Thursday, April 4, 2013
Inspired Thoughts: Parents In YA
Last week, as part of my day job, I bought a couple of early 19th century blanket boxes.
One had initials created out of brass tacks on the front of it and a note inside which indicated what town it had originally come from—which matched what we’d been verbally told. Research revealed the name of a person who matched the location and time period. The thing is--old furniture styles didn’t change as rapidly in rural areas like Vermont as they did in more populated and style conscious locations. This box might have been made from the late 18th century to anytime in the first half of the 19th century, though the hardware indicates it’s more likely from the earlier time.
So here’s the story I found when I researched. Children Left Behind Honestly, I doubt this family owned the box. Even if they did, it would be impossible to prove. But the story did remind me of writing and specifically the issue of absent parents in young adult stories.
Right now, I’m working on two YA manuscripts. In the first story, the parents are the main plot thread. Without them, the story wouldn’t exist. My other project is different. The parents are absent physically. However this absence and the reason for it (not death) form a big slice of my main character’s motivation and personality. Again, the parents are vital to the story.
Personally--present or absent--I have a hard time seeing how parents can’t be taken into account in YA stories. And, perhaps, I get a bit annoyed when I hear people say that absent parents are an overused devise. Perhaps it’s more matter of if the writer uses that absence as a character forming devise or simply as an excuse to give the teen characters more freedom. What do you think?
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