I don’t write down

From a Fantasy Literature interview sometime ago.

How would you distinguish, if in fact you do, the writing you do for adults versus the writing you do for YA? Is there anything different about the process? The crafting? Thematically?

If there is one thing that I myself resented mightily when I was growing up, it was a sense of a grown-up — particularly a writer — talking down to me as to a child. I was brought up as an intellectual equal who had not quite caught up to my adult family as yet, never as a child for whom everything needed to be simplified and EXPLAINED. As a result I treat my own younger audience with both the respect they deserve, and with an expectation that they will stretch to reach the things they don’t quite get without my needing to hand it to them on a platter.

My first-ever published book was a slim volume of Oscar Wilde-like fairy tales which was published in an educational context by Longman UK, and used as a reader in schools and in classrooms — but these were ALL stories originally written for an adult audience in mind, not fifteen-year-olds. I was afraid that they would edit the things into a pablum, that they would remove the complexity of tale and language, in order to render the thing “comprehensible” to the YA reader — but they did not. They did very little editing, made very few changes. The stories remained complex, on every level. And it didn’t seem to matter to the audience to whom the book was marketed — not at all.

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I instinctively write lush, poetic, complex. I find it hard to even write short stories because they rarely give me the room I need to spread my wings with a tale. I was aware that I had to watch certain things with a YA readership — for instance, in Spellspam, there were certain kinds of spam that were, uh, not really appropriate for the intended audience of the book, but I had no trouble writing within the limits of that framework and producing a book with as much emotional “truth” and heft that I would expect to produce for a more grown-up readership.

I believe that my intended audience will find its level, and I trust them to do this. My own contribution is to hope to provide a story that is enjoyable and entertaining and yet solid enough for that reader-writer relationship to be one of mutual respect.

Read the rest here.

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