Tag Archives: genre

Question for Our Readers: Fantasy Going Mainstream

23 Sep

“The Golden Age of Science Fiction is twelve.”

-David Hartwell

I heard it proposed the other day that therefore the Golden Age of Fantasy is also twelve. However, some have said the Golden Age of Fantasy, in a less abstract sense, is right now.

Fantasy as a genre has become far more mainstream in the past few years. From Harry Potter mania, to Twilight diehards, to Tangled, How to Train Your Dragon, and the HBO adaption of the Game of Thrones series, fantasy has definitely experienced an increase in popularity. But is ‘going mainstream’ bad for the genre?

Do you think that Fantasy is losing the quality it once had, or is the quality, along with the quantity, increasing? What trends in modern Fantasy are you in love with? What trends to do you despise?

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One Book To Rule Them All

14 Sep

by Susan Dennard

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One book to rule them in all, and in the greatness bind them!

So, I got this idea from Molly O’Neill’s blog, and it’s such a COOL thing to think about, I wanted to share it here. That is:

If you could only ever publish one book (or one more), what would that book be about?

She calls it the One Book To Rule Them All (it’s a LORD OF THE RINGS reference, btw), and I knew instantly what mine would be. Which in turn, made me stop and consider why that one book isn’t the book I’ve already written or plan to write next.

The answer is pretty straightforward: I’m a coward. I fear I can’t do the concept or the genre justice. I fear that I do not have the skills needed to execute what I would want to be my crowning story.

And no, I won’t tell you what that idea is–what my One Book To Rule Them All is about. Suffice it to say it would be middle grade and so deliciously magical (though with no actual magic or fantasy in it) and brimming with atmosphere you would think about it long after you close its covers.

Well…that’s my dream about it anyway. Clearly, I don’t consider myself up to the task of actually producing that. YET.

What about you? Do you have an idea for that One Book To Rule Them All? Or do you even have an idea like that in mind? If so, what keeps you from writing it now–or have you written it?

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Susan Dennard is a writer, reader, lover of animals, and eater of cookies. She is repped by Sara Kendall of NCLit, and her debut, SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY, will be available from Harper Children’s in 2012. You can learn more about her on her blog or twitter.

QOTW: Preferred Genre

21 May

We announced our Critique Partner Page yesterday! Check it out!

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This week’s QOTW was inspired by Kelly, who asked, “What type of genre can you absolutely NOT write? E.g. if you were a fantasy writer, would you find yourself unable to write super-depressing stories?”

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My favorite genre to write is YA.  I’ve taken a stab at both realistic YA fiction and sci-fi YA fiction, and I enjoyed working on both. To me, teenagers are the ideal audience because their lives are opening up to so many new things.  I admire the way that young people are so receptive to new ideas – new love, new adventures – and most of them haven’t become jaded to the world yet.  I’ve always loved the company of teenagers (I’ve been a mentor to high schoolers for about twelve years) so it only makes sense for me to write about them.

The Other Writer Waiting on Submissions

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I love writing in YA (especially YA fantasy) because it’s a genre that is always changing, and always pushing the envelope. When you’re a teenager, you’re going through a lot of changes: you’re developing mature friendships, you’re getting used to your new/adult body, and you’re taking your first steps into a much larger world. This automatically adds tension to any plot: fighting a dragon is one thing, but fighting a dragon while your hormones are raging is WAY more interesting–and fun to write! Plus, teenagers aren’t yet set in their ways/behavior/patterns–there is a lot more room for character growth.

I write fantasy because…well, just because it’s what I love, and when I lie awake at night and dream up new characters and plots, new worlds always come with them. I love that fantasy gives me the freedom to create worlds of my own making, to rewrite the rules, to invent histories. There are no limits in fantasy.

The Writer with her First Book Deal

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I realized recently that most of my novels can be covered under the umbrella of ‘Speculative Fiction’, which includes fantasy, science fiction, and horror. I prefer to think of Speculative Fiction as the genre of ‘what if?’ What if women ruled the world (ANTEBELLUM). What if butterflies could haunt a child? (GO LOOK THERE). What if people had to erect force fields in order to live without radiation (A CLEAR AND BEAUTIFUL LIE)?

I’m a ‘what if’ thinker, and I’m drawn to stories that help me answer that open-ended question. I’m not attracted to stories that take place in our day and age because I live in the here and now, and in my mental life I want to visit somewhere very different from here.

Additionally, I prefer to write for adults because there are fewer restrictions on the content I can include. But also when I was younger I read more adult than YA, especially autobiographies, and I absorbed the wisdom of older, experienced people. I guess I’ve always had a pretty firm grasp on who I am as a person, and sometimes I get frustrated with characters still learning best practices (don’t gossip about your friends, don’t lie to your loved ones, don’t hide things to protect someone, etc.). I prefer to work with characters who have already learned all that 🙂

The Writer Waiting on Submissions

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I write more YA, or, more specifically, YA romance. I just can’t write something that isn’t a love story in some way. Maybe that’s why I love Taylor Swift songs, ha. She seems as fascinated by love as I am. 🙂

I have always WANTED to write a killer suspense, but I dont think I’d be any good at weaving in the clues so that they’re subtle, but still can be unraveled. I’m not creative enough. And I dont think I’ll ever write an epic fantasy because my brain just doesn’t go there. I’d be like, “there was a ring! and a dragon! and an epic quest!” I have no creativity for that.

The Literary Agent and Writer with Multiple Book Deals

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When I first really started writing, I was big into Romance because I was a huge Nicholas Sparks fan. But I slowly realized just how difficult it is to write, and decided I’d rather romance be an element in my stories rather than the main genre. Most of my stories are Adult, but I like to dabble in Young Adult as well; as for specific genres, I’m mostly drawn to fantasy, horror, and psychological thrillers. I’ve always been interested in psychology, and really enjoy picking apart a character’s psyche.

My favorite novel is Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, which has greatly inspired a lot of my writing. The narrator is incredibly unreliable, sarcastic, and absolutely insane (despite his claims to the opposite); he also flip-flops between clever and foolish, making a total mess of himself before the reader. While I love the idea for my current WIP, I feel like something’s missing from it, and I think that could be the psychological struggle. It’s present, but I don’t focus on it enough for my tastes, which makes the characters incredibly flat for me.

Horror is one of my favorite genres because psychology plays so heavily into it. Actually, one of my guilty pleasures when I’m active on Fiction Press is to scroll through the M-Rated horror stories and spend all day looking for one that captivates me. I really hope to write an awesome horror story one day, but I’d want it to be my masterpiece, and I’m in no way ready for that yet!

The Writer Working At A Local Newspaper

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I love to write in the fantasy and historical genres. These also happen to be genres that I especially enjoy reading! Fantasy is by far my favourite, but YA fantasy has always been the more attractive; which might be why my current WIP is in this genre. I am also planning on writing an adult historical fiction novel. So I wouldn’t say that as a writer, I limit myself; but I do like to stick with what I myself am attracted to. In both fantasy and historical fiction, there is a great deal of world building; in historical, you need to build a world that has existed, and portray it as accurately as possible. In fantasy, you need to create a world that is just as complex as a historical one. Something about creating worlds that are believable in both genres really appeals to me. And that’s probably why I love to write them.

The Writer Making Her Way Into Publishing

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To be honest, when I being writing a story, I give little to no thought as to what genre it falls into. I simply have too much else to think about. The bad thing about this is that after the story is done and I need to categorize it, I falter. Is this fantasy? Science fiction? It’s not exactly romance, but… and so on.

What I do know is that everything I’ve written so far falls under YA. Again, this isn’t exactly something I decided one day–it’s just how the story comes out. So it’s very possible that one day, I’ll write a book and realize that it should go under Adult, instead. But in the mean time, I’m very happy to call myself a YA writer. As I was telling someone the other day, the teenaged years are so special and unique. It’s such a time of growth and discovery. There’s the emergence of real maturity, but at the same time, there’s innocence. As a whole (and despite what many of them may think) most teens are not completely jaded.

As far as genre genre goes, I can’t think of anything I’d never write, because I write what I like to read, and I’ll read just about everything. Epic fantasy and pure romance are the least likely to ever come out of my pen. I like to write about relationships and personal growth–things that I think get lost sometimes in epic fantasy stories when there are fifty characters and they fly across the continent. As for romance… I guess I’ve just never touched it, though I think that’s changed lately.

The Writer Just About to Query

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What genre do YOU prefer to write in?