A Current Endeavor – They Have to Grow Up?

June 13, 2013 at 10:40 pm (Fervor, Links, Sam, writing) (, , , , , , , , )

I never intended my Fervor series to be in any way YA typical. It wasn’t meant to be YA at all, with more of a “Lord of the Flies” vibe. But I also wrote it without any plans to write anything beyond the initial book, and by the end of Fervor #1 my protagonist, Sam, was thirteen. He hadn’t quite reached puberty, hovering on the edge. He had no interest in girls – yet, but that was about to change. I couldn’t ignore the fact that as I kept writing a second, third, fourth and now fifth book, and Sam went from thirteen to fourteen, now nearing fifteen, he would start having more mature responses. I have nine books planned in total, so there will be room for much more.

With Sam, however, things are much more complicated than with an ordinary teenager. Sam had never lived a conventional life. He is unnaturally intelligent, gifted in ways the average person would find hard to imagine. He had spent all of his life either being studied or on the run, and had a hard time identifying with anyone other than his direct peers. Throw telepathy into the mix and what will happen when his hormones and emotions start going a little crazy?

I did find a few ways of introducing some of the complications being Connected might create for a young adult into the Fervor series, without putting Sam through the works first. I guess I had to prepare myself for what would be coming. I also burdened him with a typical boyhood crush – choosing an older girl who would prove to be beyond his reach. Limit the availability of girls his age (who aren’t blood kin) and I could put things off a little more. But that wouldn’t last.

So now I have to let him tackle the real threat of romance, without sinking into the usual YA love triangles and melodrama (not that what he does have to deal with is in any way simple). I’m trying to ease him into it. He is clever and pragmatic and his mind is far more mature than his body or his psyche. That actually makes things more awkward and uncomfortable, not just for him, but for me.

As a parent I can tell you that watching your kids get to this stage in life is a real challenge, but apparently it can work that way for a writer and their characters too. Just like your kids, you can’t stop this from happening (aside from offing that fictional character altogether.) I guess I’m just going to have to grit my teeth and bear it. Hopefully I can nudge Sam toward making the best choices, whatever those will happen to be for him.

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