I’m writing my first teenfic novel after being exposed to quite a few that I felt had questionable relationships where behaviors were borderline abusive.
I’m focusing on a 'bad boy" who actually asks for consent before touching and respects boundaries. While my characters fall in love, they will openly communicate their issues instead of getting into petty fights or laying hands on one another. (Something I cannot stand is a girl trying to leave and a guy grabbing her and forcing her against a wall. That is NOT romantic.)
Are there any other teenfic writers who are working to introduce healthy relationships in their writing?
Can I ask why? I don’t want this to be interpreted as me saying your story is bad- I’m not. I’m just genuinely curious about why your character would marry her abuser. Did she have any personal growth in another area of her life? Was this meant to be a romance or another genre?
The LGBTQ+ one reminds me of a real life friend of mine. She’s the one with a difficult time communicating, while her girlfriend is quite adept at being open. As their relationship deepens, my friend tells me that she’s becoming more proficient and more confident in processing her emotions, thanks to the patience of her girlfriend.
Oh, no harm done by asking! In my story, none of the children were raised by their parents (they were put on a space ship in order to save humanity). The MC is pregnant with her abusers child and is terrified of having her child grow up without a father - just like her.
Yes! I have never been good at communicating - neither of my parents had healthy relationships and I’ve suffered from abusive relationships, so I tend to draw back at any sign of trouble. My friends are completely different - they sit their partners down and talk about their struggles in length. I thought it would be interesting to see the different types of response to hardship.
Ah, I see! This is actually a really unique and interesting scenario. I imagine the resources for an abused woman are incredibley limited deep in space. Is the relationship portrayed as a woman out of options trying to make the best of a bad situation, or does she genuinley feel that her abuser loves her? The latter is something I see more often.
This is very similar to my friend. She comes from a complicated family. She actually helped me loosely shape a relationship in one of my books. My MC and her best friend Lorna had a friends with benefits things going on. My MC knew that Lorna was in love and, even though she didn’t feel the same, slept with her anyway. Lorna knew that my MC wouldn’t bond with her, but still held out hope that if she kept her close long enough, love would blossom.
Since healthy communication is so important to me, I made them both sit down, admit their faults and salvage their friendship. It’s interesting how often real life reflects in our writing.
She is actually in love with another man and is aware that her current husband does not love her - she walks in on him with another woman. The relationship is actually part of an arranged marriage scheme to ensure the survival of the population. She’s just trying to make the best out of her situation and not affect the future of her children - in fear that she will be punished for leaving him.
I agree with the stuff you’ve mentioned! I do NOT find it sexy when there’s forceful handling or physical abuse that’s overlooked or not taken seriously.
I’m not writing teenfic, unfortunately, but I am writing YA Fantasy. Purely based on my own experience, enemies-to-lovers seems to be the default trope and the male love interests are often toxic/temperamental. I was always a little saddened by the way that romance was portrayed in YA/teenfic though. I think it was very harmful for me as a teen.
I’ve included a way different one in mine (best friends-to-lovers). They do have communication issues while trying to get together, but they’ve matured and learned their lesson by the time they’re together and communicate openly as an official couple. Also, no physical or verbal abuse, not even when one or both of them are dealing with the effects of mental illness.
I try my best to promote healthy communication and raw honesty between my character’s.
There are only two times he messes up. The first is when he breaks up with her because he feels like her parents would never accept him and with her mother sick, he doesn’t feel like he should be putting a strain on their relationship. Her father is the one to talk to him about it after the breakup. He doesn’t give the relationship his blessing, but lets the love interest know that them being in a relationship will not send the family into turmoil.
The second is making a pretty big decision about his life without her, something that he has to do in order to be with her, but talks to her about it after the decision has been made and explains his reasonings.
MOST DEFINITELY. I love this!!! As a writer of teen fic, I try to be realistic with my expectations of teenagers (i.e. they’re going to say things they regret, get mad, overreact, shut down etc.). But that doesn’t mean they can’t learn and grow from their mistakes to become better communicators. In my own writing, I like exploring ways that different characters overcome adversity and hardships in their relationships and ways that they either responded poorly or responded properly. I try to insert a character that can keep the MC accountable to their actions and call them out on impulsive, immature behavior and communication.