Thursday, May 30, 2013

Old Dogs and New Tricks by Terry Burns

Old dogs CAN learn new tricks . . . but they have to be easy tricks.

I got a proposal that was aimed at a market I wasn't familiar with, new adult fiction.

I try to keep up, but that was a new term for me. Apparently it is for 18-25 year old readers.

Linda Glaz pointed me in the right direction to a couple of websites with more information. I do handle middle reader and young adult but this seems to be aimed at those who don't want to read young adult but more in tune with younger adult readers than the usual adult fare. The setting is likely to be a college campus or young people who haven't left their home town yet but who are stretching their wings. It seems to focus on young love but maybe in ways that I am not comfortable representing.

I do work in both the Christian market AND the mainstream market but I don't park my convictions at the door in order to reach to secular markets. Material I attach my name to doesn't have to contain Christian content but it has to at least be family friendly.

That begs the question, "Is there new adult fiction that meets that criteria?" And if there is, is there a market for it? A USA Today article quotes an author as saying "New Adult novels are appropriate for readers 17 and older because of the language, the mature themes, and there is more detail in the sex scenes." More detail? That means more graphic?

I've only gotten one submission that specifically defined itself as 'new adult fiction' but perhaps I have seen more that might have flown under that label. I haven't heard the editors that I'm working with asking for it, but maybe that is because I haven't asked them about it, or haven't tried them with a submission styled that way. Who knows?

In another post Kristin Hoffman says "New Adult fiction is, ‘…about transition. The transformation from child to adult doesn’t happen overnight—just ask anyone who is or has been (or is a parent to) a teenager. But the transition from teen to adult doesn’t happen overnight either. There’s a period of time where adulthood feels like a new pair of shoes. The expectations of independence and self-sufficiency are still new, still being broken in. New Adults are the people who have just begun to walk in those shoes; New Adult fiction is about their blisters and aches."

I didn't take the one I was presented with but I'm remaining open to it to see if this developing genre is for me. I do know old dog tricks for this dog don't include profanity or explicit sex scenes, but learning to walk in new shoes? I could get behind that.


Jeanette Levellie said...

I'd not heard of this new genre, Terry. Thanks for the heads up.

I admire you for keeping your convictions while staying open to learning new tricks. That's a dandy balancing act, isn't it?

Terry Burns said...

It is indeed - thank you

Sharon Kirk Clifton said...

I admire and respect you for maintaining your integrity first as a man of God.

As a reader, my choices of material are either Christian or secular that doesn't violate a Christian world view--family friendly. The same holds true in my writing and storytelling. We who follow Christ can do no less.

Thank you.

Because of Christ