This is one of the first things I was told when I talked to people about writing Y’keta. I was told to keep it simple, make it move fast, and assume that your readers are stupid.
As an example I was given a few ‘teen’ books to read. They weren’t bad books, but if they had been meals, they would have come from the diet section of the menu. The lack of nuance and depth-HEAVENS Sandra! Don’t use such big words!-would have had me yawning and reaching for a ‘real’ book.
Young Adult and New Adult readers deserve better.
I think people underestimate the intelligence and interest of Young Adult and New Adult readers. The books I loved as a Young Adult were books that made you think something, or feel something, not just stories. I grew up on Tolkien, Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke and the tales they told stretched my mind, made me think of possibilities and worlds beyond high school and college. They had well thought-out characters doing amazing things, words and sentences that made you feel, and were written in worlds that engaged the imagination. These are the books that I went back to as a younger reader, these are the kind of books I want to write.
So, to the alpha reader who said “I was writing above my audience,” I am sorry, but I choose to believe that character, nuance and solid world-building are what my audience wants.
This is a sophisticated, at times even jaded generation they have grown up with the ‘real world’ plastered on their eyeballs. Every news station, iPod, and cell phone feeds them 24/7 reality. They know what the world is, they need to see what it can be. I hope to give them a good place to dream.