Monday, September 14, 2009

It's Blog Chain Time Again!!!

The fabulous Kate started our current topic - Rule Breaking - by asking:
"What writing rules/advice - whether it was a matter of cannot or will not - have you broken?"

Please check out the astounding Shaun's blog (who posted before me) and the stupendous Rebecca's blog (whose post will follow mine).

As you can already tell, one of my favorite rules to break is that I love adjectives. But I won't go into great detail because that blog has already been posted on the chain. I encourage you to start with Kate's original post and read through the entire chain because this has really been a great topic - one I'm not going to address.


I know, right? My rule breaking is going to be not following the rules of the blog chain.

"Bad, Cole! Bad! No cookie for you!!!"

I'm only doing this because the posts before me have been so fabulous (there's that adjective again - hee) that I felt I didn't have any more to add on the subject.

Instead, I'm going to tell you about a writing rule that I WON'T break. Now, this isn't a writing rule per say, but rather my own personal rule: My main characters will not drink or use drugs.

That's not to say that they won't be around it. It's high school after all and it would be unrealistic if I didn't include situations that reflected the pressures of an average teenager's life. In fact, in my second book, my poor MC is on a speed boat surrounded by her drunk and stoned peers when the driver of the boat decides to race a rival's boat. It was important for me to show the negative role the drugs and alcohol played in the events that followed.

I can't say that when I was in high school I didn't experiment. I wish I could say that, though. So please don't think I'm all self-righteous or anything - that's not my intention at all. I've just read far too many YA books where the characters drink and smoke and it's portrayed in a positive light. When I became a mother I was filled with a sense of responsibility. As a writer for young adults, it's my job to give them realistic characters, that while not perfect, teach my readers that it's okay to say "No".

It's my own personal rule. How about you, YA authors? Do feel responsible for the actions of your characters?

Okay, sorry that I veered so off topic. I know some of you were really hoping for some rules. So, without further adieu, here is a video with rules that I live by. Enjoy :)


  1. I think that is an AWESOME rule not to break! Great post. And so important for kids nowadays.

  2. Actually, this is a really interesting way to answer the question. I like how you dealt with this. I also really admire your choice to do that with your MCs. Not only is it responsible (being a parent of a 16 year old myself, I completely understand), but I think it's not completely unrealistic either that a MC in a YA would choose not to drink or use drugs. It happens all the time, and we don't see it "glorified" as much as maybe we should. Really nice post!

  3. Kudos to you for your decision!

  4. I totally appreciate your choice with this. I think it's realistic to have MC's that don't use. I didn't do the majority of my "experimenting" until well after HS. And I rarely drank. Most of my friends were the same way.

    Awesome post you rulebreaker you!

  5. As the wife of a recovering alcoholic and a mother who fears the combination of teen peer pressure and her children's genetic predisposition toward alcoholism, I thank you so much for creating characters with such integrity.

    One never knows how deeply rooted the use of alcohol is in our society -- we party with it, we socialize with it, many even worship with it -- until they shut it out of their life.

    Applause applause and yay for you!

  6. I agree--you rock, Cole :). I never did drugs or drank in high school, but I knew plenty of people who did both. It's a very real situation to be in, and realistic to say that some kids abstain. And it's okay.


  7. Great post and not at all off topic!! I think that it's important to impart a sense of morality to your readers. Especially in this day and age when the choices that kids face become harder and harder.

  8. What a fantastic rule to keep. I do think there's so many books that are trying to push to the very edge of things, mostly without showing consequences. I'm okay with some things as long as they're done in a way that shows the long-term and short-term consequences of the choice.

    Kudos to you, Cole!

  9. Great post Cole! As a YA author, I totally feel responsible for the actions of my characters. And while my characters do face some pretty difficulty trials, I try very hard to deal with it in a realistic and authentic way.

  10. Wow, that is a really cool rule to make. I definitely think that there is a responsibility in YA to not glamorize drugs and drinking, and it is great that you decided to take that personal stand in your own writing.

  11. You have a good rule. If I were in HS now and reading books about kids doing drugs and alcohol, I'd be really upset with them.

  12. It's a fabulous rule ot have. I can't say that it's one I follow (often it's in a character's past but not something they currently do), but your decision is one I applaud.