Wednesday, February 20, 2013

How Much Is Too Much?

With Valentine's Day last week, I started thinking about love, which in turn got me thinking about love in books? More precisely, I started to contemplate the level of graphicness (is that a word?) a YA book can show. Which then got me thinking... How much is too much in YA?

I've read a lot of books, granted probably not as many in YA as I should since I'm writing in that genre, but there are varying degrees of how risque a book is.

Take for example the well known books, The Twilight Series. In this series Stephanie Meyer gives us kissing and a little more, but everything else is left to the imagination. As the series goes on she gets a little more graphic, but for the most part there are no real 'intense' scenes.

A different series, also about vampires, has very graphic scenes. This series is also labeled as YA, but goes into detailed description as to whats happening, leaving nothing to the imagination.

Which makes me question... which is better? Leaving things to the imagination, so the person reading the book can vision what they know or to spell it out?

So, what do you think? Leave it to the imagination? Or bare it all?


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11 comments:

DL Hammons said...

My own opinion...less is more, especially in the YA arena. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I don't know about young adult, but less is more for me in any genre. I'm certainly not going past kissing in my books!

Sabrina said...

Entirely depends on the reader. YA = Young Adult = (Young) Adult. Adult, so some graphic scenes wouldn't be inappropriate. Some people like it, some people don't. All depends on the audience you're writing for.

Cassie Mae said...

As a reader, I'm okay with either as long as the scenes don't read like a how to manual. If the character is describing how he/she feels more than the actual mechanics of things, then I'm like, yeah, that's okay.

As an author, I realized that you're going to get heat from either side no matter what you do. I got two reviews in the same day one right after the other that said I was too graphic, followed by I wasn't graphic enough. So as a writer, I go with what is appropriate for the characters.

Vicki Orians said...

I love YA, so much so that I almost solely read YA. And you're right - there is a big difference in the level of graphicness of the romance scenes. I know there are some that are specifically labeled Mature YA, so obviously you're getting more when you read those books.

But for regular YA, I like to blush a little when I read the romance scenes. And like Cassie Mae said, a lot of it has to do with how he/she feels versus the mechanics of things. But if I'm being honest, I do like a book that pushes it - though there is a reason I choose to read YA, and it's because I want the curtain to close before it goes past kissing and wandering hands.

It's a hard line to find, that's for sure!

Vicki Orians said...

I will say this - If you're going to put a hot and heavy scene in, leave it at just one. Build up to it through the less graphic scenes, because more than one will make it feel like overkill.

T. Drecker said...

I'm a less is more person. I personally enjoy the uncertain tension more than the graphic acts. For me, this often kills the love story in the end.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Personally, I like leaving a lot to imagination and focusing more on the overall plot with the romance being a subplot. But I'm not a romance reader.

Suzi said...

I have to agree with most of the people above. But 'less is more' to me may mean a totally different thing than to someone else.

I can't think of any YA story where I got offended though. Or thought it was way out of line. I'm sure they're out there, I just haven't read them.

I think the build-up is more important. If you get the build-up right, we know what's gonna happen after that.

Jenny S. Morris said...

This is a hard thing to balance. My latest book is YA Contemp Romance. Which I haven't done when the romance is the only focus of the story. Every time I wrote a kissing scene, I'd start out more into the mechanics of things but go back rewrite it with the emotional aspect of it instead. As a YA writer I don't plan on anything more than kissing. But as a reader I'm not offended if it's more graphic. The MOST important thing for me is the emotional connection between the characters.

Kelley Lynn said...

I usually have the issue of not having enough romance, of stringing the reader along and making them wait. Is that right? I don't know :)