For a decade or so, I’ve written what is likely considered YA fiction. My protagonists are typically teenagers or young adults, there’s very little swearing, all sex happens off screen, and it’s not particularly gory. Obviously, there’s more to YA than just tidy text… themes and genre play a role. But, through a fuzzy lens, my books are easily mistaken (or accepted as) Young Adult fiction.
In an effort to branch out and switch things up, my upcoming novel Floating Point will NOT be YA fic. I feel teenagers could easily read it without being warped and twisted; I remember being a teenager and I read far worse than what I have planned here. But, it will deliberately not be aimed in that direction.
I’m working by a few self-selected rules for handling mature content in Floating Point…
SWEARING: Characters will swear, up to and including some of the worst abusive language imaginable. This is a story about the dark side of the information age, and in order to represent that, I have to be true to the language used online. However, I’m not aiming to be the next Tarantino. Like any word choice, swearing is a tool — exactly how much a character swears and when they choose to swear will speak to who they are and what values they hold. For example, a protagonist may reserve choice words for moments of heavy emphasis, to bring their point across; an antagonist who swears freely may be depicted as a hateful loose cannon.
SEXUAL CONTENT: Characters will engage in sexual activity, with limited graphic content. Typically this will be “off screen” as I’m not interested in writing straight out 50 Shades of Porn, although if it occurs on screen, it’ll be handled carefully. Again, how a character views sex will be a tool to explore their values. There’ll be sex-positive and highly active characters (much like Vivi from City of Angles), repressed characters, and simply characters who don’t particularly care one way or another and it doesn’t factor into their lives.
VIOLENCE: This is one area where I will be quite limited, but that’s more due to the digital nature of Netwerk. Blood and guts simply don’t play a role outside of decorative splatter inside games. Odds are I’ll maintain my usual level here, where injury and death can and will happen, and horrifying violence is a factor even if “gore porn” isn’t the order of the day. As always, it’s a tool for plot progress, value expression, and character exploration.
I leave it up to individual readers to decide how “mature” they are. The recommended level is 18, if only to avoid someone suing me for corrupting a minor, but I’m not validating your ID at the door. Caveat reador.
Floating Point will begin on November 21st… but you can view advanced releases by joining my Patreon. Already, the first week’s content is available to patrons. One way or another, it’s coming your way; you have been warned. Netwerk awaits…