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A novel idea for YA Contemporary


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So I have this idea for a new YA novel.

 

It's about the Youth Group at church. I don't have a name for a protagonist yet.

Let's just call her Andrea. Her parents divorced when she was in middle school, and one of the things that kept her composed during that time was her church youth group

 

Andrea's a devout Christian. Or at least she thinks she is, having been sheltered at church. Her grandparents take her thereevery Sunday. Sunday school, Wednesday night fellowship, retreats... all under the tutelage of a charismatic youth pastor, until he moved to join a church plant.

 

When she's 18, she moves in with her dad in California for college.

Her friend makes her a Tinder account with a fake name.

One night, she gets set up on a blind date.

 

Dutifully, she goes to fancy restaurant to meet her date.

Oh no! It's her former youth pastor! But he feels completely different as he talks about his life.

After dinner, he invites her to his condo. She wants to tell him who she is, but it's too awkward.

 

Then he becomes crass and starts frisking her. She leaves abruptly without telling him who she is.

 

A few days later, he texts her and asks when they're going to [...]

 

Andrea doesn't know what to do. For the first time, her faith is challenged.

 

###

 

What do you think? Would you read a book like this?

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Depends on how it was written... 

I know that’s not a super-helpful answer, but honestly, not knowing more, that’s the best I can give. 

 

The theme of how another person’s behavior can influence or affect your faith in God seems to quite a common one in Christian fiction, which leads me to believe it’s a common experience, so I imagine many people would be able to identify with your heroine and her struggles.

 

Holding God responsible for the unkind (or even horrendous) actions of another person is a logical step I personally hesitate to make, but it certainly raises all kinds of interesting theological and existential questions...

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Zee has made some good comments. 

 

Like Zee says this type of conflict is common in Christian novels.  Lost Sheep etc....

 

I like the idea of Andres going to live with her father and having to negotiate modern society, but I think it can be more than just about a relationship.

 

Would the pastor not know her from church? I find it strange he doesn't know. So I think you need something else. 

 

Kick a few ideas around and see what you come up with. 

 

There is, as Zee points out, an interesting theological question here worth exploring.

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15 hours ago, kiwigummy said:

So I have this idea for a new YA novel.

 

It's about the Youth Group at church. I don't have a name for a protagonist yet.

Let's just call her Andrea. Her parents divorced when she was in middle school, and one of the things that kept her composed during that time was her church youth group

 

Andrea's a devout Christian. Or at least she thinks she is, having been sheltered at church. Her grandparents take her thereevery Sunday. Sunday school, Wednesday night fellowship, retreats... all under the tutelage of a charismatic youth pastor, until he moved to join a church plant.

 

When she's 18, she moves in with her dad in California for college.

Her friend makes her a Tinder account with a fake name.

One night, she gets set up on a blind date.

 

Dutifully, she goes to fancy restaurant to meet her date.

Oh no! It's her former youth pastor! But he feels completely different as he talks about his life.

After dinner, he invites her to his condo. She wants to tell him who she is, but it's too awkward.

 

Then he becomes crass and starts frisking her. She leaves abruptly without telling him who she is.

 

A few days later, he texts her and asks when they're going to [...]

 

Andrea doesn't know what to do. For the first time, her faith is challenged.

 

###

 

What do you think? Would you read a book like this?

I might read this? If my parents let me, I would!!

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1 hour ago, ThePerilousPen said:

I would!!

If I can get three readers, I'll write this as a short story. If I can get 10 readers, I'll write a novella!

 

Would your parents have to read it first before they let you?

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Hello, I don't think we've met yet!

 

I have a question - 

 

21 hours ago, kiwigummy said:

he invites her to his condo

 

I am wondering why she chooses to go along with this? I had a strong Christian upbringing and was not challenged in my faith until later in life, like this character. I was always taught that this sort of thing was a no-no. Even if nothing happened at all, it would not be "living above reproach" (Titus 1:6). Maybe my experience was more unique and not everyone is taught this? But I do believe it is a good way to avoid problems like the one that happens in your story, as well as to avoid temptation. Soo, to cycle back to my question, why does she choose to go with him? 

 

Edited by PenName
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1 minute ago, PenName said:

Soo, to cycle back to my question, why does she choose to go with him? 

 

Hey Penname. I'm the new kid on the block looking for fellow YA writers. If everyone lived by those conventions, you would not have any conflict!

 

Andrea wanted to tell her former youth pastor who she is. She was maybe 12 when he moved for the church plant. Maybe he had a change of heart or burnout, and quit the faith. Meanwhile, Andrea has gone through puberty and looks a LOT different at 18 than 12. She is operating under the alias her friend made for her, so the former pastor didn't recognize her.

 

She goes to his condo wanting to ask him what made him stray... but she lost courage as he reveals more things. And she had to leave before things got out of hand.

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You've found the right place! You can meet lots of YA writers here!

 

I understand what you are saying completely. But I guess I am asking, what is it in her character that makes her decide to go with him and enter this situation, rather than stopping him to ask her questions before they leave the restaurant? Or outside the restaurant?

 

To me, I feel that there would be some thought process here that would be important for you to explore in this character, unless she was never actually warned about this by anyone. Since she has lived a relatively sheltered church life, I would assume that she has been in some capacity. Does she just brush off the advice and not think deeply about it, even though she is already concerned about this man's choices in life? Does she decide that she's in college now and it's okay to rebel a bit, branch out? This is some interesting (though challenging, considering what will happen to her) character work that could add depth to her faith journey.

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9 minutes ago, PenName said:

To me, I feel that there would be some thought process here that would be important for you to explore in this character, unless she was never actually warned about this by anyone.

You are absolutely right. If I were in Andrea's shoes, I would be cautious. Maybe her new college friend was telling her not to be a prude and that struck a nerve, so she decided against her better judgment to go back to his flat. Maybe she thinks she can convince him to return to the faith. I'm thinking I could turn this into a 3-5,000 word short story. I just need enough people to think this story idea is worth pursuing.

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19 minutes ago, kiwigummy said:

You are absolutely right. If I were in Andrea's shoes, I would be cautious. Maybe her new college friend was telling her not to be a prude and that struck a nerve, so she decided against her better judgment to go back to his flat. Maybe she thinks she can convince him to return to the faith. I'm thinking I could turn this into a 3-5,000 word short story. I just need enough people to think this story idea is worth pursuing.

 

This is interesting stuff and good for character work. I think this might be a challenging story to write, but the message that we should not put our confidence in mankind, but instead in God, is a very important one. Humans will always fail in some way or another, and too many people leave their faith because the humans around them let them down. God, however, will never let us down!

 

If you start posting work in the critique forum, you should be able to find each other! 😊

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7 hours ago, kiwigummy said:

If I can get three readers, I'll write this as a short story. If I can get 10 readers, I'll write a novella!

 

Would your parents have to read it first before they let you?

nah. I mean, she doesn't do anything, and even if she did, I've read worse! (aka Wattpad Romance)  😂 So it's fine 😄 this sounds so fascinating please do write it!!

Edited by ThePerilousPen
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3 hours ago, PenName said:

 

I am wondering why she chooses to go along with this? I had a strong Christian upbringing and was not challenged in my faith until later in life, like this character. I was always taught that this sort of thing was a no-no. Even if nothing happened at all, it would not be "living above reproach" (Titus 1:6). Maybe my experience was more unique and not everyone is taught this? But I do believe it is a good way to avoid problems like the one that happens in your story, as well as to avoid temptation. Soo, to cycle back to my question, why does she choose to go with him? 

 

I'm not kiwigummy, but I can say that in situations like this, it can be hard to think straight.   Say that you simply aren't being careful. People can let down their guard in these cases, and not even notice. They get sucked into it :(( 

 

but it could be that she thought he had good, innocent intentions! She might assume he's not going to do anything, or that she's just going there for a little bit, you know? 

 

I know many Christians who have been in this situation. It's sad but often, even if you are a dedicated Christian with good morals, it can happen! And it has, and unless you're always on your guard, you sometimes can't help getting trapped. Hope that makes sense! 

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1 hour ago, kiwigummy said:

maybeeee. I put something there but barely anyone saw it.

Don't get discouraged! Sometimes you just post and it happens to be a slow day.

 

1 hour ago, kiwigummy said:

how do you get the signature line under your user name? I want one!

At one point in time you could edit it - it's in your profile under "rank". However, it looks like that option doesn't exist anymore!

 

Definitely more reasons that could be used to deepen a character and develop a strong story of a faith journey, @ThePerilousPen.

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