I do feel bad for plants in general. Like, I know they are often as vicious as animals in many ways, just slower. But, I mean, they just show up and they’re like, “I Think I Will Evolve To Eat The Sun And Also Make Oxygen And How Now Is All This.” And, like, everything fucking dies at first (totally not plants fault, btw. okay maybe it was but they didn’t mean to) but then new things evolve. And they’re like, “Fuck it, eating each other suuuucks. Let’s eat the plants which give us life.” And so we start doing that. And plants are all, “Oh Dear No, I Do Not Care At All For Being Eaten. I Will Make Myself Into Poison Sometimes.” But, y'know, stuff kept eating plants anyway so plants, ever the bro, came up with a new idea. “I Have Made A Decision About Being Eaten And You May Eat Me Friends And Here Is An Especially Tasty Bit Packed All Full of Delicious Sugars Which I Have Produced At Great Cost (What They Do Not Know Is That My Seeds Are Within And Shall Be Propagated Near And Far By Their Dung)“ But that’s not good enough for animals, no, not at all. We love the fuck out of some pomegranates but also alliums which are like, "I Have Not Decided To Go In For This Being Eaten Business. I Shall Be Very Foul Tasting And Also A Poison.” But no, sorry, onions, you fucked up. You accidentally wound up with a species that just doesn’t give up or fully comprehend the idea of things tasting “”‘bad’“’ or other concepts like not eating poison. (Sorry, plants, later we turn some of you who are not poison into a poison we consume recreationally. We really enjoy eating poison.) Legit, alliums are deadly to, like, every other species. And we call them aromatics and throw them in everything. Peppers are the best, though. They completely got on the being eaten train. BUT ONLY BIRDS Peppers are like, "You May Eat Me, Fair Avian, For You Are Sure To Spread Me A Great Distance. But, Mammal, Take HEED. Should You Eat Me Then I Will Burn You Most Terribly.” And we were all about that. “The FUCK, burning? I love pain,” said humans, presumably. “You know, peppers, you and evolution have done a good job at burning us but I am pretty sure we could make your chemical agony even more potent. Come hang with us,” humans added to a very confused pepper just before creating the ghost chili.
The girl who laughs too loud. Oh god, you could tell her to shut up before she even starts but there’s something about that high pitched laugh. It’s not a pretty laugh but it’s a laugh you’ll remember.
The girl who smiles all the time at literally everything, who practices it in the mirror at night when everyone’s asleep or in the middle of the day when no one’s really paying attention to her.
The girl who journeys alone. She’s not ugly, but she’s not beautiful. It makes her feel worthless sometimes, like love will never come her way like she expects it to on a midnight train. She wants the full experience, the love letters and chocolates and the lifetime together until you’re old and senile. She’d be the best girlfriend. She would be all in.
The girl who breaks her own heart from time to time right on schedule. At least once every month, there’s one bad thought. Or a bad encounter with a friend or a good cry that feels like the end of the world.
The girl who thinks she’s the only one who is different and that no one else could possibly understand her. She can’t wait to go to New York and do New York things. Maybe a little Paris too.
This girl paints pictures in her mind everyday, to the point where it feels like she’s actually seeing them first hand. This girl is worth every single page.
hey i just wanted to say that if you’re already scraping by to make ends meet, the holidays are really hard. and that puts pressure on you and on your whole family. and if there’s one thing i hope you know it’s that you don’t need to prove you love someone by buying them something. i know we all want to get the people we care about really fancy things. but i’m okay if you get me like a smooth rock you found by the ocean. i know it’s true of other people, too. i’d rather you hand me a diy picture frame from popsicle sticks than something you had to go into debt to buy, and i think any person who’s worth their socks will tell you the same thing. and on that note? everybody loves socks, and they’re pretty cheap. yes, it’d be great if you and i stumbled on enough money to actually afford things. but love, i’ve learned, isn’t about the buying.
and on that note? for those of you out there who find the holidays a particularly dark time… i hope you know there will always be someone willing to open the door for you. even when it feels like there’s no one. even if that door is a window you have to crawl through.
and for those of us who have more than we need, i hope we open those doors. if you notice someone who is going to be alone during the holidays, or who is usually depressed but for no apparent reason seems markedly happy and is giving away their things, please invite them over. hang out with them, no matter how awkward it is. sudden cleaning and long notes about how much they love you are also signs of suicide. with recent changes in insurance, it’s increasingly harder to find mental health care, so help a friend out (and maybe even yourself!) by figuring out who still takes the insurance offered so we can all give ourselves the gift of coping mechanisms, the gift that keeps on giving.
TAURUS: lately life has felt like a carnival ride that you stumbled onto by accident and you don’t understand why everybody else is having such a good time. why everybody else has open-mouth smiles and bright eyes while you’re clutching your lap-bar praying for something to end. it won’t always be like this. the ground isn’t going to perpetually swing around you, stealing your balance and your ability to move as if your existence is something flimsy and disposable. this will all slow down eventually. please stay until then. the view from the top will be worth it.
GEMINI: you’ve taken every offhand remark to heart since the day you were born and your chest has become so heavy that it’s hard to breathe around all of that hurt. you know you don’t have to keep it all hidden, right? storage units exist for a reason: humans were never meant to bear all of their belongings. I know that your statuesque stance is one you’ve been practicing for centuries, but it’s okay to ask for help. nobody is going to be mad at you or think of you as weak for doing so.
CANCER: you’re holding something beautiful and this is the most terrifying thing you’ve ever done. because you’re so used to watching watching eggs roll off the countertop and kisses slip off of your cheek that everything worthwhile seems fleeting. fragile. forced. like the universe is playing a game to see how good you are at playing catch with crystal balls. but you’ve gotta believe in the potential of durability. if you’ve managed to exist for this long without giving up, you must believe in something, and it must be pretty special. don’t lose it now. not after all this time.
LEO: maybe it feels like the april showers will never stop pouring down on you. maybe you keep trying to fix new things with old instruction manuals and end up getting frustrated when the pictures don’t match what’s in front of you. maybe you’re starting to realize that not everything is going to work out the way you need it to and that scares you. it scares you because the last time this happened it almost killed you. but the key word here is almost. you’re more than the rubble you’ve had to sift through and the photographs you’ve had to throw out. you were never meant to burn out. you were designed to endure.
VIRGO: so, you ran away from home. you’re playing hooky from your life because every scenario you’ve found yourself in has ended in blood. and you’re sick of it. you never asked for any of this. but then again, has anyone? I can’t imagine how tiring it must be to build those walls around yourself every morning, before your coffee and your nicotine, before you think about the lover you left behind. have you ever visited the grand canyon? you should. it’s time you found some beauty in what’s below the surface. look at how easy it is to see the sky from here. but please don’t try to fly until you’ve looked down once or twice please.
LIBRA: you ran into the past while crossing the street and you didn’t stop to say hello. were you scared? or were you just waiting for what you abandoned to make the first move? either way, you didn’t say hello and that’s okay. you don’t have to feel shameful about the ugliness of your progress. not everybody’s carriage stays a carriage when the clock strikes midnight. that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. that doesn’t mean it wasn’t real or valuable. you ran into the past while crossing the street and it didn’t hurt you. not this time. not you.
SCORPIO: everybody around you seems to be darting across the universe with their hearts on their sleeves and it makes you feel as though something is wrong with you. as if the molasses town your feet are submerged in is something that you asked for, that you wanted. you know, you don’t have to travel at the speed of light in order to get out of bed in the morning and that’s still something miraculous, especially when every part of you is begging to pull the covers over your eyes and dream a little longer. I’m proud of you for fighting that feeling. I know it’s hard. I know it’s hard.
SAGITTARIUS: I think that it’s time for you to start believing in fairy tales again. do you remember being smaller? looking for magic around every corner? that spark doesn’t leave once you outgrow the disney themed bedsheets and wear holes in the light-up sneakers. nobody needs you to be the grown-up all of the time, it’s okay to let yourself feel lighthearted again. go pick some daisies or buy some gelato. take care of yourself the way you would’ve before the world showed you its shadows.
CAPRICORN: the monsters under your bed have been keeping you awake for months but you don’t have the heart to drive them away. you’ve kinda liked the company. you’ve been throwing them scraps from the dinner table that you couldn’t finish and have taken pleasure in listening to what you couldn’t stomach be put to use. but, baby, you don’t have to be kind to the things that make you shudder in the night. you’re not obligated to give to the things that take and take and take until there’s nothing left. reclaim your bedroom. this, this is yours. it always will be.
AQUARIUS: sometimes you find yourself thinking about the cost of living. how much of yourself you’ve had to trade in order to stay alive. it’s really easy to get angry, when you see that other people have traded so much less and gotten so much more. but don’t let yourself get caught up in the what-if’s because that’s a maze that’ll never let you leave, no matter the strength of the compass you bring with you. forgive yourself for what you’ve had to do to survive. it doesn’t make sense to be ashamed of all you’ve gone through, when everyone else just wants to watch you succeed. we’re rooting for you.
PISCES: you’ve become an expert at mending the bridges that people have burned in your wake and I hope that you see the beauty in that. the talent it takes to reconstruct a pathway between two islands is immense and you’ve forgotten this in all of the excitement. you’ve accomplished great things in such a short time, and it’s breathtaking. truly. when you were born everybody in the room must’ve held their breath, because how could they not see what they were bringing into the world? sure, you’ve caused a few accidents. but you’re working to fix the damage. you’re trying. that’s enough.
ARIES: the clocks have all been telling you that you’re late for figuring yourself out. which is another way of saying that it feels as though time itself has been harassing you because you don’t know who you are yet. and hey, fuck ‘em. time is a construct: while you? you’re here. you’re breathing. you’re taking the alarms and setting them for 12pm because this is your life and you dictate what it’ll be filled with. don’t worry about the calendars or the deadlines. you’ll find yourself when you’re ready. take as many seconds as you need.
“Darkiplier VS Antisepticeye” is Mark’s Effort to Take Back Control From Dark: A Theory
(Disclaimer: I know nothing about any of Jack’s egos, so this is entirely about Mark’s. Disclaimer 2, Electric Boogaloo: I had my Frosted Mini Wheats like two hours late today, and that threw off my groove, so I’m sorry if I’m less eloquent than usual. Disclaimer III- This Time, It’s Personal: The only reason this isn’t under a read more is because someone told me to do that last time, but they weren’t very nice about it, so now I’m being petty. I’m sorry for being the worst. I still love you guys, though.)
In my last theory, we discussed the possibility that Dark is trying to take back control through more subtle means this time, and that he has a plan that we didn’t get to see during Markiplier TV. He’s been slowly giving hints of his existence in videos, teasing just enough to get people talking. He hasn’t revealed himself outright in any videos since Markiplier TV; he hasn’t denied being in them, either.
Mark quickly dispels rumors about Darkiplier when they’re not true. Why, then, would he not clear the air during the chaos of World’s Quietest Let’s Play 4, or any other video that has stirred up the community a great deal more than this photo ever did? The logical train of thought, then, is that these really were Dark appearances and we are supposed to know it. So, if Dark has been going about this so carefully all along, why would he reveal himself by sharing the spotlight in a comedy sketch? The short answer is that he wouldn’t. The reality is… say it with me now… it’s just Mark impersonating Dark!
Yeah, I know, no shock there. You’ve been hearing that since the video dropped. I talked about it when answering an ask, which I’m screenshotting and dropping below for your convenience, because I’m just a nice gal like that.
So now we have to ask, why would Mark do this? If Dark really is starting to take back control, this would be a dangerous time to pull a stunt like this, wouldn’t it? Well, it makes sense when you consider the fact that Mark has all but run out of options.
Every time Dark is hinted at, the community goes wild. It doesn’t matter how subtle the hint may be- if the lights in the background of a video are red and blue, someone will point it out. Someone will draw him. Someone will get excited. And then, over time, everyone will get excited.
Even if Mark tried to warn us, it only fueled the fire.Reaching out for help, trying to tell us that Dark is here– it is exactly what Dark wants. So Mark now has to try a different tactic. The only way that Dark can lose at this point is if he loses his allure to the viewers, and the only way to do that is to use his own method against him: Dark is pretending to be Mark, and now Mark is pretending to be Dark in order to discredit him. More specifically, he’s trying to get Dark out of the way, impersonate him, and make a fool out of him. That sounds… familiar, doesn’t it? Have we heard that somewhere before?
What if I change up the tense a little and word it a bit more like this?
“Pushed aside. Replaced. Mocked.”
That rings a few more bells, doesn’t it?
When we put all of these things together, a picture starts to form: Mark kept Dark at bay for years by making him a joke, but then he made the mistake of letting down his guard. Letting him back in. Now, Mark is fighting back using the only method that he has ever known to work. Why wouldn’t it this time? Making silly edits, taking over Mark’s twitter with edgy, emo poetry… it was enough to dissuade the community last time. So what could make it fail now? How could humor no longer be sufficient to drive Dark away?
The key difference this time is that Dark is not simply a wisp of a presence like he was years ago. He can’t be laughed off anymore. He is here. He is real. He is powerful. He does not like to be mocked, and this action from Mark will most definitely have consequences.
And the blame for that, really, falls on all of us. As Mark said all those years ago, we made Dark real. Back then, he had to resort to humor to keep Dark at bay, because none of us would listen to him when he warned us. Now, history’s repeating itself, but the outcome isn’t so sure this time. We learned nothing in the process. Now Dark has become too strong, because we, the viewers, keep letting him back in. Mark tries to tell us that Dark is here and we are thrilled about it.
So, really, the question isn’t, “Why would Mark do this?”
20 Mistakes To Avoid When Writing Young Adult Fiction/Romance
YA Fiction is an incredibly popular genre of literature, and most people have picked one up and devoured it in less than a day, but there is a trend in the genre where in certain instances, people forfeit quality for a cheesy dramatic plot. A lot of these stories are just regurgitated cliches with vaguely interesting characters and just enough drama, fluff, and mildly (or extremely) sexual content to keep the reader paying attention. (No shade to the authors, because obviously, any author who writes and publishes a book works hard, no matter the end product.)
There are a lot of aspects of YA Fiction that repeatedly rear their ugly heads and annoy readers or flat out scream dangerous messages to the young people that indulge in them. I thought I’d put the spotlight on a few in the hopes that it will help clean up the genre’s reputation as new and more awakened authors contribute content to it.
Below you will read about some common mistakes that YA Fiction/Romance writers make that either ruin the story, promote dangerous messages, or unrealistically portray teenagers.
Making A Good Story
These are some things you should avoid doing when writing YA fiction/romance in order to make a generally enjoyable and enticing story.
Forgetting The Supporting Characters
The supporting characters are an important part of any story, even if the main plot revolves around two people. Supporting characters provide subplots, information to the reader, and more opportunities for your audience to connect and relate to your story. It’s always good to give your supporting characters love and attention when creating and writing them. Sometimes they end up carrying the story.
A mistake that a lot of authors make is that they give the reader a couple defining characteristics, a name, a relationship to the main character, and then just make that character pop into the reader’s view whenever the main plot needs them to. No backstory. No life of their own. Just support to the plot, and that’s a huge waste of potential. You don’t want your readers to put down your book and either forget the supporting characters existed at all, or believe that they were extra pieces of a puzzle.
Using Slang Badly
Writers should not feel the need to include current slang in order to make their story more relatable or popular amongst their targeted demographic. Slang is constantly changing, evolving, and most importantly, dying. Not to say that you should only write in traditional terms or put “thy” and “thee” everywhere, but using standard English and avoiding the trendy but temporary slang words is key.
If you must use slang, try to use the bare minimum and only in fitting circumstances. If your character is the type to say “OMG her dat boi memes are on fleek” then, by all means, go right ahead, but you probably cringed when you read that. That would have been totally normal 2 years ago, but every bit of that sentence has died over time, and no matter how much you think a slang word will stick, don’t risk it.
Sympathy and Envy Mongering
Two emotions that YA Fiction and Romance always try to invoke in their readers are sympathy and envy. The author either wants the reader to feel bad for one or many of the characters, or they want them to be jealous of the awesome (and usually unrealistic) lives the characters have. Don’t be one of these. It’s tired and boring and not original in the slightest.
Are sympathy and empathy both totally okay emotions?
Are they all you need to write a good story?
Nope. Not at all.
The reader needs and wants to feel more than jealous of and sad for the characters in the story. The best stories are the ones that trigger a complex whirlwind of emotion. Sympathy and envy are the easy way out, and you get out of those emotions what you put into them.
Unrealistically Portraying Teenagers & Teenage Life
Teenagers look up to and compare themselves and their lives to the characters and lives of the characters in your story. Keeping in mind that your audience is young and impressionable is essential for authors of the genre.
Love At First Sight
Love-at-first-sight does not happen. Infatuation, maybe, but love is more complicated than that. Writing a plot based on “love at first sight” can leave a bad taste in your readers’ mouths from the start, and that is something you should avoid at all costs. On top of that, love-at-first-sight is a very easy-way-out move and if you’re dedicated to your characters and your story, there’s a good to fair chance that you can come up with a more satisfying build up.
Unrealistic Romantic Situations
If you’ve ever opened a YA Romance, chances are you’ve read a scene in which the protagonist and the love interest end up in a stunningly beautiful place and the love interest sweeps the protagonist off their feet prior to riding into the sunset. This, unfortunately, does not happen very often, especially in teenage relationships. The most romance you’re going to get (usually) is the love interest offering to pay for the protagonist’s bag of skittles with the leftover money from their paycheck they earned at McDonald’s.
Just because teenagers don’t really go to great lengths to rent an entire ice-skating rink in the middle of the night so they and their crush can skate to Ellie Goulding music doesn’t mean there can’t be cute and memorable moments. Great doesn’t always equal grand and that’s important to remember. A lot of the time, teenagers appreciate fantasizing about things that are actually possible.
Not all stories have to end happily, and you’ve definitely been told this before, but nobody ever takes into account how stories about teenagers have so much potential when it comes to endings. Teenagers read books about teenagers and unfortunately, this means that a lot of them will take what you’re writing about and try to change their own lives to match. Be honest in your depiction about what actually happens when you leave high school.
The majority of the time, high school sweethearts won’t stay together. Long distance won’t work, they’ll find someone else, the spark will die out, their personalities will undergo drastic changes, and their goals and plans for the future will turn out differently than they expected. “And they lived happily ever after” is criticized harshly for a reason, especially in YA and YA Romance. Most stories don’t end happily, but there is more than one story in a person’s life and giving a person their happy ending as they graduate high school is a great injustice, to your character and your readers.
Avoiding The Dark Parts Of Teenage Life
Teenagers, despite what a lot of the media claims, go through some really serious and stressful and damaging things. Teenagers suffer from mental illness and deal with the intense pressure of the education system and hold their heads high in the face of stigma over every little detail about them. They suffer from eating disorders and body dysmorphia and self-harm tendencies, and that doesn’t even bring into account the bullying and family issues and the stress of constantly learning and feeling things for the very first time with little to no guidance or assurance or resources to ask for help. It is hard being a teenager. Do not forget that, and don’t leave the actual teenagers reading your story feeling underrepresented and/or abnormal because they aren’t as stress-free as the characters they look up to.
Exaggerating How Teenagers Interact With Each Other
A lot of teenage interactions are short, awkward, and uneventful. Teenagers aren’t super eloquent and socially apt, but YA Fiction seems to believe they are. It’s quite rare that a teenager will just walk up to someone they like, say “wanna go to dinner on Saturday?” and all will be fine and dandy. It’s quite rare that a teenager will saunter up to someone who talked about them behind their back, say something super clever and damaging to their enemy’s ego, and saunter off like the king/queen of the world. Those interactions look great in our heads, but they usually contain a few stuttered words and “um”s and blushing. Confidence is usually a trait that people develop later in life, so try not to push it if you’re trying to be realistic.
Maturity of Teenagers
Teenagers are underdeveloped human beings with minimal experience in most areas of life. They do not have it all figured out. A lot of YA books revolve around characters that are extremely intelligent, disciplined and ambitious at a level of maturity a 25-year-old be on. This is not accurate. Making characters “awkward” or “childish” does not have anything to do with how mature they seem to readers. There is a distinct difference between an awkward girl with childlike innocence and a girl who makes mistakes, does not have her life figured out, and is not yet comfortable with casual social interaction. The latter things I mentioned are pretty universal when it comes to teenagers.
There are more than two paths in life. It seems that in YA you’re either going to graduate, get married, pop out a couple kids and live the rest of your life in the suburbs, or you’re going to leave home, go to college, travel for 20 years and settle in some random country in Europe writing poetry until the end of your days. There is no in between, which sucks. There are a lot of interesting things you can do in life, not to say that either of the two life paths I mentioned are uninteresting. You could take a gap year and travel the world, go to college, move back home for a couple years then maybe get a job that has you traveling and exploring new things for the rest of your life. You could meet the love of your life in college and have some kids but put them in online school so you could travel with them. You could live your whole life in an awesome cabin in the forest casting spells and adopting wild squirrels. There are so many ways life can be and restricting it to opposite extremes takes the imagination out of the future.
Not All Teenagers Think Their Relationships Will Last Forever
This one is pretty self explanatory, so long story short, not every relationship a teenager enters into is with the end goal of staying together forever, or even more than a few months. Most teenage relationships are pretty short and not very meaningful, and portraying every single couple in your stories as “we’ve been going strong for 2 years and plan on getting married right after graduation” is inaccurate and will probably cause your readers some disappointment in the future.
Relationships Aren’t A Teenager’s Only Concern
Most teenagers are more concerned about the F they got on a History test than they are about who they’re going to stare at next period. Everyone has more than just their crush to worry about. Some teenagers have to worry about where they’re going to get their next meal or how they’re going to get a ride home from school or even how they can apologize to a friend they’ve hurt. It’s not all about relationships for teenagers, in fact, relationships are a pretty small part of teenage life. If all your character has to think about is the hottie they sit next to in Biology, perhaps you should work a little more on character development.
Most teenagers are not model-level attractive. All teenagers have break-outs and leave the house late with greasy hair or with their shirt on inside out. No teenager shows up at school every day looking absolutely flawless, as if they’re about to walk down the runway. Please keep that in mind, because portraying teenagers accurately, especially when it comes to physical aspects such as weight, acne, etc. is super important. In YA and YA Romance, you must keep in mind that the teenagers you are trying to appeal to should not feel like a piece of trash because they aren’t as perfect as your characters. Yes, YA Fiction is Fiction, but just because you know that it’s unrealistic doesn’t mean your readers do. Readers of YA Fiction compare themselves to the characters in your books whether you like it or not.It is not hard to realistically portray physical appearances of teenagers.
Avoiding Dangerous Messages
A common problem found in YA Fiction is the lacing of dangerous messages found in the smaller details. You may miss them the first couple times you read a story, but if you go looking for them, you will find them, and perhaps you will find the source of a lot of mistakes you’ve made. YA has a bad habit of endorsing mindsets that lead to bad decisions. Some of them, however, can be avoided in your own writing.
The Need To Change The “Flawed” One
Nobody in this world is perfect. Expecting the person you supposedly love to be flawless all the time is not realistic. People make mistakes. People are not always happy and bubbly and confident about themselves. People do not always act the same one day as they did the day before. Human beings are flawed and should be portrayed as such, especially in the stage of their life which is the most confusing and scary. Teenagers are underdeveloped human beings, and for some reason, teenager girls in YA Romance expect teenage boys to be charming and loving and never ever make a mistake, which is ridiculous. Creating love interests that appear flawless and can make no mistakes is detrimental to your audience. It raises your readers’ expectations to an unattainable level which causes them disappointment and might cause their future partners unrepairable damage to their self-esteem because they’ll think that in order to find a partner, they cannot be flawed and cannot make mistakes.
Glorification Of Illegal Activity
It’s not “cool” or “edgy” to pump yourself full of deadly and mind-altering substances you know absolutely nothing about. It doesn’t make you “badass” and it isn’t a personality trait unless that trait is stupid. Whatever your position is on drugs or alcohol or whatever, there is no excuse for putting the idea in the heads of young readers that doing things that are illegal and addictive and that might even get you killed is ok. Not only because most of your readers are younger than 21, but because it will always be dangerous to take drugs, commit crimes, and drink. Your choices are your choices. Don’t impose your habits and excuses on kids who don’t know any better.
News flash: it’s 2017, people. Nobody cares who you’re kissing or dating or having sex with. People are finally getting used to the idea that maybe, just maybe, it’s not the end of the world if you do whatever you want, as long as you’re not hurting yourself or anyone else. This recurring theme of “I hate this person because they do what they want with their body” is getting old and annoying. Believe what you will regarding religion and morals and what is right or wrong or whatever you want to believe in, but the second you start turning your story into a commentary on the decisions and beliefs of other people, you’re in the wrong. There are other, more creative reasons to make your characters hate each other than their sexual activity.
Forgetting The First Times
One of the most exciting parts of being a teenager is that everything you’re experiencing, you’re experiencing for the first time. Everything is confusing and exciting and 10x more painful or memorable or enjoyable, and that’s neglected all the time in YA. I don’t mean the common trope of the first kiss or the losing of virginity. I mean love and infatuation and loss and heartbreak; it’s all happening to them for the first time in their lives, and these events make up their memories that they will carry with them forever. Teenage years are incredibly heavy times for people. It is, after all, the years in which they learn the most and the fastest and where the majority of their brain development takes place. These moments that you’re writing, the first kiss, the first time having sex, the first time your character loses someone they love, they’re all going to determine how your character will develop in the future. Treat them that way. Teach young readers that it’s normal and perfectly okay to be scared and inexperienced and lost. That’s the bitter-sweet part of youth and it’s beautiful.
Bad Boys And Boring Girls
Bad Boysare, in reality, bad news. The real “bad boys” in this world are slimy, manipulative jerks who trick girls (usually more than one at a time) into thinking they have feelings for them, using them for things like sex or money, and then either end up controlling their entire lives, introducing drugs and problems, or breaking their hearts. It’s sad, but it’s reality. Yes, there’s always a cause for this behavior, and sometimes these bad boys grow out of it, but that’s not always the case. Portraying these bad boys as “changeable” is not only dangerous for the female readers but also the men in their future. If you make girls think that they can change whomever they’re with to be the perfect prince charming, they will never be satisfied with someone who is flawed (spoiler alert: everyone is flawed) and they may destroy the self-esteem of whoever they’re with by making them think they need to change to be lovable.
Boring Girls are, sort of, connected to bad boys in this sense. They show up in every story, which makes sense financially because authors who make more relatable main characters sell more books. It’s just demographics. But at the same time, this stretch for a wider audience can end up influencing girls’ expectations of themselves and their love lives. If you make every protagonist completely boring, compliant, and devoid of strong, defining traits, girls will take that as advice. They will learn that all a girl has to do to make people fall in love with them is sit quietly and be pretty, which is horrible, in case you hadn’t noticed. Teach girls to look up to strong characters with rich personalities. Nowadays, that counts as an original idea.
Portraying every aspect of teenage life and teenagers themselves as if you opened a book full of cliches, closed your eyes and pointed at something is not ok. High schools and families and personalities are different wherever you go, and making blind generalizations about aspects of teenage life can not only change how your reader interprets their own lives, but how adult readers assume teenage life is when they’re not around. It is important to not reinforce the assumption that there is always a popular clique and mean jocks and awkward nerds and dead-beat stoners because these stereotypes are a way for people to justify their snap-judgements, and not only does that say a lot about you as an author, but that will breed a whole new generation of judgmental, close-minded people.
Glorification Of Unhealthy Relationship Behaviors
I’m gonna say this once: It is not “hot” to have the love interest constantly putting restrictions on their supposed loved one. It’s not okay to borderline stalk someone and use “I love you” as an excuse, even if the person reciprocates your feelings. It is unhealthy to ignore someone when they say “no, no, not now” or “no, stop, not here” when you’re in the middle of initiating sex or even just kissing. It is disgusting when romance, especially YA Romance, which has mostly young, impressionable readers taking in your messages, promotes these behaviors like they’re something to strive for. Like it or not, your writing is going to alter the way they imagine a “perfect” relationship. If you aren’t willing to take that responsibility seriously, you should not be writing YA, and especially not YA Romance.