Author Lauren Blakely (AKA Daisy Whitney) discusses the challenges writers face when balancing writing for more than one audience. Her latest romance release, "One More Night," is now available.
Just as kids have a separate compartment for dessert that isn’t impacted whatsoever by the meal compartment, the same may be true for writers in different genres.
Case in point: I write for middle schoolers, teens and adults, and part of that job entails using those separate drawers every day, and sometimes with every word. For instance, some words go in the teen-only drawer, and some belong in the adult-only one, and I don’t just mean the dirty words.
Take “boyfriend” or “girlfriend.” I learned from the readers of my adult romance that they don’t want to hear a romantic interest referred to as a boyfriend or girlfriend, whereas those terms are perfectly acceptable and quite the norm in teen lit. In sexy adult romance, the love interest is a “lover.” Maybe a writer can get away with “significant other,” sometimes she can use “partner,” and occasionally descriptive terms like “the woman he wanted always” play well. But when I used “boyfriend” in my third adult romance, Trophy Husband, readers told me the term felt too high school.
Oops. I had forgotten to use the separate compartment for that word in that book.
Now, with five novels for teens, one more middle schoolers, and more then a dozen novels for adults under my belt, I am better able to balance the genres cleanly and easily.
That balance extends beyond words, and encompasses more than the presence or absence of sex on the pages. Balance comes too in knowing when to tap certain emotions. The teenage experience can be quite intense with everything happening for the first time - first love, first dance, first kiss. On the flip side, many of my adult romance novels, such as Burn for Me, depict characters who have - naturally - more experience at life, love, work and so on. The emotions of jealousy, pain, love, lust, happiness, and joy are colored by the years. In Burn For Me, the hero and heroine have a flirty, playful banter, but it’s an adult banter that reflects how two 28-year-olds might talk, whereas the leads in my teen novel Starry Nights flirt in a more innocent and youthful fashion.
Writing in different genres uses different muscles. I will often dip in and out of working on a novel for teens and a novel for adults in the same week and sometimes in the same day. The process, I suppose, is not much different than exercise. Some days you do cardio, some days you lift weights, and some days you do both.
However, one element remains consistent throughout my novels and requires little balance – dogs. Nearly all my books feature a dog. Dogs don’t need different terms, or require different interactions, because dogs break down all boundaries and barriers. Dogs are universal. For the rare reader who might read across my books, she might notice the dog in my middle grade novel Ben Fox: Squirrel Zombie Specialist at Your Service is the same dog in my YA novel When You Were Here is the same dog in my new adult romance Every Second With You. The dog is my border collie mix making her appearance on page.
Make no bones about it - a dog is a dog is a dog.
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