C. A. Pack

Musings & Brainstorms & Rants

October 2014

Autocomplete Songwriting

I’m a writer, and proud of it, so I was skeptical when I heard that a performer name Jonathan Mann had “written” a song using predictive word search in Apple’s IOS 8.

Does the song make sense? Not exactly, but it’s kind of catchy. And watching a finger tap on the words on the screen for four minutes is kind of mesmerizing. Take a look:

OMG I'm Writing YANA

OMG I’m writing YANA.


I just read a guest post on literary agent Jill Corcoran’s blog written by Editor & Author of 
Writing New Adult Fiction, Deborah Halverson. It describes the difference between new adult (NA) and young adult (YA) fiction. The author defines the difference as sensibilities. I believe I’ve blogged before how YA has a teenage protagonist and that NA skews older. However, NA can also have a teen protagonist—an older teen protagonist—who may be 18 or 19 (and up to 24) years old. NA is for older teens who may have graduated high school and are now in college or their first job. They’re no longer minors and are responsible for their lives. So—more than sensibilities—it’s about responsibilities.

In the
Library of Illumination series, Johanna Charette (17) starts a new career and is responsible for her own life. She’s my female protagonist, and while she’s younger than expected, she definitely falls in the new adult category. On the other hand, Jackson Roth (16) is still in high school and lives at home with his mother, brother and sister. He’s definitely a young adult character.

This means I’m writing hybrid young adult-new adult, or YANA. My reader demographic has just increased from 14 – 18, to 14 – 24. On the surface, it sounds great, but there’s a lot to be said for a narrow demographic. I don’t feel comfortable including expletives in a book for young adults (even though many young adults use them), or sexual scenes (even though in the words of my then-15 year old nephews, the three things they thought about most were sex, X-box, and girls). It’s about setting an example for young people that
their parents are comfortable with. But I don’t have those same concerns writing for a new adult audience. Their tender sensibilities have already been colored by the realities of the world around them. They can take the spice.

My characters are in a series, so in another year or so, my protagonists will both segue firmly into new adult territory. Will it change the way I write? Perhaps. The attraction between them will grow, and so will their vocabulary. But gratuitous sex and explicit language are not my usual M.O. so the changes may be subtle. For now, my YANA will be kinder and gentler, and the violence of war will continue to be more general and less explicit. YA.

But, I can’t promise it will always stay that way. NA.