggest market out there.


Adult romance is the biggest market.

The YA market is mostly the Harry Potter and Hunger Games type books.

The problem with the YA market is they don't have money so their parents and grandparents have to buy the books. And they want to read print books, not ebooks which floored me. These are people who spend all their time on their smart phones and computers yet they want to hold and read a paper book.

Bondi Beach
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


Never read "Catcher in the Rye"?

Is "To Kill a Mockingbird" YA? The characters are, and it's even a coming of age story, but it has an adult theme — racism.


Lots of this naming is marketing. The "thriller" writers at the seminar I attended recently declined to get into a discussion of the difference between a "thriller" and a "mystery."

All claimed (key word "claimed") they wrote the story they wanted to write and let the marketers decide how to market it.

That said, as far as the general thread topic goes, if one wishes to target a certain audience, read up on what is sold successfully to them, and tailor the story accordingly.

If you're good enough it's erotica (for example) if you write like Anaïs Nin, and if you're not, it's porn.

ETA: Sorry, forgot to respond to the question. No, "Mockingbird" is not YA, despite the beloved Scout. I'd argue "Alice in Wonderland" is what we now call "YA" but it is also adult. It is read on two levels in a way that Harry Potter generally is not.

bb

awnlee jawking

@Bondi Beach

I'd argue "Alice in Wonderland" is what we now call "YA" but it is also adult. It is read on two levels in a way that Harry Potter generally is not.


I partially disagree. While 'Alice in Wonderland' can be read on two levels, one of which is adult, the other is children's rather than YA.

AJ

Switch Blayde

@Bondi Beach

they wrote the story they wanted to write and let the marketers decide how to market it.


Except if you self-pub you are the marketer. Amazon gives you two categories/genres to put your book in. I wanted YA Romance. There was no such thing. I ended up with Romance Contemporary (which a teenage girl, my target audience, would probably not check). For the second category I had to choose "juvenile" to get to "bullying". Although looking at the categories under my book, Amazon converted it to "teen."

Crumbly Writer

@REP

Have you read Heinlein's stories. Many of them (e.g. Podkayne of Mars, Friday, Have Spacesuit - Will Travel, Tunnel in the Sky, etc.) seem to target what we call the YA market

Look, I never should have raised the spectre of "YA", as it's a bed of worms. Those books you're quoting are not considered "YA", as that's an entirely new genre of novels which isn't related to the age of characters. However, I was targeting the appeal of young adult characters in stories, observing how it seems to span all age groups.

So please, let's stop arguing over what is and what isn't a "YA" novel.

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

So please, let's stop arguing over what is and what isn't a "YA" novel.


As I said before, the young reading up are in a hurry to become adults. The old reading down are looking to relive their youth (and not necessarily the way they lived it the first time).

Crumbly Writer

The other aspect, going back to those public libraries is keeping it "YA appropriate" also meant it was far more likely your book would be allowed in the public library.

All right, I'll concede. This thread has drifted before I ever got a single answer, and I'm never going to switch it back, so I'm going to bail, as I really couldn't care less what's considered a "YA" novel and what's simply a novel that appeals to youngsters.

I'd hoped to start a discussion about fiction, but it's unlikely to ever move beyond classifications of books.

Crumbly has somewhat touched on this already with comments about older characters generally being "less sympathetic"/relateable to the reader.

Stable characters, in a stable situation are boring. Older adults tend to be in fairly stable situations. If they're not it's because "something went wrong," and picking what that "something" is which makes that particular adult's situation "unstable" will be what makes or breaks the story for them as characters.

Thanks for finally addressing my question.

I'm not sure how 'easy it is' to screw up, but I think I've learned my lesson, it simply doesn't pay to feature older characters as a stories protagonists. Even if it plays well, you still won't get as positive of a reception. It seems that everyone wants to read about teen angst, even those who'd never want to repeat their teen years.

I guess that much of that is the remembered sense of excitement, and the forgotten sense of terror/rejection/failure.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
pappyo

@Dominions Son

I think it's the "adults in training" aspect. Physically mature but in many ways still considered children, it's a few years of life where we are learning how to deal with things that may affect us the rest of our lives.

And there's no reason sex can't be a part of that.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@pappyo

I think it's the "adults in training" aspect. Physically mature but in many ways still considered children, it's a few years of life where we are learning how to deal with things that may affect us the rest of our lives.

And there's no reason sex can't be a part of that.


Yes, there is, unfortunately, it's against the law to market erotica to minors.

Replies:   pappyo
pappyo

@Dominions Son

Well yeah, those pesky legal things. But are we to believe that teens don't experiment with sex? We have to pretend it doesn't exist.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Not_a_ID

@Crumbly Writer

I guess that much of that is the remembered sense of excitement, and the forgotten sense of terror/rejection/failure.


That is probably a big part of, the younger character brings a kind of "innocence" to things that an older, more jaded character can't. Likewise for the "inexperience" side of the coin. A 20-something fresh out of school/training and just freed from the protective nest of their parents can be excused a number of things that a 40-something character could get skewered by readers for not knowing/being aware of certain things.

It isn't the teen angst, that can be skipped, 20-something is popular too. ;)

It's the whole, "the world is your oyster" and you have few to no commitments keeping you somewhere. You also (as a 20-something) have little to no "baggage" haunting you, and health constraints are a non-factor. It's the most fertile soil available for an author to work in with minimal effort.

Older characters have baggage, they have expertise and experience in at least something. Which you then need to keep track of and portray believably. They're more complicated characters. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, as that usually means potential for being interesting. But that means increased risks of things going wrong as well, which means KISS comes into play and the bias goes back to favoring youth over age for main/major narrative characters.

REP

@Crumbly Writer

let's stop arguing over what is and what isn't a "YA" novel.


To me and apparently many others in this thread, Young Adult refers to the target audience not the characters. Thus novels written to appeal to young people are often referred to a YA novels. The books I listed target young adult readers.

Young adult fiction or young adult literature (YA)[1] is fiction published for readers in their youth. The age range for young adult fiction is subjective. Some sources claim it ranges from ages 12–18,[2] while authors and readers of "young teen novels" often define it as written for those aged 15 to the early 20s.[3] The terms young adult novel, juvenile novel, teenage fiction, young adult book, etc., refer to the works in this category.[4]


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Young_adult_fiction

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
richardshagrin

I am a young adult, I won't be middle aged until I am 75 since I plan to live until I am 150.

Dominions Son

@pappyo

Well yeah, those pesky legal things. But are we to believe that teens don't experiment with sex? We have to pretend it doesn't exist.


Yeah, that's exactly what the people who wrote those laws and the people who enforce them expect.

StarFleet Carl

@REP

Many of them (e.g. Podkayne of Mars, Friday, Have Spacesuit - Will Travel, Tunnel in the Sky, etc.) seem to target what we call the YA market.


Friday wasn't targeted for YA, but the others were, part of his Scribner's teen books.

Replies:   REP
StarFleet Carl

@Crumbly Writer

Those books you're quoting are not considered "YA", as that's an entirely new genre of novels which isn't related to the age of characters.


Except that other than Friday, those books WERE written specifically for the teen audience. Heinlein himself said that many times in 'Grumbles from the Grave', in his letters to and from Lurton Blassingame (his agent). They were the 'annual' teen novel. And I certainly read those books when I was a young adult ... many, many times. (Still got a box with my copies out in the storage unit.)

Crumbly Writer

@REP

To me and apparently many others in this thread, Young Adult refers to the target audience not the characters. Thus novels written to appeal to young people are often referred to a YA novels. The books I listed target young adult readers.

While I agree with J.K. I don't aim to write exclusively for preteens. Instead, I write novels for readers of all ages. Labeling it as "YA" is saying "Screw anyone else who may enjoy the story, preteens are the only ones who matter!" I write novels, not ones restricted to kids!

Replies:   REP
REP

@StarFleet Carl

Friday wasn't targeted for YA


You are probably right on that one; from my recollection it seemed YA. I wanted to list several stories, but have a terrible memory for titles and names. One of the ones I wanted was about the family traveling in a spaceship and the tribles.

REP

@Crumbly Writer

I write novels, not ones restricted to kids!


What you write is your business CW - and more power to you. My only grip with your post was you defining YA to be a reference to the characters instead of the readers.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
BlacKnight

@REP

You are probably right on that one; from my recollection it seemed YA. I wanted to list several stories, but have a terrible memory for titles and names. One of the ones I wanted was about the family traveling in a spaceship and the tribles.

The Rolling Stones?

Friday is definitely not YA. (I typoed that as "TA", which probably better describes it. At least the cover on the printing I have.) Heinlein did write a dozen YA novels for Scrivener's, though (including The Rolling Stones), and a handful of others for other publishers, including a couple for the "Boy's Life" scouting magazine.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
StarFleet Carl
Updated:

@REP


family traveling in a spaceship and the tribles.


Martian Flat Cats. As BlackKnight said, The Rolling Stones. (And later on, the whole Stone clan ends up in with the rest of the Long family, due to the universe as myth proposition, and those stories were definitely NOT YA. With just a little tweaking, they could post here on SOL as really decent erotica, actually.)

If you've read David Gerrold's book, he apparently got the idea for tribbles from Heinlein, without consciously trying to steal it. (That was his story, and he's sticking to it.) He had to send an autographed copy of the script to Heinlein.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

What you write is your business CW - and more power to you. My only grip with your post was you defining YA to be a reference to the characters instead of the readers.

Sorry, once again I wasn't clear, as that wasn't my intent. I was emphasizing, regardless of the classification of the YA market definition, that stories not only directed, but featuring young adults, continue to perform better than those featuring any other characters.

It makes sense that publishers would market specifically to them, but that doesn't seem to be the ONLY market for those types of books, so it seems self-limiting. Those books are popular because they appeal to EVERYONE, not just young adults (preteens, essentially). Every age group seems to read those stories, so why limit the marketing to only the one demographic? After all, they aren't the ones spending money, it's their parents and the other adults purchasing the stories. Those same kids are more likely to download the stories illegally via torrent sites anyway, while the older folks are more likely to continue actually purchasing the books.

Replies:   Bondi Beach  REP
Crumbly Writer

@BlacKnight

Friday is definitely not YA. (I typoed that as "TA", which probably better describes it. At least the cover on the printing I have.) Heinlein did write a dozen YA novels for Scrivener's, though (including The Rolling Stones), and a handful of others for other publishers, including a couple for the "Boy's Life" scouting magazine.

The handful of 'sci-fi' magazines of the time were also predominately focused on children (pre-teen to early high school), since few adults at the time were terribly interested in such 'far out' stories. Thus those magazines purchased short stories (often pieces of stories which went on to become full novels) which didn't feature anything that those younger kids couldn't read.

Bondi Beach

@Crumbly Writer

Sorry, once again I wasn't clear, as that wasn't my intent. I was emphasizing, regardless of the classification of the YA market definition, that stories not only directed, but featuring young adults, continue to perform better than those featuring any other characters.


I don't remember if you refer to SOL stories or published works generally. If the latter, do you have any reputable numbers to support your assertion that "YA" novels, whether targeted at or featuring young adults, or both, outsell other fiction?

I'm thinking, to name only a few, James Patterson, Lee Child, David Baldacci, Stephen King (writes about YAs but novels are not "YA"), etc., etc. There's only one Harry Potter empire, granted it's a large one, but it's only one.

bb

awnlee jawking

@Bondi Beach

James Patterson


Although the majority of his work is for adults, I believe James Patterson has written a series specifically for the YA market.

AJ

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@awnlee jawking

I believe James Patterson has written a series specifically for the YA market.


Most of James Patteron's novels today are written by a group of paid writers. I heard he writes an outline and they write the novel.

Replies:   REP  Crumbly Writer
REP

@Crumbly Writer

Those books are popular because they appeal to EVERYONE


It is not that the books don't appeal to everyone, but books with adult plots, not erotic, don't have as high of an appeal with the younger market.

I think this is because, young people do not have the experience that older people have acquired. Therefore they can fantasize themselves as the MC in a YA story much easier than they could in an adult story.

REP
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


I heard he writes an outline and they write the novel.


I used to read an adult Western Series where that was done; but I didn't know it at the time. The "Author" kept changing the level of sex content from story to story. It was very confusing to go from a story with a good plot and some sex to a story that was basically a stroke story.

How does Patterson method seem to work?

ETA: Just the multiple writer concept, no outline. They were a group using a group penname.

Crumbly Writer

@Bondi Beach

I don't remember if you refer to SOL stories or published works generally. If the latter, do you have any reputable numbers to support your assertion that "YA" novels, whether targeted at or featuring young adults, or both, outsell other fiction?

I'm not going to get into another tit-for-tat 'prove it to me' exchange, as those discussions are never productive. I'm also not about to waste the time searching for hard evidence for you to simply refuse to accept it once I do.

All I observed, is that I noticed that each of my most successful stories feature young characters, even though most of my readers are much, much older. Thus I reflected that young adult characters, rather than the "YA" marketing, is what seems to sell books. As far as "YA" books, I share JK Rawlings dislike of the trend, since she writes for everyone, not for "young adults".

If you want to debate what marketing trends are true and which aren't, do the friggin' research yourself, rather than demand that others do everything for you. We ain't yo' friggin' slaves!

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Switch Blayde

@REP

How does Patterson method seem to work?


It works because he writes a detail outline. My guess is he also "trains" them on his style. And, finally, I bet he reviews the manuscript before it goes to the publisher.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Most of James Patteron's novels today are written by a group of paid writers. I heard he writes an outline and they write the novel.

That happens with most successful authors, artists, bloggers, etc. It's hardly an isolated phenomenon. It's the same as big names selling their "name" to be placed on completely unrelated products, just so they'll receive a stipend of each sale.

Hell, I used to know a whole collection of individuals (all from Manhattan) who all 'drew' the Peanuts cartoons. Charles Shultz quite drawing them himself dozens of years before his death.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

How does Patterson method seem to work?

He probably pays a professional manager to ensure each author maintains a similar quality while he spends all his time at his house on a Caribbean island.

awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

Yes. He has a stable of young authors who he trains to write in his style. Sometimes it fails badly - I picked up a 'James Patterson and' novel in the library, skimmed through a few pages and put it back because I found it almost unreadable.

I believe he still writes the occasional novel on his own - the Alex Cross series, for example. I don't know whether the YA series is his own work or by one of his trainees.

AJ

Crumbly Writer

Okay, turning this discussion on its head, let's try the opposite approach, does anyone here have examples of stories (theirs or other's) which succeeded with older characters (without the intervention to other young characters to offset the protagonist's age)?

I'm curious how far this tend goes, and how easy it is to subvert? Although writing about teens is fun, I feel reluctant being tied to ONLY writing about teens for the rest of my writing career.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

There are plenty around. A common theme seems to be military and ex-military protagonists.

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Bondi Beach
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


If you want to debate what marketing trends are true and which aren't, do the friggin' research yourself, rather than demand that others do everything for you. We ain't yo' friggin' slaves!


Ouch! Easy there, big guy. I asked the question to clarify your statement, because to claim that *overall* YA outsells general fiction marketed to adults, struck me as counterintuitive. It still does, and I offered some anecdotal evidence to explain why.

Now you appear to have clarified your statement to refer to your own work, not fiction generally. Fine. That aswers my question. Which, you will note, I had conditioned on whether you referred to your own work (or SOL) or fiction generally.

As to who "proves"what, in general discourse it falls on the party asserting the statement to provide evidence to back it up.

bb

ETA: I did check the NYT bestseller lists before I asked my question. The lists are broken out by adult and YA, among other categories, but do not provide numbers, only who placed first, second, third, etc. So they cannot be compared directly.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

There are plenty around. A common theme seems to be military and ex-military protagonists.

Biographies are a classic exemption. After all, who the hell wants to read the 'life history' of someone who's never experienced life?

You're right about ex-military protagonists, since they couldn't have served without being of legal age. But it doesn't answer the question. Do veteran protagonist stories score better, or worse, than stories with teens or 'young adults'?

It's not a matter of whether the stories exist or not, but defining the extent of the trend. Are there definite limits on the trend (stories which are popular despite breaking it), and if so, under what circumstances can we get away with breaking this 'teens are just more popular' rule.

Although, I can see all the Jack Reacher or 'ex-spy goes nuts and kills all the bad guys' working, but merely because it's ALL action with little actual character building.

Replies:   Not_a_ID  awnlee jawking
Crumbly Writer

@Bondi Beach

Ouch! Easy there, big guy. I asked the question to clarify your statement, because to claim that *overall* YA outsells general fiction marketed to adults, struck me as counterintuitive. It still does, and I offered some anecdotal evidence to explain why.

I reacted negatively, because you were trying to force into a corner where I couldn't defend myself. I never claimed that "YA" was the best-seller market for traditional publishers (what you asked me to 'prove' to you). I merely said that, in my own case, I'd observed that readers, in general, prefer stories about younger characters than they did those about older characters. I never brought up the subject of sales by publishers.

And I asked, mainly because I curious about whether the trend I'd noticed in my own stories extends to other authors. However, the entire discussion got sidetracked into "what is YA and what isn't", rather than whether the age of the protagonists is important or not.

I also blew up because, in the past, you've used the exact same claim to shut down entire discussions: demanding that I prove the unprovable (without industry inside information or extensive research into readership trend which simply don't exist).

When you encounter something you vehemently disagree with (such as following the accepted industry trends), you pull this exact same trick. Instead of discussing the issue, you demand PROOF, rather than discussing the merits of the claim. As such, I take this demands as personal attacks, rather than serious requests for information. If I HAD sources in the publishing industry, I'd reveal what they had to say, but since I don't, I ask questions. You sir, are merely trying to shut down those honest inquires.

But you're correct, I tend to take exception fairly easily, instead of merely politely restating my position again and again.

Not_a_ID

@Crumbly Writer

Although, I can see all the Jack Reacher or 'ex-spy goes nuts and kills all the bad guys' working, but merely because it's ALL action with little actual character building.


That's basically a summary of pulp-Consumer tier content when it involves it revolving around older characters.

Something happens to their family/loved ones, they go apeshit, and mayhem(and lots of explosions) follow suit.

Which cycles back to my earlier comment about older characters usually being "placed" in the position of having just had something happen to them which threatened or radically altered "the stability" of their day to day life.

I mean hell, IIRC, that basically was even the whole premise for Grumpy Old Men and its assorted sequels. Main Characters are senior citizens, an attractive (much younger) woman moves in nearby, and the pair of Old Men go about waging their Odd-couple warfare against each other as result of "their status quo" having been upset by that lone change.

Other popular options are diagnosis(which may or may not be correct) with a terminal illness with no hope of surviving past a set amount of time, and so on and so forth.

But more generally its usually because of "somebody younger doing something" which upsets the status quo for the older Main Character in most cases that don't involved life or death at the onset.

Bondi Beach

@Crumbly Writer

I never claimed that "YA" was the best-seller market for traditional publishers (what you asked me to 'prove' to you).


No.

Here's what I asked (emphasis added):

"I don't remember if you refer to SOL stories or published works generally. If the latter, do you have [numbers]."

I'm unaware that I've shut down entire threads with "the same claim," whatever that is, but if the thread is shuttable-downable by a single question asking for more evidence, I'd say it wasn't much of a thread to begin with. Unless it was 90% gasbagging, of course.

bb

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Bondi Beach

@Not_a_ID

Something happens to their family/loved ones, they go apeshit, and mayhem(and lots of explosions) follow suit.


I'm reading Stephen Hunter's Pale Horse Coming, about the father of the "Shooter," the series remake with Ryan Phillipe of the earlier movie with one of the Wahlburgs. Exactly that premise, except that there's plenty of character-building, including secondary characters. But at its core it is mostly revenge/shoot-em-up/bring justice.

bb

awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

does anyone here have examples of stories (theirs or other's) which succeeded with older characters


Always a Marine by Ernest Bywater (score 9.23).

AJ

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

I merely said that, in my own case, I'd observed that readers, in general, prefer stories about younger characters than they did those about older characters.


In general, it's probably a fantasy/wish fulfillment issue. The young want to be adults (but not old) and the old want to be young again (youth is wasted on the young)

The sweet spot for protagonist age with the broadest appeal is probably late teens to mid twenties.

Some major exceptions I can think of are:

Retired bad ass saves world/rescues loved one/seeks revenge. Note: in my opinion this works much better in a visual medium than a traditional book.

Anti-Hero protagonist: These usually have tragic origins that require that the character have lived more and therefore be older.

Detective mystery stories: Usually more experience is needed to have the knowledge to figure out what the clues mean. Also, the vast majority of private investigators are retired cops.

Military stories, particularly those focused on senior enlisted or high ranking officers.

Corporate/political intrigue.

Dominions Son

@Dominions Son

Medical/legal dramas. 6+ years of college are generally going to result in older characters.

Crumbly Writer

@Not_a_ID

Which cycles back to my earlier comment about older characters usually being "placed" in the position of having just had something happen to them which threatened or radically altered "the stability" of their day to day life.

That's basically the premise of ANY story, something upsetting happens, creates a conflict which has to be resolved. Without conflict, you'll have a pretty boring story. But not every story requires explosions, alien invasions or mass killings of Arabs.

But you're right, the conflict over 'the establishment' not liking a new approach is easier to sell, as it's something that everyone can understand and doesn't take long to establish. (I've used it myself in most of my books.)

There are also a BUNCH of 'life stories' which revolve around much more everyday conflicts (acceptance, fitting in, petty jealousies, misunderstands) which don't fit into those molds. Since we don't encounter them as much on SOL (mainly because they're generally written by women), I suspect we're not getting a fair representation.

Most of those revolve around young or middle-aged women (the latter often when their kids leave home and they're forced to restart their lives with an entirely new focus). But still, while that's a broader age range, there aren't many successful stories featuring 70 or 80 year-old women.

Replies:   richardshagrin
Crumbly Writer

@Bondi Beach

I'm unaware that I've shut down entire threads with "the same claim," whatever that is, but if the thread is shuttable-downable by a single question asking for more evidence, I'd say it wasn't much of a thread to begin with. Unless it was 90% gasbagging, of course.

There were several VERY contentious arguments, where we were discussing the validity of certain punctuation 'norms', and rather than venture your opinion, you and REP repeatedly demanded that we PROVE that those techniques caused readers to understand better.

When I responded by stating that no one has conducted such research, you both refused to budge until I documented the very claims I was discussing.

That's where the frustration comes from. Contentious arguments, where one side attacks the other, tends to leave last-standing conflicts. As such, it doesn't take much to get my dander up when the newest complaint sounds suspiciously like the old complaints (i.e. 'prove it or shut the fuck up').

Replies:   Bondi Beach  REP
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

In general, it's probably a fantasy/wish fulfillment issue. The young want to be adults (but not old) and the old want to be young again (youth is wasted on the young)

That was my initial impression, but it doesn't seem likely. It's not like older people don't want to read something that reflects their lives. Instead, it seems more likely that it takes more time to set up the situation, whereas the traditional teenage drama largely sets itself up, so the author can then focus on the secondary conflicts, rather than establishing the principal conflict.

richardshagrin

@Crumbly Writer

there aren't many successful stories featuring 70 or 80 year-old women.


Or men, either.

richardshagrin

@Crumbly Writer

establishing the principal conflict.


Some of the Naked in School Stories have conflicts with Principals.

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Instead, it seems more likely that it takes more time to set up the situation, whereas the traditional teenage drama largely sets itself up, so the author can then focus on the secondary conflicts, rather than establishing the principal conflict.


That might be why authors might prefer to write stories with younger protagonists, but to me it makes no sense as an explanation of reader preferences for younger protagonists.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Bondi Beach
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


As such, it doesn't take much to get my dander up when the newest complaint sounds suspiciously like the old complaints (i.e. 'prove it or shut the fuck up').


For the effing [sic] record, I have never told anyone on this thread or any other discussion or actually to anyone's face (our FAKE president on the radio doesn't count) to "shut the fuck up," thank you very much.

I'll answer for my own sins, but ones invented or committed by others, no. If that's what you heard that's on you, not me.

bb

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Bondi Beach

@richardshagrin

Some of the Naked in School Stories have conflicts with Principals.


And with principles, too, of course, until the lure of the flesh proves too much and we all enjoy the result.

bb

Not_a_ID

@Dominions Son

That might be why authors might prefer to write stories with younger protagonists, but to me it makes no sense as an explanation of reader preferences for younger protagonists.


Because reader(or viewer/listener) attention spans are limited. Generally you have to set your "hooks" into them early, or they'll give your story a pass. Ergo, if you have a story that requires a 40,000 word lead-in before the main story gets going, you've "already lost" the sale/reader/viewer/listener.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Not_a_ID
Updated:

@Bondi Beach


For the effing [sic] record, I have never told anyone on this thread or any other discussion or actually to anyone's face (our FAKE president on the radio doesn't count) to "shut the fuck up," thank you very much.


Wait, we've had an authentic President in recent history? When did that miracle last happen? JFK? Ford? Carter? Reagan and Bush("read my lips" 41) are possibly stretch options, but I think they'd be "hard sells" for most people.

If you think Bill Clinton qualifies you must have been in an alternate reality, he remains the penultimate embodiment of an unprincipled politician. Bush(43) and Obama alike weren't exactly improvements from that point on either.

Dominions Son

@Not_a_ID

Because reader(or viewer/listener) attention spans are limited.


Bull. Reader/viewer/listener attention spans are highly variable. Writing to the lowest common denominator will cost you readers at the other end of the scale.

Dominions Son

@Not_a_ID

When did that miracle last happen?


Lincoln?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

Some of the Naked in School Stories have conflicts with Principals.

That's cause no one wants to see their Principal naked! Teachers, maybe, but Principals, almost never.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Lincoln?

Lincoln was despised in his day. Not only did they assassinate him, but they started a damn war simply because of his positions!

Bondi Beach

@Not_a_ID

Wait, we've had an authentic President in recent history? When did that miracle last happen? JFK? Ford? Carter? Reagan and Bush("read my lips" 41) are possibly stretch options, but I think they'd be "hard sells" for most people.

If you think Bill Clinton qualifies you must have been in an alternate reality, he remains the penultimate embodiment of an unprincipled politician. Bush(43) and Obama alike weren't exactly improvements from that point on either.


I thought he deserved the term, since it's his favorite epithet for real, i.e., not Fox, news, and for probably totally illogical reasons I thought I'd call him fake, because he actually is fake.

That said, the difference between him and all the presidents you name is not whether the others were politicians—after all, for the most part (Eisenhower excepted) that's who we actually want in office—but whether he has (a) the knowledge, (b) the maturity, (c) the consistency, and (d) the interests of the U.S. of A sufficient to qualify him for office.

You can agree or disagree with the policies of some or all of his predecessors and I'll be right there in line happy to join in, but all of them met all of those requirements I listed above. Whether you like what they did with them is another story.

But although it's cheesy of me to say so now after raising the point, the chance of agreement on this topic is so small that discussion is unlikely to be fruitful.

Oh, and what's his thing with Russia, anyway. A joint effort to curb hacking and improve cybersecurity? HAHAHAHAH. And giggle. (Yeah, sure he took it back, or someone made him take it back, but what rational president would have said it in the first place?)

bb

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Not_a_ID

@Bondi Beach

I thought he deserved the term, since it's his favorite epithet for real, i.e., not Fox, news, and for probably totally illogical reasons I thought I'd call him fake, because he actually is fake.


Personally, I've been calling him a train wreck since he started winning primary races in 2016. Prior to that he was just that small traffic accident you pass by on the side of the road.

That said, a lot of the rhetoric from both sides regarding him is pretty freaking stupid.

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach

@Not_a_ID

That said, a lot of the rhetoric from both sides regarding him is pretty freaking stupid.


If that includes yelling at the radio, guilty as charged.

bb

REP

@Crumbly Writer

the validity of certain punctuation 'norms', and rather than venture your opinion, you and REP repeatedly demanded that we PROVE that those techniques caused readers to understand better.

When I responded by stating that no one has conducted such research, you both refused to budge until I documented the very claims I was discussing.


1. I have no recollection of a discussion of punctuation 'norms' in which I demanded that you prove the techniques caused readers to understand better.

2. As I said in an earlier thread - You have a habit of expressing what I consider 'personal opinions' as if they are fact and in an arrogant manner. Since I have a problem with just accepting what you say, I have on occasion asked you to substantiate your remarks. Your typical response is to either ignore me or just repeat the claim without explaining why you believe what you said is the truth.

3. Asking where you get information and how you know what you are saying is true/fact are not unreasonable requests. Furthermore in your above comment, you said

no one has conducted such research

, so if no research had been done in regard to your claims, how could you have

documented the very claims I was discussing

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@REP

2. As I said in an earlier thread - You have a habit of expressing what I consider 'personal opinions' as if they are fact and in an arrogant manner. Since I have a problem with just accepting what you say, I have on occasion asked you to substantiate your remarks. Your typical response is to either ignore me or just repeat the claim without explaining why you believe what you said is the truth.

3. Asking where you get information and how you know what you are saying is true/fact are not unreasonable requests. Furthermore in your above comment, you said

The discussion was over the use of 'filler words' (that, seem, etc.). Most writers suggest removing them, as they don't aid the story and they feel writing is easier without the extra words. However, while we were discussing how to process those words, your and REP started getting defensive, demanding that those trying to hold a discussion about cleaning up their text PROVE that simplifying writing actually sold more books.

That was such a nebulous demand (who the hell determines what's a simplification and what's 'normal' editing) it's impossible to prove. What's more, at the time no one was insisting that anyone else bother with the process, we were simply discussing how we cleaned up our text in order to suggest alternatives for others to use.

Anyway, dredging up old fights isn't going to resolve anything aside from restarting old fights. We never resolved it before, and are unlikely to make any headway now. However, since the discussion got so pointed, with your insisting the rest of us shouldn't discuss anything unless we could PROVE something that's physically impossible to prove, I took it as a personal attack (the attempt to shut down the discussion, rather than the an attack against me specifically). That's why I interpreted it as an attempt to 'shut the discussion down'.

However, then as now, I'd rather waste my time in more productive ways, and since this discussion has degraded into "You did it", "No I didn't, you did", I'll abandon yet another discussion. Which only reinforces my interpretation of your interests (i.e. that you prefer shutting down people searching for information, rather than a willingness to help anyone).

Replies:   REP
REP
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


Which only reinforces my interpretation of your interests (i.e. that you prefer shutting down people searching for information, rather than a willingness to help anyone).


To start with, your participation in most of the threads that I recall reading is not someone searching for information. Your posts are you telling us the way things are and come across as "I'm right so just accept it" . You do not discuss or ask, you tell.

Secondly, I have no interest in shutting down discussions. What I am interested in doing is stopping you from shoving your personal opinions down my throat as if they are facts. Frequently what you say is not a fact, it is an opinion. The rest of us have opinions and on occasion we strongly disagree with your opinions. We have the right to disagree with you and standup for what we believe is correct. When we do, you get angry because we aren't accepting what you say as fact. Comments like, "If you want to debate what marketing trends are true and which aren't, do the friggin' research yourself, rather than demand that others do everything for you. We ain't yo' friggin' slaves!" are what shuts down a conversation.

If you go back and review that part of the conversation, Bondi politely asked if you had any numbers to support what you said. You later said, you felt backed into a corner where you couldn't defend yourself (i.e., that sounds to me as if you stated an opinion as fact and you had nothing to support your opinion.)

Our requests for supporting information , not DEMANDS, are a means of determining if what you say is opinion or fact. Since you object to providing this information or telling us where it can be found, I must conclude that your statements are opinions with no supporting fact or foundation based on facts. If you have facts, then sharing them with others promotes discussion.

I have a vague recollection of the conversation you are referring to, but still no details of the respective positions or resolution. Frankly I don't care and the only reason I brought it up is that I don't recall ever demanding something from you.

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