Because the 20s are years of so many transitions, each twentysomething is at a different place in life. (This makes twentysomethings easy-to-write protagonists!) A few things remain consistent about our generation, however, and these patterns of thought and behavior can help writers to understand what twentysomethings read.
I recently surveyed a group of twentysomethings and came back with two commonalities in our generation:
1) Not a single surveyed twentysomething felt completely grown-up. Many felt grown-up in certain situations (paying bills, shopping for insurance, when with their children/spouse) but were often made to feel inferior by older adults.
2) 60% often wish they looked older because of comments people have made.
Here are typical questions I hear from older adults:
Any boyfriends? (ummm, awkward.)
Are you finishing high school this year? (How young do I look?)
Are you home from college on break? (*sigh*)
You look too young to have a job. (*sigh*)
My son needs a girlfriend; I’ll arrange a meeting for you two. (AWKWARD.)
No wedding ring? (Why did you just ask me that?)
How & why do you stay up so late? (How am I supposed to answer this one?)
Are you on that internet thingy, ummmm, Facedate? No…that’s not right, OH YES, Facebooks? (Oh my.)
The divide between young adults and older adults means twentysomethings are likely to be drawn to books that make them feel accepted as they are. Books that don’t ask the above questions. 🙂 The main characters might be going through similar transitions (living at home after college, trying to figure out what to do, dating with the possibility of marriage). Or the characters might experience similar interactions with older adults, but if the character survives those conversations in an interesting or humorous way, twentysomethings are going to want to read that story.
Twentysomethings are also truth-seekers. We don’t like to be lied to in stories. A plotline has to be believable. It’s hard for a lot of us to buy into, for instance, a woman who is interested in a man with different beliefs, but in the course of the book, he’s converted, and they get married. This isn’t true to life. We like happy endings, but we want realistic stories. Leave in the heartache of real life.
Twentysomethings are generally very accepting of other people. I wouldn’t say we are a more “tolerant” generation because I hate that word, but we are able to look past differences. We all have very strong moral opinions but have learned, for the most part, to accept people with differing opinions. This is what we’ve been exposed to our whole lives; so it’s not hard to see why we are this way as a generation. This allows for “edgier” fiction and “straight-talking” non-fiction. No need to beat around the bush!
Each of these aspects of twentysomethings affects what we read. I’ll share an example of this on Thursday. Meanwhile, enjoy our publicist Kathleen’s post tomorrow; she is a marketing genius!