Guest Fest: Margaret Fieland Talks Writing Same-Sex Sexuality in YA SciFi

Margaret FielandIn a lot of ways, writing about violence is far more acceptable than writing about sex, even though, IMO, sex is at least as important a subject as violence.

We all know young adults — some, at least — are having sex. But what is appropriate in a novel? How far do your characters go, and how far do you, the writer, go in describing it? What are you, as a reader, comfortable reading about?

 

Every plot, character, and writer are different. What might bother me might not bother you, and vice versa. In one of the novels I’m working on now, an adult sci-fi, the main character becomes involved in what turns out to be a four-way relationship. In the YA I’m working on, my main character is gay and develops an attraction to another boy a couple of years older. They kiss — the first for both — and I describe it. Later in the novel, I imply they do more, but it takes place off-stage. The kiss is a big deal, a turning point for my main character in terms of his feelings about himself, and thus it was important for me to describe. What is important about the other is the attitude of the adults to what is happening, and not whatever the boys are doing (or not). If I had written a different novel, it might have turned out that the activity was important. Would I have described it? Given my druthers, I’d rather not write about 14-year olds doing anything more than kissing. Would I, if it were important to the plot? Yes, I would.

relocated 200x300
Two boys kissing might make some readers squirm, but making my readers comfortable is not my aim. I want to entertain and enlighten, perhaps even make them think. If they twist a bit in their chairs in the process, that’s all right with me.

Experience has proved my own predictions wrong too many times for me to prognosticate about what I might write about down the road, but I love to know what y’all think about this. If you’re a reader, what are you/are you not comfortable reading about? If you’re a writer, what will you write about? Do you have any hard and fast rules? Anything you won’t read? If you’re a parent, do you censor your kids’ reading? If not, are you willing to answer their questions?

My parents let me read whatever I liked. One of the books I picked around age twelve or thirteen was “The World Of Suzy Wong.” The subject matter was way over my head, and as a result, my father had to explain that “sleeping with” someone involved more than sharing a bed.

Margaret Fieland lives and writes in the suburbs west of Boston, MA. Her latest book is “Relocated,” a tween/YA sci-fi novel. http://tinyurl.com/MuseRelocated. You can find her on her website, http://www.margaretfieland.com/ or on http://poetic-muselings.net/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *