Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Reading 'adult' books as a kid...

A few weeks ago I stumbled across a couple of articles on XOJane that I've been wanting to share for awhile. However, as soon as Wednesday rolls around I forget them, only to recall a few days later 'hey, there were those articles and I didn't share them. I really need to do that next time!'. Rinse and repeat.

Well, I finally remembered today, so here they are!

Both struck a chord with me because when I was a kid I was a pretty voracious reader. Also I recognized a lot of the books mentioned in the articles and the comments. I remember reading a lot of books in late elementary school and Jr High that were meant for adults. A lot. Sometimes I understood them. Sometimes I didn't. Sometimes I finished them. Sometimes I got bored and moved on.

For awhile, my Mom didn't really police what I was reading - she was just thrilled that I liked to read and would happily buy me whatever I wanted. I remember reading Jurassic Park as a kid, followed closely by Little House on Rocky Ridge, and I also adored the Dirk Pitt series. I've forgotten some of the names because there were just so many!

This freedom to read whatever I wanted stopped in Jr High though. I had just discovered the Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey and was eating them up. I left Dragonquest out one day, and Mom, who was curious about what I was reading, picked it up, and found a scene where two of the characters sleep with each other. Mom threw a fit that I was reading a book with a sex scene in it - the scene was not graphic at all in the slightest - and promptly confiscated the book from me. From then on out everything I read had to be approved by Mom. 

Dad however, didn't care what I read, and willingly bought me anything I asked for. Any book mom banned soon found a new home over at his place where I could read it whenever I wanted to. Even after he remarried and rededicated his life to Christ, I still remember him allowing me to read books that my Mom would have burned. 

Then there are the books that I would read whenever I volunteered at the library. Ones that I would hide in the stacks so I could read them while I waited for my Grandma to pick them up because I was oh so sure that Mom would not approve of them one bit (most of them were romances, and were far more descriptive than anything Anne McCaffrey wrote) Books like VC Andrew's Flowers in the Attic, Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, etc etc etc. 

What books did you read as a kid that you were probably too 'old' for you? 

Now for WIPpet Wednesday. WIPpet Wednesday is run by K. L. Schwengel from My Random Muse. Basically, every Wednesday you share a snippet of what you're working on, but how much you share has to be related to the date. So since today is 8/7/13 you could share eight words/sentences/paragraphs from chapter seven, or seven words/sentences/paragraphs from chapter eight. Or you can add the numbers of the date together to come up with how much you would share, or subtract some numbers and add others. It's up to you!

I'm going to share 6 paragraphs from chapter eight of TUO today (2+0+1+3=6). We're back with Liam again this chapter, and he's anxious to get back out to the castle to investigate some more. I'm not really happy with the second paragraph - it doesn't feel as if it's flowing - so if you have any constructive criticism to offer, please feel free to do so. 

“What’s this?” Liam’s mother asked.

“What’s what?” He returned the question, but did not look up from the work he was doing. Ever since he had returned from his last trip to the old bridge, she had been assigning him chore after chore. When he commented on it, she had claimed that he needed to do twice the work now that Letty was gone and his father was off searching for her. Once he had finished the various jobs she assigned him, Mother would insist on inspecting them and if she found any faults with it, she would make him redo it. However, she always managed to find something to nitpick at, and even if it wasn’t an issue, she would whine until he gave in. By the time he was finally done and his mother was happy with it, it was usually too late for him to go to the castle.

Liam was on to her schemes though, and he refused to let her delay him from going back out there any longer. He was going to finish this most recent task, and he was going to do it so perfectly that she would have no reason to complain. Then he was going to get on his horse and ride out to the old bridge and figure out a way to get across.

He sighed. It’d be easier if he still had the old grappling hook, but whoever had cut his rope had decided to keep the ancient thing.

“This... thing.” She shoved a straw cross inside a braided circle under his nose.

“Oh. That. Old Marley gave it to me.”

Be sure to wander over to ROW 80 to check out more writing updates, and head on over here to see more WIPpet Wednesday posts


  1. Ha!
    Even though I write erotica, my first thought when I saw "adult books" was Shakespeare or Dostoyevsky lol!

    For me, it was Xanth, and I got them from my father. Like Pern, the books have sexual scenes but they're not explicit.

    Did it affect my writing?

    Probably. But in the way that "everything" affects it. Although I've been a writer all my life, it wasn't until I turned 40 that I decided to get serious about making it a career.

  2. My mother was a librarian, and I grew up among the stacks. I read whatever I grabbed! LOL

    Okay, constructive criticism: First off, 'was' is a pet peeve of mine. Very passive and generally indicates showing instead of telling. There are lots of 'was's' here. 'had' and 'that' could probably be eliminated as well, in many cases. Is there a task you could have him remember that would show how she is about them? I think just some basic tightening and rewording of sentence structure would help the flow.

  3. Destiny's Lady... (The Goodreads info about it: It was a historical piece about Lady Jane Grey and I read it when I was about ten. Very explicit sex scenes. My parents weren't restrictive of books though at all. They were "flower children" in many senses of the word, and sometimes, in their willingness to share information with me about things, the T(oo) M(uch) I(nformation) got a bit intense.

    I'm not sure how many kids had parents who actually suggested Lady Chatterly's Lover to them before they were fourteen. I was twelve...

    As for the scene... It depends on how much you've given us before this. If you've not dealt with all the conflicts that Liam is having with his mother is a more personal manner, I think you should. WRITE that scene where she says Liam needs to do twice the work because Letty is gone... Give us a better sense of the mother's character? Is she angry that Letty is gone? Sad? Scared?

    That paragraph doesn't read well because it's a scene in its own right. I'd make it into one.

    1. This is actually the start of the chapter. From here he and his mother talk about the straw cross, then he goes out to the barn and then the fun of the chapter begins thanks to a couple of imps who shall remain nameless for the moment.

      Though maybe I should turn it into it's own scene like you suggest, have him collapse into bed because he's so tired from all the work he's been doing, and then have the fun begin...