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Posts Tagged ‘young adults’

sunita coverMy thanks to Tom Lichtenberg and his brilliantly witty blog, Pigeon Weather Productions for encouraging me to have another look at Wattpad. I’ve had some stories on there for a while that have failed to gain any traction at all, so I’ve always been reluctant to endorse it as a vehicle for independent writing, at least as wholeheartedly as I’ve endorsed Feedbooks and Smashwords in the past. But I decided to have another try with a new story, or rather an old story from my back burner. It’s a hot darn smouldering psychic thriller, with one hot darn smouldering heroine, the titular Sunita. Am I selling it to you? This story doesn’t sound like me at all, which is perhaps why I like it so much.

Tom was suggesting in his piece that actually the thing to do with Wattpad is not to post a complete novel on there, not all at once anyway, but to do it piecemeal, a chapter at a time, like a work in progress and to tease the readers out into wanting more. So that’s what I’ve done and we’ll see how we go from here. I plan on posting roughly a chapter per week, and maybe abandon it if we don’t get any bites by the time I run out of material.

Actually, a part of me is hoping this one doesn’t gain any traction because it currently hangs on a conundrum, about 20,000 words in. and I’ve no idea how to finish it which, as I recall, is why it went on the back burner in the first place. Maybe a few Wattpad bites will give the characters the impetus to get their heads together and come up with a way forward.

At the moment, I’m still of the opinion that Wattpad is for kids, or at best young adults and that mature writers, dealing with middle aged characters will struggle to find anyone of their own kind on there. To whit, I’ve chosen my celebrity cast list, a quirk known only to Wattpad, and find all the leads for my story are in their forties. There’s not a lot of kissing, which is just as well because in my experience young adults find the concept of middle aged kissing disgusting. But it’s a stunningly attractive cast. I mean, who can argue with Shobna Gulati, Martin Freeman, and Jude Law? I hasten to add that the fact Shobna also played a character called Sunita in a well known TV soap is purely coincidental. As far as I know, not being a fan of said soap, that particular Sunita wasn’t endowed with psychic powers, and couldn’t dematerialise at will.

In short, as usual, my story misses all the bases, ticks none of the boxes, and barks up all the wrong trees, but that’s no reason not to like it! While the kids are busy trying to behave like what they think adults should behave like, some of us adults are these days trying to find a way back to being the way we think we should have been as kids!

Kick back, think “fun” and don’t take anything seriously.

What are you waiting for?

 Go get it!

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While I was away on holiday last week a man died. He was out on his motorcycle, enjoying the air of a warm sunny morning, riding along quiet country lanes. He rounded a bend and struck a deer. There was nothing he could do. It was a million to one chance, shocking and upsetting for those who witnessed it and a terrible loss for the man’s family. But motorbikes are dangerous. When we ride them, we accept the risk in exchange for the sheer exhilaration of the experience. They’re such damned good fun, and the bigger the bike the better. This is not to lessen the tragedy of that incident of course.

Then, on my return home, I picked up the news of two deaths as a direct result of the use of “social media” which seems to be increasingly lethal – as lethal as motorcycling these days. The victims were young adults who took their own lives. In one instance the perpetrators were other young adults writing vile comments and hiding behind what they believed to be the anonymity of the internet, in the other it was criminals blackmailing a youth they’d lured into an online video indiscretion. This isn’t the first time it’s happened and it won’t be the last. Indeed the online world seems to engender at times a kind of “Lord of the Flies” savagery amongst our progeny. As a father of young adults I found the news particularly upsetting; two youngsters with the world ahead of them and a lifetime of potential for love, laughter and the sheer exuberance of life, persuaded that life was unbearable, persuaded that the on-line world by which they judged their own self worth, judged them to be of no worth at all.

I look up from my computer screen and I see a green lawn, flowers in a late-season riot of colour and above, a deep blue sky streaked with white cirrus. Leaves are in motion on distant trees, stirred by a summer breeze. A wind chime tinkles. It’s beautiful, gives me great joy – more joy than a million likes on my blog will ever do. I have no difficulty identifying it as the real world, as real life, no difficulty recognising that what goes on out there is where I really am, and that what goes on in here – while allowing me to give vent to the voices in my head – is not much of anything at all really, and certainly not worth pinning the whole of my self worth on. And if I have to die, then better by far a quiet country lane and a motorbike at full throttle than a spiteful troll lying in wait among my comments with a thoughtlessly sharp tongue and a twisted belief in his own grotesquely egotistical wit.

Social media is not real life. It sounds obvious, doesn’t it? Even clichéd, but I think adults are seriously underestimating the degree to which social media is becoming real life for our youngsters, and I don’t know where that’s taking us or what safety measures we need to implement to safeguard those who can be so deeply wounded by the vindictive, criminal or just plain thoughtless tongues of others that they will think of taking their own lives. I feel desperately sorry for the loss of ones so young and vulnerable, also ashamed to be a part of a media that seems incapable of policing the occasionally lethal savagery it also spawns.

So, join with me. Close down your machines. Do it now. Switch off your ‘phone. Put it in a drawer. Take a walk without it – seriously. Spend an hour in the real world – no dammit, take the whole day. Reconnect and be present in it.

There, remember what it feels like?

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