One of the big things a YA author has to tackle is how much is too much, especially when writing horror? Too much violence? Too much language? Should there be none of the above? Anyone whose read Darren Shan’s work knows that there really isn’t a limit. (Shan’s novels have been banned in schools. Which is something to think about.) There is also swearing in the first Harry Potter book, which according to my copy is aimed at 9 year olds.
I was 11 when I read my first Stephen King book, Dreamcatcher which has some pretty freaking things going on. Was I too young to read it? I don’t think so, but others might. A lot of my friends, and family, have all read similar stuff at a similar age. I don’t think the author should censor their work at all. If a parent is really that bothered about what their children read then they should pick up the book, skim through it, read it, check out the website/reviews of the book. It would take 5 minutes to find out the content. If a teenager picks up the book in a library then either their card will stop them from taking it out, or in a school the librarians SHOULD (I know some won’t) stop them. The librarians at my school were really good at this. They didn’t patronise people about what they shouldn’t read, yet they managed to keep younger ones away from the more graphic books. (They did have Maus, a graphic novel about the holocaust portrayed through animals. Jews were mice. And that should be read at any age. True story as well.)
Personally I think that if the child is grabbing a book and reading it. Who cares what’s in it. They’re reading. Of course there are limits, but then again there are parents. My mum stopped me from reading a couple of books when I was younger, although she did give me Endless Night by Richard Layman when I was 14 which was stretching it. Don’t let anyone else read that book. I didn’t mean to turn that into a rant, so don’t be offended if you disagree. I’m just talking as a 19 year old who remembers really clearly at the age of 13 being told to put away Red Dragon and keep it at home, while being given Romeo and Juliet. (There is some pretty racy things in there. Innuendos, murder and suicide. But it’s literature so then it’s acceptable. Red Dragon is just pure filth about murdering people, which is wrong. I admit that part was a rant.)
Anyway as part of the new writing project I’m involved in, I’ve started a Facebook page, you can find HERE. I’ll appreciate it if you check that out. Also HERE is the actual site, which at the moment has a few reviews I’ve written. Have a look. That book I’ve been reading, Shiverton Hall, I’ve reviewed that and you can read that HERE. Did I put enough links there?
In less than 6 weeks time I will have finished my 2nd year of uni. I’ll have some essays and one exam to finish but the actual lessons will be all over. A weird feeling. Time has gone fast, but I feel like this year was a lot better than the last one. I also know how to manage my writing a lot better now so I can get on with a lot of stuff over the break. I’ve also got to start my reading on Romanticism poets. I don’t really get along with poetry, but I’ve been getting better at that. I’m willingly reading Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes (Which I bought thinking it was on a book list somewhere, but I haven’t come across it since.) Hopefully by September I will find poetry reasonably easy and be able to get on with it. Anyway I need to stop thinking about the summer and get back here in the winter with Neil Gaiman’s new novel as a light at the end of the tunnel. Roll on June.
Thanks for reading,