I’m starting a new project, a New Adult paranormal horror, I think. I’m still wavering between YA and NA. According to JJ at St. Martin’s, New Adult “is about young adulthood, when you are an adult but have not established your life as one (career, family, what-have-you).’ I also like Kristan Hoffman’s definition of New Adult: ‘There’s a period of time where adulthood feels like a new pair of shoes. The expectations of independence and self-sufficiency are still new, still being broken in. New Adults are the people who have just begun to walk in those shoes; New Adult fiction is about their blisters and aches.’
For me, this category is about young people struggling to figure out how to become responsible adults. New adults have the freedom to drive wherever they want, vote however they want, drink as much as they want. This is a life stage where people have to rely on self-motivation to do what needs to be done so they can do what they want to do. It’s learning to set boundaries and suffering through the consequences when they’re too lenient.
Initially, I thought ‘Project Z’ would be a YA project, but the Main Character keeps showing me snippets of her in college. Her mindset and behavior also lean more toward a ‘twenty something’ than a teen. I’m not sure whether her strong sense of independence stems from her situation or her age. She is New Adult, against my wishes.
Currently, a limited number of publishing houses accept this category, which leaves me wondering if I’m doing myself a disservice if I let my character have her way? I pretend like it’s a question when we all know what’s gonna happen. Ivy will get her way. She doesn’t care about the market.
Do your characters challenge your wishes? How do you handle it? Do you make them comply? Let them have their way?