Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby

If my parents thought this was my life in a public high school, I'd have been home schooled.

If my parents thought this was my life in a public high school, I’d have been home schooled.

Remember when you first heard that song on the radio? I do. Very specifically. I was in my best friend’s bedroom, somewhere in the early hours of a summer sleep-over. Previously that night, there had been nail-polish, a pillowcase contest, and reruns of Step By Step.

Sex? On the radio? They’re talking about sex? No freaking way.

Oh, and I was nine years old.

What did I know about sex at nine? Well, not a whole lot, and that song and all it’s talking about it did nothing to provide me a glimpse as to what it was. I knew it existed. I knew adults loved it. I knew my schoolmates made jokes about it. Imagine the amount of information ABOUT SEX I learned in the following eight years until my high school graduation. No, that’s not a hint as to when I really learned about sex, that’s just about the point when the reality of sex really hit home. I mean, high school.

Who reads Young Adult fiction? High schoolers! *shudders* (Chuck Wendig wrote a fabulous article about how teenage characters should suffer teenage problems in novels.) I’m writing a Young Adult Fiction series. There will possibly be a point after my novel is published that those young adult readers will find my blog and read through these posts (and then find one with the word ‘sex’ in it and go all bat-shit because ohmygodshesaidsex shealsosaidbatshit adultsgonewild). And you know what? I want these young adults to read this post for some insight as to why I’m choosing to write sex into my novel.

Yes. You read that right. I am writing sex in a Young Adult novel.

Hang on, I’ll get the hand fans.

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You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

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I didn’t know I didn’t know that much.

One of the most valuable things I learned in school was that I didn’t know shit about anything. While I was an introspective and philosophical adolescent (read: I was convinced I was positively smarter than anyone I knew) who understood humans and the universe they live in, I learned that there was such a vast amount of things in the world I didn’t know were available for a teenager such as myself to know anything about. There was so much I didn’t know I didn’t know, so much I never even considered necessary or interesting or relevant. That’s one of the joys — er, betrayals — of adulthood, learning that there is still so much about life that you I don’t even know exists. Sure, I know I still don’t understand rocket science, or parenthood, or walking a tightrope, and a lot of those things I have little interest in learning. But coming to terms with the vast quantity of things I didn’t even know were possibilities is both a riveting and risky experience. I’d imagine it’s a little like agreeing to be the world’s expert on the next newly discovered animal species . . . you have no idea what you’ll end up with and whether you’ll spend the rest of your career being laughed at by your peers.

As a novelist, the same rules apply while writing. Not before I create a story, not while plotting or even researching, but rather while I’m writing.

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The First Draft of Anything is Shit…

All Hail the Wendigo (aka Chuck Wendig)

All Hail the Wendigo (aka Chuck Wendig)

1st Draft: Weee! Writing is so awesome and fun and look at all the cool ideas I have! This is great! I’m gonna be rich and famous and everybody is gonna read my book and LOVE it because it’s just awesome!!

2nd Draft: This story is even better now that I’ve cleaned up the rough spots. And oh look how complete it is with its fancy chapter fonts and clean margins and pretty formatting. Yes, pretty pretty manuscript. *pets computer monitor*

3rd Draft: Well that one part in the beginning there is kinda odd. It feels a little off to maybe but maybe no one will notice if I just nudge and smudge a little here and there. I mean, the rest is really great, who cares about this one part, right? Well, and maybe that other part in the middle…and the one at the end…

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