Hey Hey Everyone!

Thanks for stopping by the Alley!

Today I pose a question to YOU. We've talked some about the differences between YA and NA and Adult and NA. For those who partake in NA Lit Chat, you've discussed it also. I'm not going to get into many differences between those right now... in fact, I'm only going to talk and ask for your input regarding one difference: THE LOVE INTEREST (may be the hero, may not be etc).

Take a minute and think. When you were a teenager, who did you have a crush on? When you were 15, who did you drool over? Who made you walk into doors or blush? Think about that person/persons and what sort of traits he/she had. And if you are still a teenager, please join in. Tell us the traits you like.

Now...fast forward a little bit. You're in your twenties. Who are you crushing on? What traits do you find attractive or are you actively seeking out? Or, maybe you tried to avoid it. Maybe you're with the person you were with when you were a teenager. If so, were they the exact same as they were when they were a teen?

Moving on... now, as an "adult" (late 20's, 30's etc), think about the same above questions. Maybe you married your highschool sweetheart. If so, think about traits they had as a teenager versus now. Or maybe you're crushing on someone. Or your engaged. Or whatever. But think about that person and the traits they have. Or, what traits you like.

Are they the same? I'm sure for some people they are, but I doubt that for everyone. Or maybe some of the traits are the same, but they've expanded and incorporated other things.

My point is this is one of the differences (usually) in NA and YA and Adult. It may not be a huge difference, but I think it's there.

Sometimes our "taste" changes as we grow up. We start to look for "adult" traits. New things start to matter also.

For example:
You may see this in a YA novel: the girl is all about this guy with shaggy hair who plays the drums. Maybe he's kind of angsty and doesn't like to talk much. And he may be the hottest guy in the book. Adults all over may like him in this novel.
Would you see that in an adult book? Kind of. Some of that may be there. But if it was exactly the same-- would it still be hot? I'm asking you, readers. I mean, if this is an adult book and the MC you are totally relating to is 30, would a character who is essentially the same as a 16 yr. old still be as hot?

People change. That's part of growing up. So what's wrong if we want to incorporate that change into our writing and reading?

I'll give one more example:
Some of the traits I liked in guys in high-school carry over to now. But very few of them. As I got older, I started finding things like "ability to communicate effectively" "Intelligence (that wasn't high on my list in high-school, ok....don't judge...) "ability to hold a job" "being responsible" HOT and SEXY. Sure, I still liked some of the things I did in high-school. I still drool over the "bad boys" in books and movies... and to an extent, in real life.

Think of it like this... I thought Angel, from Buffy and Angel, was super hot when I was younger. And, I admit, I still do. But I also now find Agent Booth (played by the same guy who plays Angel) from Bones hot. And the two characters are pretty different (and I don't just mean the fangs and undead versus the no fangs and alive part).

I think NA books reflects these sort of things. We still get a smokin' love interest or hero but they aren't the same love interest/hero we'd get in YA, or even potentially adult. There is cross-over. There's always going to be cross-over between all 3.

So YOU tell us. How did your "taste" change as you grew up? Do you still have the exact same attractiveness for what you did in high-school? Has it expanded, evolved? Was it different in your 20's compared to teens?


Post a Comment

  1. You bet it changed! I liked the pretty boys in H.S. and the beginning of college, but by the time I was in my twenties, I came to realize that most of them are too high-maintenance, very vain, have a hard time caring for anyone but themselves, and - no matter how hot - if they weren't intelligent and couldn't challenge me intellectually, I got bored with them really quickly.

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  2. When I was 13-14, I remember telling my father I would marry a blond guy with blue eyes and silky hair ... I think I was infatuated with Leonardo DiCaprio back then LOL
    Like you pointed out, I was interested only on how cute or hot the guys looked ... their personality barely chimed in the decision. Today I think these "Leo" traits are too sweet and nothing like me. And I prefer some brains and other qualities, like responsibility and respect, etc.

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  3. My tastes haven't changed that much, lol. In High School I was all about the 'gentleman,' the guy who opens doors, asks permission to kiss you and all that jazz...but I never wanted to date a fellow teenager, I always liked older guys, because I felt high school boys weren't mature enough. ;P Really!

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  4. well said, girls! I get the intellectual challenge thing, Jaycee, totally! And Juliana, Leo was a good infatuation! Summer, I know what you mean about the age and mature thing. I rarely was interested in guys near my age.
    I think the love interest in NA novels tend to be more mature and have some of these other traits we discussed. Which I think impacts the relationships in general in NA books and is one reason I lean towards NA.

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  5. Loved this, LG! Let's see, as a young teen I had a crush on Alyssa Milano from Who's the Boss, and D.J. Tanner and Kimmy Gibbler from Full House.

    In college, it was probably various Sports Illustrated swimsuit models and the girls who were smarter than me in my psych classes (see - most of them).

    As a "mature" adult, I still think smart girls are hot (I married one!), and I may or may not have a tiny celeb crush on Kate Beckinsale.

    All kidding aside, your point is an excellent example of why we need stages in literature. It's hard to imagine keeping one frame of mind, or set of interests, for an entire lifetime. Unless it's a love of smart girls. ;-)

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  6. Thanks for the post! I like the parallel between Angel and Agent Booth ;-) At 15, I was in love with Robert Sean Leonard in The Dead Poets' Society... but it doesn't have the same effect on me in House. Go figure ;-)

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    1. I think that's totally normal. Thanks for commenting and reading! I really appreciate it!

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  7. Grr! I had a long, thought-out comment all typed up... and Firefox crashed. Here's the gist:

    - As a teen, I crushed on the attractive/emotionally unavailable types.
    - As an adult, I've developed some kind of cave instinct. Would he be a good provider? A good protector? Does he look good in a loin cloth? (The last part is optional. *Grins*)

    Anyway, great post! Very thought-provoking. :)

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    1. Bahaha, oh Carrie, I understand this cave instinct. I've been hit with it too. Though...maybe not the loin cloth part...

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  8. Ah, how I love this post! And yes, I totally agree what kind of men we love totally changes. Although, there are some features I always enjoy in YA, NA or Adult - hot sexy and possesive!

    But, especially the smart and clever ones, the ones that clearly have a decent amount of intelligence is something that works much better in NA and Adult. In YA, those are often the Geeky studious types... But in NA? A hot College TA (think Easy) is just as sexy!

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    1. Yes, Easy! Landon is Easy is fantastic!!!!
      Thanks for reading and commenting! I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I was a little worried that it wasn't making any sense...

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    2. hit enter too soon. Oops. Anyway, I was a little worried that it wasn't making sense when I was writing it. So I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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  9. When I was 16/17 there was one guy who I've used as the "gold standard" ever since, comparing all the adult men I've dated to him in regards to looks, personality, intelligence, everything. I realize this is kind of pathetic, but it's also helpful. Before I met him I didn't really know what I wanted in a guy, and ever since, every time I've 'given a chance' to a dude that was totally different, it didn't turn out well...

    I've also noticed that the things men look for in women change drastically as they grow up. In high school no guys really seemed to care if a girl could cook, but as an adult it seems like that's more important to some men than sex!

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    1. I think that is great that you figured out what you wanted at that age! thanks for reading!
      and I am so glad my hubs cooks.... lol, or I'd be in trouble

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  10. In high school I crushed on the hot bad-boy type. Now, I still like bad boys. The funny thing about that is, in high school there was this boy that was pretty much in love with me, but I could only see him as a friend--mostly because I was dating someone else, but also because he just seemed like the friend type. He was kinda the bad-boy skater type but was also really sweet.

    Then, a few years out of highschool, I connected with him on myspace (I know, right?). We decided to meet up at a concert that my friends were playing. When he walked in, he went from friend-zone to gotta-have-him-zone. He was still the same sweet yet rowdy guy, but he was grown up. He was now a man, not a boy. We have now been married for 3 1/2 years and have two wonderful boys.

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    1. awww, that's sweet, Kayla! I think that probably happens often for women, where old friends move out of that friend stage as we mature.

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  11. In high school I was the idiot girl who always dated my guy friends and then realized what a mistake that was two months later. I tended to crush on the smoldering and intense guys whereas now as a 28 year old, I tend to run from those types. Too much drama. Some things are the same as in high school. A big attractor for me is sense of humor and it was back then too. But maturity, responsibility, drive/ambition, and lack of drama count for a lot more than they did then.

    On a fictional note, I ran into this with one of my MCs. She has her childhood sweetheart but I end up introducing another love interest down the road. It's definitely a "damn, I wrote myself into a love triangle corner" type situation, but the new love interest represents the more mature side of her and all of the growth you see from the time she is introduced to the time he is introduced. She'll eventually have to make that decision as to what she wants now: the same thing she did in high school, or what she is experiencing as a new adult?

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