Today I’m still busy finishing Noah’s Boy. No, I didn’t run out of steam, but I had to write the big confrontation scene and I didn’t have the energy late at night. It’s amazing how much energy it takes to type, when your character is clambering up on a roller coaster that’s on fire, while fighting the villain and trying to save the villain’s son. It’ s like you feel every movement. You know those experiments they did, where people lost weight while imagining doing exercise? I think it’s something like that.
The last novel I wrote before the first that was published (it does too parse. Go back and read the sentence again) had an extensive military campaign towards the end. Since this was set in the bronze age, there was a lot of sword swinging and horse riding and rope climbing and…
I’d write for four hours and feel like I couldn’t even boil an egg. I was going to eat the first thing that crossed my path. So, while working on those sequences, we lived a block from a pizza parlor. I don’t even like pizza, but I’d call them at noon every time and get a medium delivered and finish it in like five minutes.
Anyway, this isn’t a long scene, but I find when I’m tired or out of it, I’ll outline action rather than write it, and I didn’t want to risk that.
Also, I’m slightly worried because towards the end sequences with laugh-out-loud scenes alternate with horrific ones. But – BAH – the editors will let me know how it plays. So will the first readers.
Meanwhile, since my attention right now is on finishing this and finishing the typo hunt, I don’t have time to set the internets on fire. So I thought I’d leave you guys with a few cans of gasoline and a lighter. (According to Hoyt, the place where the internet catches fire and burns.)
So, my friend Pat Richardson found this quote:
“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”
― Madeleine L’Engle
It relates wonderfully to Heinlein’s statement that he put the big ideas in his YA because teens were more likely to think about them, while the adults had already made up their mind. I don’t remember exactly, and I don’t know what the latest in psychology is, but my Piaget said that adolescence was when you processed systems of ideas. (Does this make philosophers cases of arrested development?)
I came at the YA Heinlein’s late, having read his adult books first, but I used the YAs to introduce ideas (and ideas of freedom) to my sons at appropriate times.
You can say Harry Potter still – to an extent – deals with big ideas. (One of the things that amazed me is how she showed how easily a bureaucracy can be corrupted and yet still holds on to ideas of big government. I guess a lot of artists don’t integrate what they know emotionally – the art – with what they’ve been told intellectually. Or perhaps, being outliers, they want to be in with the in crowd. Joss Whedon you may call your office.) It deals with the fact that the individual can make a difference, that there can be exceptional people, and that big systems and people who are in authority can be wrong/corrupted.
Few of the other YAs floating around do. You could say that Twilight deals with the misunderstood outsider, but truly, victimology is something that the kids get from the establishment and aplenty.
I haven’t read Hunger Games, yet, and I’m not sure I will – I hate these artificial “sacrifice” books. I hated The Lottery. I hate the idea these are necessitated by excess population. In Hunger Games, you add the fact that as a mother I can’t imagine any parent letting their kids do this, unless they’re the functional equivalent of Hollywood Moms.
On the other hand, the book fascinates me because I find it odd that both the right and the left see themselves in that book.
I know the publishers perceived it left, which is part of my distaste in attempting to read it. I don’t think they push anything they don’t perceive extreme left. On the other hand, they’re very, very dumb, so it’s hard to tell.
However, it seems to me most YA literature deals with the body and not the mind. Yes, adolescence is when the kids deal with big ideas. It is also when they deal with sexual impulses for the first time. Most YA literature – under the guise of being new and special and daring, even though this has been done since I was a teen – soaks them in hormones, sex, victimology and sex. The victimology is, of course, how the establishment justifies the rest (We’re making them aware of the plight of transgendered, pansexual, one eyed, one legged immigrants from Panasia.) In the pursuit of this, they often seem to write books set in the fifties or before, when this stuff actually shocked people. (Of course most of the publishing establishment/writers were kids in the fifties. Don’t they realize the world has changed? Do they live in a shell?)
The interesting thing to me, is that these seem to sell worse than the Heinlein juveniles they stigmatize and “squeaky clean” and “goody two-shoes” did in their time, and also that they’re turning readers off books in droves. Perhaps because the kids aren’t as interested in what old people think their sexual lives should be as the old people would like to think. After all ideas are timeless, but every generation thinks they invented sex. (For no apparent reason I’m flashing on the Real Sex programs that we sometimes caught when we weren’t too quick to turn the channel, were watching late at night and had cable – right after nine eleven we didn’t sleep much for about a year. It seems like the people parading their sex lives in public always had white body hair. Make of that what you will.) Perhaps it is that these victim/sex/oppression books are all the same. Soma doesn’t work very well when it’s always the same soma.
Can the kids be reclaimed? Even though the schools are trying to teach them/condition them to neither think nor question? I don’t know. I do know that the establishment will never do it with their YA books. (Flash Dilbert “You’ll never survive by your wits alone”.) So, that leaves it to us to try.
Anyway. I have a dragon and a saber tooth to deal with. Oh yeah. And a wooden rollercoaster. On fire.
You guys go forth with this here gasoline can and set fire to the internets.