First a little backstory (yay! the dreaded info dump!). I submitted part of my story to an online critique group anonymously and some of the comments have me thinking. There were a lot of stupid mistakes on my part that I'm not sure how I missed, but some of the other comments were deeper than just SPaG (Spelling, Punctuation, & Grammar) errors.
The first issue that got me thinking, people seemed to agree that my voice is very YA. That's pretty cool as most of my story ideas are definitely YA, except Instinct. To be honest, I'm not sure how to classify this story. Right now my main character, Casey, is 21 and attending the police academy. I know that due to her age, this would be a tough sale as a YA, even though I think that the story itself could go either way, YA or adult.
On the same note as the last comment, I've had several people ask if I couldn't just change Casey's age to maybe 18. Before, I would always say, "No, it wouldn't work with the story or the series..." but now, I'm not so sure. I originally chose Casey's age based off of the requirements for the real Boston Police Academy, minimum age of 21 and have lived in Boston for 1 year (I wanted the story to be as believable as possible).
But, I am writing fiction, aren't I? Would it be horrible if the academy in my story had a minimum age requirement of say... 18? I'm taking liberties on the timing and content of her classes and training, why shouldn't I fudge the admissions requirements while I'm at it? I'm taking liberties with the entire city of Boston since I've never actually been there. I don't want to pull people out of the story who have been a part of the police academy, but I need to do what's best for my story at the same time, you know?... [Head Spinning Moment]
The more I thought about changing her age, the more the story seemed to make sense. I had found a couple of plot holes and other problems and this change would fix most of them.
- Why would her father, all of a sudden, insist that she have a roommate if she's been living in Boston for 3 years? She couldn't have been living with Heather the whole time or their dynamics wouldn't be believable. Her having a different roommate before doesn't make much sense either though, it's very obvious that Heather is her first roommate.
- What actually released her gift? If her turning 18 triggered it, that would make sense.
- Why is she so anti-social to begin with and why, in her three years living in Boston, did she never try to change this on her own? Being 18 and fresh out of high school would work with her backstory as to why she's not over her past enough to make the changes on her own.
- Why is she so emotional and having other specific problems? Still a teenager, yet expected to act like an adult... that would definitely be believable.
- And a few others...
Well, I'd have to alter one of her love interests too... maybe make him a Ph.D. student instead of a young associate/assistant professor (can't remember which is the correct term off the top of my head, but it's in my notes). That would work well too, make him a TA... would explain why he doesn't really have his own office...
But anywho... If I can get past the whole, "I want my story to be as accurate as possible, except for the paranormal aspects" (which, you never know, they could be true...) then, I think it would really work well. I'm doing rewrites now anyway, so this would be the best time to implement these changes...
But my questions for you, my dear readers.
- Would an age change in this case be believable? Would you believe a story where an 18 year old was a police cadet?
- Is 18 still too old for a YA story? I can think of several YA books that had characters with similar ages, but they were still in high school and Casey has graduated.
Well, I'm off to write up notes on these potential changes and maybe skim through the chapters and see if there's any major issues with her being 18 that I'm forgetting.
So, until I blog again...
Talk 2ya later...