I am loving the New Adult genre. I love the scenarios and I love the steam. I've always enjoyed reading YA but NA takes everything up a notch, you know? The setting, the plot, the dialogue and—duh—the sex.
You wanna know something I don't love, though?
The bad boys.
Now, now, before you get your panties all in a bunch, hear me out.
I'm not talking about the guys who have a 'tude or who mouth off or act cocky or do stupid shit. I think every guy on the planet has those tendencies. At least some of the time, anyway.
Nope, I'm talking about the other bad boy. The bad boy who is a total asshat to everyone. The bad boy who uses and degrades women, who truly isn't sorry for anything that he does. The bad boy who thinks only of himself. The bad boy who no intelligent woman in her right mind would find worthy of a relationship. The bad boy who is somehow, during the course of the book, miraculously saved by the sweet/virginal/damaged heroine.
News flash, peeps. These guys don't exist. Guys who are troubled, yeah, they are capable of changing. But the flat-out asshole who can't see past the tip of his own nose? Not you, not your best friend, not your sister, nor a flame thrower will change that guy. And I don't care if he's been abused or hurt or whatever demons he has that haunt his past. He needs a therapist, not a girlfriend, if he even wants to think about changing his ways.
And yeah, I get it. This is fiction. Give me my fantasy, let me have my happily ever after.
Other authors can do what they want but I am not going to write about the bad-boy-turned-angel. I am not going to degrade my readers—fuck that, any woman—by having my heroine grovel or be treated poorly by a man. There are far too many instances of this happening in real life, instances where women are abused (physically and/or emotionally), raped and murdered by these bad boys. Guys they might have thought they could change, guys they stuck with because they decided to give him “one more chance,” guys they attached themselves to because these poor girls had it in their head that they didn't deserve any better.
And yeah, I still get it. This is fiction. This is where we can write our own endings, we can make flawed characters that miraculously change. But I think this line of thinking, this gritty and glamorous portrayal of dysfunctional people and dysfunctional relationships, does a shit ton of harm. Girls reading this stuff, thinking they can actually change someone? Thinking they should stick it out in bad relationships because their guy might come around and become the hero? No thanks.
I want to help those girls out of those situations, not encourage them to stay in them. It's one of the reasons I wrote IF I FALL. Aidan is a first-class prick. And guess what? He's based on someone I knew. Someone I dated. I couldn't change him and thank God I got the fuck away before he did any real damage.
A lot of readers have had a difficult time with that book. It was hard to read...why was Meg so stupid...it was painful to watch her self-destruct...she was unlikeable because she stayed with him and made poor decisions. And I agree. With all of those statements. But that is real fucking life, people.
Look, people can read what they wanna read. And authors can write what they wanna write. Thank God for that. I would never tell anyone that they shouldn't read something.
But I'll promise you this. I will not glorify assholes. Not by reading about them and not by writing about them.