Welcome to day four of the #ShadowShifts Blog Tour.
I met Jennifer in 2015. We connected after I applied to her ad for bloggers to read, review and participate in her Newvember blog tour. I was intrigued by her contemporary women’s fiction. Newvember was funny, entertaining, modern and sexy.
With the Shadow Shifts I was introduced to a whole new Jennifer Bogart. The YA Fantasy series revealed a completely different writing style. I invited Jennifer to share how she felt exploring a new genre and the differences in writing contemporary women’s fiction and writing YA fantasy.
Writing For Kids vs Adults by J.M. Bogart
Writing for the younger end of the Young
Adult category wasn’t something I ever intended to so. I love teenagers; they
have a decidedly unique energy and intelligence. Their individuality,
independence, and developing minds provide so much fodder for writing, but it’s
complicated, and I had never thought it was a place my writing would take me.
Primarily, I write contemporary women’s
fiction. It’s fun, it’s largely uncensored, and I already know the rules of
engagement. Making the switch to young adult fantasy required a lot more
thought and research. Lucky for me, my own children and their friends have been
endlessly patient and forthcoming, making the process a bit easier.
One thing I don’t do is “dummy down” the
writing. Teens are smart—so smart, in fact, there are times I feel out of my
depth during conversations. They process information differently: their
prejudices are fewer, their life-experiences are purer, and their emotions are
still developing. This means writing for them requires more care, not
necessarily more censorship. Since the Liminal Series is also suitable for
upper middle grade readers, I’m careful about vocabulary, but mature themes
still run through the books.
The writing needs to be thought-provoking
and relatable, with enough action and intrigue to hold the attention, but not
so overwhelming that the plot becomes convoluted and too difficult to follow. For
me, writing for this age group is slow-going since information has to be
disseminated in a way that makes sense and is memorable without becoming
repetitious. Above all else, it needs to be engaging. I’m a firm believer that
if a book isn’t intelligently written, teens will put it down. They need more
than action and intrigue; they need books that question morals, integrity,
religion, and life choices. They need books that make them think rather than
books that think for them.
My experience of writing for adults is a
bit more relaxed. I live in that world, and it’s rare that I flounder for words
to describe events or actions. When writing for adults, I assume they’re done
questioning the world and just want to settle in for relaxation and
entertainment. While I never write with the intent to teach, I think that life
lessons still shine through. They inherently exist in all books, even ones
written with pure entertainment and silliness in mind. So when I write for
younger audiences, I think it’s important to be aware of any messages I might
be sending. Whereas with adults, I’m less concerned about what kind of bias I
might be passing on.
I know there’s a tremendous style
difference between Newvember and Shadow Shifts, and it’s as much to do
with the audience as it is the genre. Writing for a niche market, rather than
for the masses, allows for a certain leniency in creativity. Newvember was written as a NaNoWriMo
project, quickly and efficiently; its only intent was to entertain myself and
maybe a few friends. Shadow Shifts, while also written as part of the 30 day
novel-writing challenge, draws from my inner child and incorporates a part of
my writer’s soul. It contains a poetic artistry I would never think to add to
my contemporary novels.
Regardless of the genre or audience, I
think writers naturally create unique voices for each individual work. The next
young adult book I write, outside of the Liminal Series, will undoubtedly have
an entirely different flow, sound, and feel to it.
When Bean fails to secure Nadia’s human
magic, she puts her entire race at risk. Liminals fade as fast as
Shadow-monsters emerge, creating a disturbing imbalance between light and dark.
Liminals aren’t the only creatures affected by things that go bump in the night…
Knowing the ravenous appetites of the
Shadow-monsters will grow out of control, Bean, Tissa, Pritt, and Ping are
forced to deal directly with the dire situation. Armed with the ancient secrets
of their people, they band together to destroy their enemies and return balance
to their magical realm.
The existence of all things Liminal depends
on their success.
Reader, writer, editor, explorer, dreamer… Jennifer
Bogart is having a love affair with words.
Author of three women’s fiction novels (Newvember, Reflections, and Money, Masks
& Madness), two romantic short stories (Under the Stars and Seven
Seconds), one serialized novel (Sunny
with a Twist of Olive), and one YA fantasy (Liminal Lights published by Morning Rain Publishing), she can’t
stop writing any more than she can stop breathing. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and her blog.
Shadow Shifts Giveaway
Be sure to check out tomorrow’s blog tour stop, Bemused Bookworm.